OIL giants have hailed their success in a landmark officlal auction which they said will unlock huge investment in windfarms off Scotland.

BP, Shell and France’s TotalEnergies were among the winners of the ScotWind round, which generated huge interest around the world.

Energy giants based in Scotland in the shape of ScottishPower and SSE were also successful.

READ MORE: Windfarm deals underline oil giants’ interest in sector

The round is expected to pave the way to a dramatic expansion in Scotland’s renewable energy industry, with successful bidders working on plans for 17 windfarms in total. These include pioneering floating windfarms as well as more conventional fixed structures.

Simon Hodge, Chief Executive of Crown Estate Scotland, said the results were a fantastic vote of confidence in Scotland’s ability to transform its energy sector.

“Just a couple of months after hosting COP26, we’ve now taken a major step towards powering our future economy with renewable electricity,” noted Mr Hodge.

He said ScotWind projects could deliver huge environmental benefits and a matching boost to the economy.

Backers reckon the projects could generate billions of pounds of work for the supply chain and help to breathe fresh life into the economies of some areas of Scotland.

HeraldScotland: Nicola Sturgeon at the launch of the European Offshore Deployment Centre in Aberdeen Bay in 2018 Picture: Getty Nicola Sturgeon at the launch of the European Offshore Deployment Centre in Aberdeen Bay in 2018 Picture: Getty

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon highlighted the prospect that ScotWind projects could provide jobs for oil and gas workers amid the expected transition to a lower-carbon energy system.

With the bidders set to pay around £700m option fees, the Scottish Government is also in line to receive a boost to its coffers.

The oil firms’ success could help validate their claims that they can be part of the solution to the problem of climate change as campaigners call for curbs to be imposed on exploration and production activity off Scotland.

HeraldScotland: BP chief executive Bernard Looney Picture: BP BP chief executive Bernard Looney Picture: BP

Noting that BP has a “proud 100-year” history in Scotland, chief executive Bernard Looney said: ”We want to thank Crown Estate Scotland for the opportunity to now start a new chapter, helping Scotland continue as a global energy leader for the next 100 years.”

BP proposes to develop a fixed windfarm 60 miles east of Aberdeen, which it reckons will have the capacity to power more than three million homes.

READ MORE: BP holds out prospect of huge boost to Scottish ship-building from windfarm work

The company reiterated claims that its success could help unlock around £10bn investment in total in support of offshore wind and Scotland’s energy transition. It said recently that it might order windfarm support vessels from Scottish yards, with the Ferguson facility at Port Glasgow in contention.

BP is working with German energy firm EnBW, with which it bid successfully for acreage off England last year.

Shell said it plans to develop two of the world’s first large-scale floating offshore wind farms with ScottishPower on the acreage it secured options for. This lies off eastern Scotland. The oil giant said floating wind plays to its strengths in deeper offshore projects.

TotalEnergies plans to develop a windfarm west of Orkney with Green Investment Group, which is owned by Australian investment bank Macquarie.

Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and chief executive of TotalEnergies said the project would complement the firm’s traditional oil and gas activities in Scotland.

He noted: “We will provide all our resources from our new UK Offshore Wind Hub in Aberdeen, which will draw on the expertise and supply chain of our oil and gas activities and on Scottish industry.”

READ MORE: ScottishPower feels impact of gas price rise as windfarm output drops

Besides the two projects it is working on with Shell, ScottishPower plans to develop a windfarm fixed to the seabed off Islay.

Perth-based SSE bid successfully with Japanese conglomerate Marubeni and the Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners investment business, in respect of acreage off the Angus Coast. It plans to build a giant floating windfarm on this, which would generate enough power for four million homes.

HeraldScotland: Moray East windfarm components are shipped offshore Picture: Port of Cromarty FirthMoray East windfarm components are shipped offshore Picture: Port of Cromarty Firth

Port of Cromarty Firth said ScotWind projects could provide a huge boost to the Highlands.

But Crown Estate Scotland cautioned that it could be some time before any projects are completed.

Some 17 ScotWind applications were successful out of the 74 submitted.

READ MORE: Scottish renewables giant plans expansion overseas following success off UK

Unsuccessful applicants included Equinor, which developed the world’s first large scale floating windfarm, Hywind, which lies off Aberdeenshire. The Norwegian oil giant said it is taking a disciplined approach to growth and will continue to evaluate potential bid rounds and opportunities in the UK.

Italian oil giant Eni also missed out, after submitting a bid with Chinese-owned Red Rock Power.

Guy Madgwick, Red Rock Power chief executive, said the company was naturally very disappointed by yesterday’s results but remained committed to the Scottish offshore wind sector.