(Adds Statkraft CEO, Aker CEO comments)
OSLO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Norwegian investment firm Aker , whose energy portfolio has mainly focused on oil and gas, said it would cooperate with renewable energy producer Statkraft to look at offshore wind opportunities in Norway.
Aker, via its Aker Offshore Wind AOW-ME.OL company, and the state-owned utility will aim to develop a wind farm in an offshore area called Soerlige Nordsjoe II, one of two areas in the North Sea that Norway is opening for offshore wind projects.
The firms will establish a 50/50 split project team for this purpose, marking Statkraft’s return to a market it left in 2017, saying at the time it did not have the financial capacity.
“What we lack is more substantial industrial experience in offshore operations ... So the offshore experience of Aker is the key for us,” Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Toennesen told Reuters.
Offshore wind has quickly started to look more economically feasible with costs coming down quicker than expected as well as more ambitious EU targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, he added.
The initial projects are for wind farms whose turbines are fixed to the seabed. The collaboration could at a later stage expand to a floating wind project at Utsira, the second offshore area Norway has opened for wind farms.
“The main focus is of course to succeed with (Soerlige Nordsjoe II), and then potentially also to expand the collaboration to other offshore wind projects in Norway - that’s the core commercial interest,” Aker CEO Oeyvind Eriksen told Reuters.
Separately Aker Horizons, Aker’s vehicle for developing new ventures, said it would add hydropower to its portfolio of renewables by acquiring Rainpower Holding AS, a supplier to the hydropower industry, adding it would provide 100 million crowns ($11.69 million) in capital.
Last week, Aker Horizons acquired a 75% stake in Mainstream Renewable Power in a deal valuing the wind and solar company at up to 1 billion euros ($1.21 billion).
$1 = 8.5571 Norwegian crowns Editing by Edmund Blair and Bernadette Baum