Oil industry could challenge offshore windfarm projectsNews // November 3, 2010
The Observer newspaper says the British oil industry has threatened to take legal action to defend its interests in the North Sea against offshore windfarm developers.
According to the newspaper, dozens of giant offshore wind projects are being planned, mostly in the North Sea, and many will encroach on areas licensed for oil exploration and production. One windfarm developer told the Observer that conflict between the two industries looks likely.
The warning over legal action came from trade body Oil and Gas UK. The government is currently consulting on national policy statements, which set out how the UK's ambitious renewable energy targets will be met, with offshore wind turbines a key factor.
In its submission, Oil and Gas UK said the policy statements did not take account of the way offshore wind farms could impede mobile drilling rigs, disrupt helicopter flights and get in the way of pipelines and underwater equipment.
"It would be most unfortunate if individual licensees were forced to resort to legal processes in order to defend the rights granted under their existing petroleum licences," Oil and Gas UK's submission said.