From the Chief Executive: April 2019

Technological innovations are set to transform the future energy landscape. In this edition of Energy Focus we ask, what do the next 50 years have in store for our industry?

Stuart Broadley

The technology used to produce and consume energy has always been of great importance. Faced now with the dual challenge of rising global energy demand and the need to deliver this with lower emissions, its role in society has never been more critical.

In this issue of Energy Focus, launched at OTC 2019, we attempt to answer the question posed at this year’s conference of what the next 50 years has in store for the offshore industry. We put the spotlight on technological developments taking place over the next few decades across the oil and gas, power, nuclear and renewable sectors, with a particular focus on innovations set to create waves offshore.

Our view from the top interviewee is Gordon Birrell, BP’s Upstream Chief Operating Officer for Production, Transformation and Carbon, and one of the headline speakers at OTC this year.

In a candid interview he talks about how BP is leveraging next generation digital tools to support the energy transition to a lower-carbon future and the innovations set to take place on its Gulf of Mexico assets. Click here to find out more.

As is clear from Gordon’s interview, next horizon technology will change the way the energy industry works. Our special feature looks at the part that Li-Fi, optical computing, quantum sensors and artificial intelligence will play in making our industry safer, more efficient and above all sustainable.

Given that this edition of Energy Focus is an OTC technology special, we commissioned an article which imagines what the oil rigs of the future may look like (The rig of the future). Referring back to this year’s conference theme once again, we also forecast what the next 50 years will have in store for the oil and gas industry in general.

Offshore wind is really taking off in the US. So much so that opportunities for oil and gas companies to diversify into the sector have been included in the OTC conference programme. You’ll find a fascinating article from Alex Louden, Innovation Manager at ORE Catapult, describing the technology set to hit the industry over the next 50 years: autonomous bug-like maintenance robots crawling over turbines, floating kite power generators, multi-rotor and vertical axis turbines… The offshore wind farms of tomorrow are going to look very different to those of today.

While renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are becoming more common across the world, the one issue holding back green power is intermittency. Put simply, if the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, wind farms and solar plants don’t generate power.

However, that’s changing, with energy storage playing a major role. As the race to create the next revolutionary battery heats up, we take a look at the emerging competitors (Towards the ion age).

Once again, the EIC is managing the OTC UK pavilion, hosting almost 50 exhibitors showcasing the very best that the UK offshore oil and gas industry has to offer. You’ll find a full list of the companies in our OTC preview piece (Making the one Gulf dream a reality), as well as a round-up of North American oil and gas activity and how the EIC is making the One Gulf dream a reality for contractors and service providers on both sides of the border. For this edition’s big question (Big Question: What does the future hold for the offshore oil and gas industry?), we ask exhibiting EIC member companies Balmoral Offshore Engineering, Hilti Corporation and IMI Precision Engineering what challenges will be faced by the offshore industry in the future and the design, technological and work flow solutions being put in place to meet them.

Profiled in our popular my business section is another exhibitor at OTC. We spoke to E2S MD Brett Isard about what day-to-day life is like at the one of the world’s leading independent warning signals manufacturers (Brett Isard, E2S).

If you are at OTC 2019, please make sure you pay the EIC team a visit at stand 1539 in Hall D. We’ll be happy to introduce you to any of our exhibitors as well as talk you through the suite of business development products that the EIC has in place to support your growth in the North American region and indeed around the entire globe.

Stuart Broadley