Oil service companies led by Technip SA (TEC) and Subsea 7 SA (SUBC) for the first time are working with wind energy developers in the North Seaís 14 billion-euro ($19 billion) a year market.
The offshore engineers plan to exploit the similarities between building undersea oil installations and constructing offshore wind farms and have both established renewable energy units. Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) also offers expertise to wind developers in the North Sea, where fossil fuels first discovered in 1966 are being depleted as clean energy demand rises.
The move into renewable energy comes after Britainís oil and gas production has shrunk more than half since peaking in 1999 at about 4.5 million barrels of gas and oil equivalent a day to about 2.2 million barrels now, according to the Oil & Gas U.K. industry group. Production from Britainís continental shelf has fallen about 6.2 percent annually in the past 23 years.
Drawing on offshore energy expertise and government mandates to raise the amount of power derived from clean energy, countries around the North Sea led by Britain plan to have 35.5 gigawatts of offshore wind projects by 2020 from 2.9 gigawatts today, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The total cost of the increase will be 127 billion euros and the facilities would provide 3.2 percent of the European Unionís electricity demand.