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Statoil Says Japan on Its ‘Watch List’ for Offshore Wind Plans

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Statoil ASA, Norway’s largest oil and natural gas company, is looking to develop offshore wind in Japan as that nation promotes more renewable investments.

“We have Japan on a watch-list,” Halfdan Brustad, vice president for Statoil wind projects, said in an interview. “We don’t say no to good opportunities.”

Statoil, like European power companies including RWE AG, Dong Energy A/S, Vattenfall AB and Centrica Plc, is developing offshore wind parks as markets such as the U.K., Germany and Denmark add wind farms at sea to curb emissions.

Statoil is refining its floating wind turbine concept while Japan hones plans to install this type of machine off Fukushima following the March earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region and led to reduced nuclear power capacity.

Statoil’s “Hywind” floating model could be destined for the Japanese market, Brustad said. The company is evaluating what role it should have in Japan, though it prefers to focus first on closer North Sea markets. Statoil is seeking to demonstrate its Hywind turbines off Scotland or the U.S., Brustad said during an interview in Manchester.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will spend as much as 20 billion yen ($257 million) on a pilot project of six 2-megawatt floating wind turbines off the Fukushima coast to help reconstruct the region.

Statoil is building the 317-megawatt Sheringham Shoal wind farm off England’s Norfolk coast with Statkraft AS. It also owns a 25 percent stake in the Dogger Bank wind farm planned in the North Sea with RWE, SSE Plc and Statkraft, Brustad said.

The company is looking for “financially attractive” opportunities, Brustad said. “The U.K. is our main focus because we see that market is currently the most beneficial for us but we could consider other European markets for the right projects.”

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Sally Bakewell in London at Sbakewell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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