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Equinor explores floating wind turbines to power North Sea oilfields

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Equinor explores floating wind turbines to power North Sea oilfields

Equinor explores floating wind turbines to power North Sea oilfields
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STAVANGER, Norway (Reuters) - Norway's Equinor <EQNR.OL> is considering whether to build an offshore wind farm with floating turbines to provide electricity for its Gullfaks and Snorre oilfields in the North Sea, the company said on Tuesday.

If materialised, it would be the world's first floating offshore wind farm powering oil platforms and is estimated to cost around 5 billion Norwegian crowns ($591.5 million) and could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by more than 200,000 tonnes per year, Equinor said.

"To maintain profitable operations (offshore Norway) in the long term, it is essential that we do our utmost to further reduce the carbon footprint from our activities," Executive Vice President Arne Sigve Nylund said in a statement.

Formerly known as Statoil, Equinor earlier this year changed its name to underscore a push into renewable energy under Chief Executive Eldar Saetre, although oil and gas will remain the company's dominant business for decades to come.

The company's first floating offshore wind farm started off Scotland last year, supplying electricity to the onshore market, and Equinor has also announced plans for bottom-fixed offshore wind projects in the United States, Poland and Britain.

A final investment decision on the plan for Snorre and Gullfaks, known as the Hywind Tampen floating wind farm, will be made in 2019, although the aim is first to bring down the cost of development, it said.

The 11 turbines, each with a capacity of eight megawatt, would meet about 35 percent of the power demand from the two fields, the company added.

The Gullfaks field is owned by Equinor, OMV <OMVV.VI> and Norway's state owned Petoro, while Snorre is held by Equinor, Petoro, ExxonMobil <XOM.N>, Idemitsu <5019.T>, DEA and Point Resources.

($1 = 8.4525 Norwegian crowns)

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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