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Herbert Smith Freehills advises Marubeni on joint venture with bp for Japanese offshore wind business

28 March 2022 | London and Tokyo
Deals and cases


Leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Japan's Marubeni Corporation on a joint venture with energy major bp to develop the selected offshore wind opportunity in Japan.

The joint venture is part of a wider cooperation agreement between the two companies to explore offshore wind and other decarbonisation development opportunities including hydrogen.

Marubeni currently owns stakes in power projects across 21 countries (including Japan) for a total net capacity of about 12GW.

The transaction team was driven by the firm's Tokyo and London offices, with Lewis McDonald and Eliza Eaton in London and Andy Blacoe and Stephen McCann in Tokyo.  Now Marubeni's lead lawyer, Tom Bowes originally drove the deal while on secondment to the company from the firm's Tokyo office. 

"This is a significant development for Marubeni, as it grows its offshore wind business both domestically and globally," said Marubeni relationship partner Andrew Blacoe. "With considerable experience in offshore wind technology projects around the world, Marubeni is now employing that expertise at home to meet Japan's ambitious targets." 

Japan installed Asia's first offshore wind project in 2003, and now boasts one of the largest national offshore wind targets of any nation, targeting 10GW of offshore wind by 2030, and 30-45GW by 2040, an ambition matched only by the UK.  

Global Head of Energy Lewis McDonald said, "This is another excellent example of our firm providing end-to-end service to our Japanese clients to help them achieve their global ambitions. To be involved in helping Marubeni to form such a significant partnership with bp in offshore wind is a true honour for our firm."  

Marubeni was one of the consortium members in the demonstration of the Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Farm Project, and also participated in the offshore wind project at Akita Port and Noshiro Port - the first large-scale commercial based offshore wind project in Japan. In January 2022, Marubeni, together with its consortium members secured seabed leasing right for the ScotWind project in Scotland, UK, which has a maximum capacity of 2,600MW.

Herbert Smith Freehills has a longstanding reputation in advising clients on first-of-their-kind, large-scale wind and solar projects. The firm leads the way in the clean energy projects that will drive the energy transition.

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