A sustainable offshore industry sooner than you expect


By Remko Donga
Operational member at Our Oceans Challenge

Two thirds of our planet is covered in water: the ocean is fundamental to life for humans and all living creatures and provides goods and services critical to humanity. Unfortunately the health and productivity of the ocean are facing serious challenges. Due to growing world population and expanding oceanic economic activities, these pressures are only likely to increase.

Already, several attempts have been made by the offshore industry to solve these challenges.
For example the development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) prevents carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere produced during oil and gas production. Due to technological advances and financial support provided by governments, offshore wind energy is becoming a major player in providing green energy.

Although the offshore industry is becoming more aware of the use of the oceans and its sustainable footprint, a collaborative effort is missing. Companies are no longer able to ignore their most pressing environmental issues, such as offshore noise production or waste management. Their challenges have to be aligned to come up with a global approach. But how as a company working in this challenging environment, can you contribute to a more sustainable industry without outcompeting yourself and staying ahead of the competition?

Solving challenges
There are opportunities to balance ocean protection with the responsible use and exploitation of ocean space and resources, despite the challenges both the ocean and the industry are facing. However, in difficult times like these, with dropping oil prices resulting in low profits, solving these challenges is not key priority to most industry players. Furthermore, sustainability is still in its infancy, is difficult to quantify and the revenues on the long term are unknown.

Already, many industry parties realize that they have to move to action and have joined Our Oceans Challenge (OOC) by identifying their most urgent challenges. Our Oceans Challenge is an initiative that acknowledges the difficult times that the industry is facing and is trying to bring all industry partners together. By identifying and aligning their most urgent challenges and posing them to the public, creative solutions can be developed without major costs.

For this year’s second round, five challenges have been formulated, ranging from general subject as “how to reuse existing offshore infrastructure” to a more specific challenge as “How can you minimize noise impact of operations at sea”. The final five challenges for the second round are:

  1. Can you help us exploit the Ocean Resources, whilst benefiting our society and the Oceans?
  2. How can we harvest the power of this data in eloquent and reliable ways to improve sustainability for the offshore industry?
  3. How can you add value by (re-)using offshore structures?
  4. What are creative and innovative solutions to minimize noise impact of our operations at sea, whether this comes from sailing vessels, construction sites or existing constructions?
  5. How can the offshore industry contribute to cleaner oceans?


Sharing and growing challenges
By sharing the challenges on the online platform, OOC is looking for the most practical and innovative solutions. On this platform everyone – engineers, experts and individual enthusiasts – can post their solutions which will be reviewed and enriched by Ocean Experts: employees from the OOC partner network that have knowledge in specific fields and help improve proposed ideas.

The strength of the platform is that the ideas proposed on the platform are matched with knowledgeable experts to enrich ideas to finally evolve in viable business plans that contribute to sustainable offshore industry. Ideas proposed on the platform will not end up in an idea or shredder box but actually will be reviewed and vetted by experts.

Open Innovation for a Sustainable Future
The challenges will be posted the platform for the coming three months, starting on the 1st of December. During this period everybody will be able to submit their solutions and allows idea owners to propose solutions, be heard and thereby contributing to a sustainable future. Thereafter, a selection will be made of the most promising solutions. Following an intensive selection and mentoring process, the most promising concepts will present their business plans to potential investors at the final event. After this event, a final selection of the winning concepts will be made to move forward as start-up.

By connecting industry knowledge centres, entrepreneurs and other sustainability initiatives a total of 88 solutions were proposed to 10 challenges during the first cycle. The 5 most innovative and practical solutions were accelerated and led to start-ups reaching from The Netherlands to Angola. For this round, the aim is to collect more than a 1000 ideas, 100 promising solutions and 10 viable business plans to move towards a sustainable offshore industry.

The Industry Contribution is a new section in which the oil and gas industry companies share their project endeavors or analyses. Please contact us at [email protected] for inquiries.

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