finance

UK’s largest offshore decarbonisation development outlines ambitious plans


Green infrastructure developer Cerulean Winds has revealed plans to accelerate decarbonisation of oil and gas assets through a 200-turbine floating wind and hydrogen development.

The proposed green infrastructure would have the capacity to abate 20 million tonnes of CO2 through simultaneous North Sea projects West of Shetland and in the Central North Sea.

The venture is now calling on UK and Scottish governments to make an ‘exceptional’ case, with a formal request for seabed leases already submitted to Marine Scotland.

Cerulean Winds is led by Dan Jackson and Mark Dixon, who have more than 25 years’ experience working together on large-scale offshore infrastructure developments in the oil and gas industry.

Founding director Jackson said: “The UK is progressing the energy transition, but a sense of urgency and joined-up approach is required to enable rapid decarbonisation of oil and gas assets or there is a risk of earlier decommissioning and significant job losses.

“The consequences of not moving quickly enough will be catastrophic for the economy and the environment.”

He continued: “The decision to proceed with the scheme will ultimately rest with the Scottish Government and Marine Scotland and their enthusiasm for a streamlined regulatory approach – the ask is simply that an exceptional decision is made for an extraordinary outcome.”

The Cerulean leadership has Tier 1 contractors in place to deliver the UK Continental Shelf backbone development and has engaged the financial markets for a fully funded infrastructure construct.

The proposed development involves some of the largest floating turbines at sites West of Shetland and in the Central North Sea, with 3GW per hour of capacity, feeding power to the offshore facilities and excess 1.5 GW per hour power to onshore green hydrogen plants.

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Cerulean has undertaken the necessary infrastructure planning for the scheme to ensure the required level of project readiness, targeting financial close during the first quarter of 2022.

Construction would start soon after with energisation commencing in 2024.



The Cerulean Winds proposition
The Cerulean Winds proposition

An infrastructure project finance model, commonly used for major capital projects, is being adopted.

Société Générale is advising the project, with Allan Baker, its global head of power advisory and project finance, commenting: “The Cerulean decarbonisation project has the potential to meet all of the basin’s transition needs by reducing oil and gas emissions as quickly as possible whilst also introducing large scale green energy.”

Tim Hoover, managing director at Piper Sandler, which is also advising, added: “We are pleased that this is now at the regulatory approval stage; it is a scheme that understands the needs and requirements of the financial markets to make it bankable.”

Cerulean estimates that the current 160,000 oil and gas jobs can be safeguarded and 200,000 new roles within the floating wind and hydrogen sectors will be created within the next five years.

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