Energy giant bp announced today that it has entered a strategic partnership with Japanese integrated trading and investment conglomerate, exploring offshore wind development in Japan, and potentially extending to other decarbonization-related opportunities, including hydrogen projects.

Under the new agreement, bp will purchase a 49% stake from Marubeni in a proposed offshore wind project off the coast of Japan. Marubeni is a leading offshore wind developer in Japan, and is the lead partner in the development, permitting and construction of the 140MW Akita offshore wind farm project, the first large-scale, commercial offshore wind project to achieve financial close in the Japan to-date.

The partnership comes as Japan’s offshore wind market is poised for significant growth, as the country looks to rapidly grow its renewable energy capacity. In July 2021, the government revealed details of its energy strategy, which included plans to roughly double the share of renewable energy to 36%-38% of the energy mix by 2030, compared to less than 20% currently. Japan has committed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, with an interim 2030 goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030.

In 2020, Japan set a target to grow offshore wind capacity in the country to 10GW by 2030, and as much as 45 GW by 2040, from only 70 MW at the time, and following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, industry minister Koichi Hagiuda indicated the plans for renewable energy deployment are likely to be accelerated, in order to reduce dependence on imported energy.

In its own business, bp launched a long-term strategy in 2020 to transform itself from an international oil company into an integrated energy company, with goals to reduce oil and gas production over time while increasing investments in low carbon energy sources. More recently, the company announced that it plans to increase the proportion of its total capex in ‘transition growth businesses,’ such as bioenergy, convenience, electric vehicle (EV) charging, renewables and hydrogen to more than 40% by 2025 and around 50% by 2030, and aims to reach 50 GW of renewable power capacity by 2030.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, bp’s Executive Vice President of Gas & Low Carbon Energy, said:

“We are unlocking new regions and new opportunities for bp. Combining our international energy expertise and technical capabilities with Marubeni’s track record of wind and energy development and first-class regional relationships, we can together build important new clean energy resources for Japan and Asia. We want to continue to build on bp’s offshore wind portfolio – and we can’t wait to get to work in Japan with Marubeni.”