Royal Dutch Shell commercial director Hessel de Jong said he sees potential for co-operative international offshore wind development in the North Sea but remains guarded about the company’s long-term interest in the sector.
“Most countries around the North Sea do not have a clear agenda on what they’re going to do after 2022,” Mr de Jong said. “We are very interested to talk to countries who are thinking about collaborative development efforts. You’re going to have to work with other countries, so why not do so now?”
Mr de Jong confirmed that the energy giant was in talks with the UK, Netherlands and German governments as well as EU representatives in Brussels.
As to further global development of offshore wind, Mr de Jong said “For Shell to continue its offshore [wind] interest, it must become much, much bigger than it is today. There must be 10 North Seas. And we think that’s possible.”
Mr de Jong said the company had run its own global analyses for offshore wind energy futures based on criteria including political factors as well as economic. He also reiterated the company ethos of systematisation that includes the necessary infrastructure to land, store and power distribution, a strategy first laid out in June by Shell’s director of new energy, Mark Gainsborough.
Mr de Jong said Shell is not currently interested in developing offshore windfarms in order to sell them – or ‘flipping’ as the process is known – and said the results of the recent contracts for difference auction in the UK were “surprising and instructive” for the group. “We can now back calculate what kind of tricks [the winning bids] threw in there and close the gap, and actually win the next,” he said.