Oil major Total buys 80% stake in Erebus floating offshore wind project

The logo of French oil and gas company Total is seen in a petrol station in Paris, France February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - French energy major Total TOTF.PA said on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with renewables energy developer Simply Blue Energy to acquire 80% of the Erebus floating wind project in the Celtic Sea.

Total, which did not disclose the value of the deal, has said it plans to invest up to $2 billion (1.74 billion pounds) annually to expand its footprint in low carbon businesses.

The company said the 96 megawatts capacity pioneer floating offshore project would be installed in an area with water depth of 70 meters.

“This makes Total one of the first movers in this technology in the United Kingdom, the world’s largest offshore wind market,” Total said in a statement.

While offshore wind has so far mainly developed in shallow water depths based on fixed bottom technology, floating wind offshore is set for strong growth in the years to come, it said.

Total added that the emerging floating offshore technology had a wide potential and could open access to sites further offshore, which would have less impact on the landscape, and benefit from very high wind resources.

“Floating offshore wind is an extremely promising and technical segment where Total brings its extensive expertise in offshore operations and maintenance,” said Total’s Chairman & CEO Patrick Pouyanne.

Under pressure to curb carbon emissions and tackle global warming, Total and other major energy companies across the world are racing to increase the share of green energies its portfolio. Total has set a target of 25 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy in its portfolio from around 3 GW currently.

Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta