This special interest group is for professionals to connect and discuss all types of carbon-free power alternatives, including nuclear, renewable, tidal and more.


The Gulf of Mexico leasing round; Offshore wind and hydrogen?

image credit: Boem
Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

  • Member since 2019
  • 3,939 items added with 2,636,267 views
  • Jul 21, 2022

The Gulf of Mexico leasing round; Offshore wind and hydrogen?



I recall this article being met with incredulity in some quarters, including a number of so called industry experts, when I penned it a couple of years ago.  I'm pleased the process is very much happening.  I thought the community may welcome the chance to recap on the original:


I’ve been so busy advising clients and delivering online courses recently that it’s been difficult to find time to take a step back and look strategically as to where opportunities for the emerging hydrogen economy may lie.

With recent media coverage I thought it may be informative to see what might be happening in the United States. The country is re-baselining after an election which may be definitive for the way which energy policy and delivery prevails in the coming years and mirrors an interesting time around the 2016 election I spent with BOEM during an enjoyable week in Virginia. That same BOEM is now making available offshore energy leasing opportunities – and on a massive scale.

The one which caught my particular attention is away from the usual areas gaining renewables sector attention in the North East and Western seaboards and is remarkable also for its sheer scale. This is the Gulf of Mexico leasing round centred around the US portion of it; The area is well known for oil and gas production – which BOEM also administers and incumbents already engaged include European majors including Equinor Shell and BP.

Most of the oil gas majors present in the Gulf of Mexico and indeed elsewhere are considering what to do with their assets in the new climate driven world. Both BP and Shell have committed to net zero by 2050, and this will be on a global rather than regional, basis.

With these statements of intent in mind, it’s important to factor in decommissioning costs. These are significant and are helping drive decision making in UK and European waters – where engagement with the burgeoning offshore renewables industry is at an advanced stage.

Decommissioning wasn’t necessarily top of the agenda when the UK oil and gas industry was built out in the 1970s but with expended fields needs consideration now. In the North Sea and elsewhere a new circular argument may be detected and could be helpful for shareholders of oil and gas majors. If, it could be argued, rather than decommissioning existing oil and gas platforms, they could be assessed and potentially re-purposed for renewable energy, then the platforms pipeline’s and sister infrastructure could remain a long-term asset, rather than morphing by stealth into a liability.


This rationale may apply; it is already happening behind the scenes with the UK’s Scotwind and  Round 4 leasing rounds and the same principles apply to the Gulf of Mexico.

The sheer scale of the BOEM offer, of 500 gigawatts, should be put into context.  The UK, the world leader for offshore wind, has built out around 10 gigawatts. At a stroke BOEM and the US is raising this by a factor of 50 in this one region alone. Everything, as the old saying goes, really is bigger in Texas.

This eye-watering  prize  is bound to interest those who have developed the existing offshore wind energy sector in the UK, and also to the oil and gas industry, which is now emerging as a major player in offshore renewables, helping take it from a regional to a globally significant industry.

Even a cursory look at the above map sees opportunities in the US based around the Houston oil producing heartlands around Texas.

My own former company, Shell with the innovative Crosswind underway has a long regional history dating  back to the Shell Mex days of the 1930s, and is bound to be interested. The Port of Galveston already supplies the oil and gas industry and comes as a package with the major oil and gas centre of Houston adjacent to it.


I met with and listened to a number of US developers and supply chain companies in London at the Round 4 bidders’ day.  They stressed a willingness to re-enter the offshore wind sector. Combined with the US Hydrogen roadmap and Dogger Bank turbine announcements they may well- placed if and when the US purdah and election are over and the state of suspended animation which has seen other countries race ahead in the renewables space and provides the scale to allow a catch up.

I’m monitoring early signs of a hydrogen industry emerging in the southern United States.  As with European counterparts, it will be smart therefore to start thinking that  if there is to be a hydrogen industry, shouldn’t we make it green hydrogen and look at the various forms of offshore wind, the fixed and floating machines, which may be suitable should Gulf of Mexico site conditions allow.  

I’m tracking  the area with particular interest and look forward to bringing you updates from Boem as and when they occur, please feel free to join me and over seven hundred companies and individuals at the Offshore Wind And Hydrogen Professional Group















No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Charley Rattan's picture
Thank Charley for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network® is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »