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RWE and BASF plan $4.9 billion wind power project

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The logo of RWE, one of Europe's biggest electricity and gas companies is seen at block F/G of RWE's new coal power plant in Neurath
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Chemicals giant BASF and German utility RWE on Friday announced a potential 4 billion euro ($4.9 billion) offshore wind power project to cut emissions at Germany's most energy-intensive industrial site.

As part of the project, which depends on more favourable legislation, RWE plans to build a 2 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind park by 2030 to help to supply BASF's Ludwigshafen chemicals complex, Germany's single biggest electricity consumer.

BASF will own 49% of the wind park, RWE CEO Markus Krebber said, adding that while 80% of the farm's output would go to Ludwigshafen, the remaining fifth will be used to power a 300 megawatt electrolyser to produce so-called green hydrogen.

"Without the availability of sufficient volumes of electricity from renewable sources at competitive prices, our future transformation will not be possible," BASF Chief Executive Martin Brudermueller said.

The project's fate hinges on a number of regulatory factors, including faster tenders for potential sites in the North Sea as well as renewable energy being made exempt from hefty green power levies in Germany.

Electricity demand at Ludwigshafen is expected to triple by 2035, Brudermueller told a news conference held jointly with RWE, adding that the wind park would satisfy about a quarter of the power needs of his company's chemicals production hub.

($1 = 0.8179 euros)

(Reporting by Christoph SteitzEditing by David Goodman)