Repsol buys UK offshore wind unit

Updated: 2011-06-07 08:08

By Sally Bakewell (China Daily)

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LONDON - Repsol YPF SA, Spain's largest oil company, agreed on Monday to buy the offshore wind unit of SeaEnergy PLC for about 50 million pounds ($82 million) as the Aberdeen-based company shifts its focus to oil, gas and marine services.

SeaEnergy will earn proceeds of 29.1 million pounds after deal costs and following repayment of 6.9 million pounds of loans from LC Capital Master Fund Ltd and EDP Renovaveis SA, said SeaEnergy Chairman Stephen Remp.

The company's shares have almost tripled this year, giving SeaEnergy a market value of 48 million pounds.

The transaction will give Madrid-based Repsol entry into the UK offshore wind market, the world's largest, as Britain aims to generate 13 gigawatts (gW) through sea-based wind farms by 2020 to help meet European renewable-energy goals.

SeaEnergy Renewables, the unit being sold, has stakes in three offshore wind projects being developed in Scotland. They have a total capacity of 3,125 megawatts (mW), of which SERL owns 781 mW.

SeaEnergy Renewables, through partnerships with utilities, holds 25 percent stakes in the Beatrice project in the Outer Moray Firth and the Inchcape Park in the outer Firth of Tay. The subsidiary also won rights to develop a site under the UK's offshore wind program Round 3 with EDP Renovaveis SA.

That project, in the Moray Firth, might generate 1.3 gW of wind capacity. EDP holds 75 percent of the project and SERL the remaining 25 percent.

Repsol has formed a partnership with EDP Renovaveis, the renewable-energy unit of Portuguese utility EDP-Energias de Portugal SA, to develop fields, SeaEnergy's Remp said.

The European offshore wind market may commission 11.5 gW by 2015, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

"This deal allows us to take the view that we should be in oil and gas and marine renewables," Remp said.

SeaEnergy is the successor of Ramco Energy PLC, the oil and gas exploration firm that Remp founded in 1977. Ramco became SeaEnergy in 2009 and switched its focus to offshore wind after Remp saw potential for developing wind power in the North Sea.

SeaEnergy's legacy oil and gas assets include stakes in Mesopotamia Petroleum Co, which explores oil in Iraq, and Lansdowne Oil & Gas PLC. Its interests are either minority stakes or non-operated assets.

SeaEnergy will focus on its marine business through its SeaEnergy Marine division, Remp said. The unit seeks to design, build and operate vessels to service the offshore wind industry.

"The service business is a huge opportunity and as offshore wind developers now get into more detail, they really need somebody like us," he said.

Monday's agreement allows SeaEnergy to retain its relationship with Nantong Cosco Ship Steel Structure Co Ltd in China, Remp said.

SeaEnergy is looking at building jacket structures for offshore wind turbines in East Asia before bringing them flat-packed to the United Kingdom for assembly in yards and also installing them, he said.

Bloomberg News


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