BP chief says offshore windfarms around Shetland would not last

Mr Hayward said he doubted whether offshore windfarms could cope with the severe conditions in the North Sea. Click on image to enlarge.
Mr Hayward said he doubted whether offshore windfarms could cope with the severe conditions in the North Sea. Click on image to enlarge.

It is doubtful whether the technology exists to build offshore windfarms around Shetland that would last for 20 years, according to the chief executive of BP.

Tony Hayward said the multi-billion pound oil and gas company had a strong preference for onshore wind, but not in Britain where there was insufficient space.

Instead, BP is focusing on the United States where there are more wide open spaces to put up turbines. “We have a wind farm in Texas that’s as big as Berkshire,” he said.

He was speaking in London as he revealed a fall in second quarter profits of 53 per cent to $4.39 billion (£2.69 billion) from $9.36 billion (£5.74 billion) in the same quarter last year due to lower oil prices. The company made a profit of $2.56 billion (£1.57 billion) in the first quarter, when oil prices were in a deep slump.

Oil prices rose from those lows during the second quarter, with a barrel of Brent crude averaging $59.13 in the second quarter compared to $44.46 in the first quarter.

Mr Hayward said the reason BP favoured onshore wind was simple logistics, given that access to a windfarm in the North Sea, for example, would be extremely difficult. “There’s no supply chain to service offshore wind farms,” he said.

And even though BP and other oil giants had developed the technology to allow huge platforms to extract oil and gas from the North Sea, the technology to allow wind turbines to withstand extreme weather was undeveloped.


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