By: Louise Douglas
Is anyone ever really ready for Offshore Europe? A journalist said this to me ahead of this year’s event in Aberdeen. I dare say, there was many an exhibitor or speaker who felt the same, but the bigger question, and one that was on the lips of many at the event this year was, who is ready for the energy transition?
Rewind five years and the main challenge for the oil and gas industry certainly wasn’t climate change. This new reality was heard loud and clear this year as climate activists staged a choreographed ‘die-in’ outside the conference to “send a message” to oil and gas majors.
But as many of us in the energy sector know, there isn’t just an off switch. This was a message echoed and strongly put by Sir Ian Wood. We have to be realistic about how much energy the world demands and where we get that from and the ultimate reality is that oil and gas will be part of the energy mix for a long time.
The struggle is real
That said, Europe’s oil giants account for around 70 percent of the sector’s renewable energy capacity and nearly all the capacity under development today. In recent years, these energy titans have accelerated spending on wind, solar as well as battery technologies.
But it’s not easy to jump from producing oil or gas to producing something like offshore wind power. Lamprell is a clear example of this, losing $10m due to mistakes on the 714MW East Anglia 1 offshore wind farm. Of course, there will always be risks associated with any project but moving steadily can mean the reward is much greater in the long term than the risks involved in the short term.
If Offshore Europe is anything to go by, the sector clearly wants to evolve and it is doing some fantastic things. From using empty North Sea gas fields to create Carbon Capture Storage projects to developing floating offshore wind projects. But who knows about it? I’m not quite sure the activists on day three of the event were quite up to speed.
Get a voice
I was at another conference recently where a young girl stood up and said she wanted to work for an oil company who was thinking about its environmental impact as much as its profit. She urged companies to communicate their energy transition work to the younger generation, as many deem the industry as outdated and dirty. Communication is absolutely key and it’s not happening as much as it should be.
Now more than ever, it’s important that the energy sector refreshes itself. Be bold and be heard. How are you going to attract the next digital twin mastermind if it looks like your business is behind the curve? Make sure your audience knows the energy transition is not just a bunch of words but a bunch of real people trying to make a difference.