FEF News

Wednesday 4th May 2022

Why it is so important to continue to develop new marine skills

Chris Bird, Riskwell

"Those that think shorter term may be excused to think that further development of skills in the floating industry may not be necessary.  We will see a large number of FPSO’s and floating production systems decommissioned over the next 10 years and with climate change, there is also negative public opinion over new floating systems for oil installations.  However, energy transition takes us from high-density energy plants such as nuclear to much larger lower density energy plants such as solar, wind, wave, and current.  This will be a challenge.
 
From an environmental perspective, 58% of the currently populated landmass is subsiding and at the same time, sea levels will rise reducing the overall landmass available to us.  However, with the increasing population, the need to grow more crop foods, and drive for afforestation to support net-zero ambitions, land will become a premium, especially for energy.
 
There is already major research and development programs in offshore floating power and processing such as floating wind, floating solar, floating hydrogen along with other novel sources of energy generation. There is also increased activity in offshore mining. Whilst the transition occurs, we need to keep the lights on the existing oil and gas assets for much longer as many are past their original designs lives, but, these older assets support the energy transition. This will require more skills and the development of new skills in the floating facilities arena moving forward.
 
One example is understanding weather patterns in an entirely new way.  With rising sea levels and changes in environmental weather systems, we can see changes in both wave period and height which can have significant effects on both fixed and floating systems.  These can cause additional stresses, high-frequency vibrations, and seabed souring, all of which can affect our offshore facilities.  Creating the offshore infrastructure to drive the world's need for more power and energy from electrical sources is going to be demanding and challenging. We also need security of supply of existing oil and gas assets and new oil and gas assets that comply with the net-zero challenges.  All require new thinking and new skills and an integrated energy strategy.
 
The Floating Energy Forum will help to start the dialogue and support the drive for sustainability, affordability, and security of supply. Why not come along?!"

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Written by Chris Bird