Crown Estate Scotland opens process to cut UK North Sea oil and gas emissions

A section of the BP Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) oil platform is seen in the North Sea, about 100 miles east of Aberdeen in Scotland, February 24, 2014. REUTERS/Andy Buchanan/pool/File Photo

Aug 10 (Reuters) - Crown Estate Scotland opened on Wednesday the registration window for an offshore wind leasing process that aims to lower emissions from Britain's North Sea oil and gas production.

The public corporation's Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation (INTOG) seabed leasing round will allow developers to apply for seabed rights for innovative projects of 100 megawatts (MW) or less, as well as to provide low-carbon electricity to power oil and gas installations in the North Sea.

The maximum capacity of all the projects that can be awarded exclusivity to supply oil and gas installations is 5.7 gigawatts (GW) and 500 MW for innovative projects, Crown Estate Scotland said.

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"INTOG is significant not only for the carbon abatement it will help achieve, but also for the critical supply chain it will create for floating offshore wind facilities in the UK. The round also plays an important part in demonstrating the continued role decarbonised oil and gas has to play in the renewable energy transition, something often forgotten, said Pillsbury Law partner Gavin Watson, external counsel to renewables developer Cerulean Wind. The firm announced its intention to participate in INTOG last month.

Registration for the INTOG process closes on Aug. 24, the application window closes on Nov. 18 and applicants are likely be notified of the leasing results by the end of March, depending on the volume and quality of submissions, Crown Estate Scotland said.

The process is separate from the ScotWind Leasing round for commercial scale offshore wind projects in Scottish waters.  

Britain's electrification efforts have fallen behind those nearby countries, such as Norway.

Norway's Equinor (EQNR.OL) wants to electrify the Rosebank oil and gas field in the British North Sea rather than use fossil fuels to power operations, an approach common for Norwegian offshore projects but not in the British North Sea, which makes the project complex.

"It has never been done in the (UK continental shelf) before. I think that's a bit of a benchmark," Equinor's UK upstream chief Arne Guertner told Reuters on Friday. read more

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Reporting by Rowena Edwards Editing by Mark Potter

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