BP is preparing to bid for the rights to build wind farms off Scotland as it signals no let-up in expansion after a £900 million splurge on leases in the Irish Sea. The London-based oil giant caused waves in February by offering record prices to enter the UK offshore wind market through a Crown Estate auction of seabed leases off England and Wales. Bernard Looney, chief executive, told The Times it was looking at bidding in the forthcoming Crown Estate Scotland auction. “We’re looking at ScotWind [Crown Estate], we are looking elsewhere in the world as well,” he said. It is understood that BP is working on bidding jointly for Scottish leases with EnBW, the German utility it partnered with on the Irish Sea leases. Bids are yet to be finalised with a deadline of July 16 for the ScotWind process, which is offering 17 areas spanning 8,600 sq km of seabed. Unlike the Crown Estate auction in England and Wales, where the highest bidders won, the Scottish auction has a cap on potential fees with bidders also assessed on other criteria related to their development plans. The Crown Estate Scotland fee cap was increased tenfold in light of the high bids by BP and others in February, but remains much lower than those paid in England and Wales. The ScotWind auction is expected to attract strong interest, with Orsted and SSE among other likely bidders.
Times 3rd May 2021 read more »