On the shoulders of giants


The well-known expression “on the shoulders of giants” has seldom been more appropriate than for the challenges and opportunities facing the energy industry.

The Norwegian petroleum industry is experiencing enormous activity with many new developments and upgrades and modifications to existing installations. At the same time, the industry faces gigantic challenges with demands to reduce carbon emissions in production and at the same time be a safe and stable energy exporter. In 2022, Norway became Europe’s largest supplier of gas to Europe, a position the country will hold for the foreseeable future.

Throughout history, Norway has been a pioneering country when it comes to technology development and technology adoption within offshore operations. The operators have been willing to test solutions and technologies prepared by contractors and suppliers. International players, therefore, look to Norway to explore technologies that can be implemented in their own petroleum fields.

Norwegian sea wind – on the shoulders of giants

In 1675, Isaac Newton wrote, “If I have seen farther, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” By this, he meant that his own research was made possible because he was able to use the existing knowledge.

Europe has mainly developed bottom-fixed offshore wind farms in recent decades. 80 percent of the wind resources on the continent are located in areas with a water depth of 60 meters or deeper, where fixed offshore wind farms are not economically profitable and the solution is floating offshore wind farms. The market for floating offshore wind farms is therefore huge. Norway is a pioneer in the field of floating offshore wind and has come the furthest in development.

The development of the oil industry and other maritime businesses over the past 50 years has given Norway a unique competence for offshore operations, which will be able to make Norway a leading player in floating offshore wind.

Equinor is already in the process of developing the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Tampen with 11 turbines, and together with partners has expressed a desire to develop Trollvind – a floating wind farm more than ten times larger than Hywind Tampen.

Foto/illustrations: Equinor.

Investments of up to 900 billion

Now politicians, builders and other stakeholders have really opened their eyes to offshore wind, and especially floating offshore wind. The announcement of the first phase of Sørlige Nordsjø II and Utsira Nord is planned for the first quarter of 2023, with subsequent allocation of the areas during the year. It will trigger an enormous interest in offshore wind and Norwegian suppliers will seriously see what opportunities lie in the new market. One of the leading offshore wind consortia, Norseman, announces developments of NOK 33 billion if they win the battle for the development of 1.4 GW at Sørlige North Sea II. Half of the investments are estimated to go to Norwegian suppliers, while the other half is expected to go to international suppliers.

The stated goals for Norwegian offshore wind represent projects worth hundreds of billions of NOK in floating and fixed offshore wind projects in the coming years. According to current estimates, the development of offshore wind farms of 30 gigawatts will require investments of NOK 750 – 900 billion. In addition to ongoing annual costs of NOK 12.5 billion annually (OPEX). The market is enormous.

The theme at OTD ENERGY 2023 in Stavanger is “on the shoulders of giants” pointing to the experience the Norwegian petroleum industry has had through offshore operations for 50 years. Norway must be a pioneering country in the development of the petroleum industry, and at the same time use this knowledge to be able to develop the national and international offshore wind industry.

OTD ENERGY focuses on the further development of the traditional petroleum industry and at the same time how we can use this knowledge to build up a leading industry for offshore offshore wind, both nationally and internationally.