Offshore Europe is being held in Aberdeen between 5 and 8 September
Our managing director Wayne Henderson looks forward to Offshore Europe and what we can learn in the transition to a better energy future
The theme of Offshore Europe 2023 next month is “accelerating the transition to a better energy future”.
Now here is something we can support because it captures Marex’s own transition story perfectly.
Four years ago, 95% of our business was in oil and gas in the North Sea.
As I speak, it is 60% oil and gas and 40% renewables.
And yes, there was a distinct turning point – our very own pivot that resulted in our transition to a better energy future.
So let’s go back to 2020, when the double whammy of an oil and gas downturn and Covid was biting hard.
Like everyone, we could see offshore wind and renewables on the horizon. We knew these emerging markets were picking up pace.
But to us, the future only held uncertainty: how could we use the 25 years of expertise in risk and marine to move into renewables?
We had to find a way because that was the future for the Marex business.
We spent two full months amid all the soul-searching of the pandemic researching the market in depth and it became evident that our skills and expertise were eminently transferrable.
We could clearly see that there was a need for this expanding market to tap into the lessons that have been learned in the decades of offshore work in the UKCS.
And more specifically, we wanted to bring a risk-based approach to offshore wind industry projects at the design and feasibility stage.
That was when we made the decision. We decided the emerging renewables market could and should benefit from the rigorous and conscientious approach we take to what we do.
Proposals to ScottishPower Renewables and heavy lift vessel owners Jan Du Nul followed, detailing how Marex could support them in making their operations safer and their compliance easier, and those resulted in two significant contract wins.
Our research showed that the UK will have to build around 2,600 wind turbines - costing £48billion - by 2030 to meet government targets on the renewable energy mix.
So we knew there was a market for our expertise. It was from that starting point that we won the marine consultancy contract with ScottishPower Renewables.
This led to us opening an office in Lowestoft in East Anglia. It’s a good base to have, as the east of England is home to 44% of the UK’s existing offshore wind farms, producing more than 5GW of clean electricity with a further 6.7GW consented and 3GW planned.
However it’s also true that around 80% of potential offshore wind power is found in deeper waters, and it is floating offshore wind farms that will be best suited to those challenges.
This is where our experience and expertise in the marine sector provided other opportunities in renewables, with our reputation allowing us to connect with other like-minded organisations.
We work hard to build trust because our aim is to develop long-term relationships with our clients and that honest and open-minded approach seems to strike a chord.
The recent Jan De Nul investment in their offshore installation heavy lift vessels Les Alizes and Voltaire shows their ambition and bravery as they target this next generation of renewable activity.
We’re proud to be part of this vanguard as we work with Jan De Nul Group on the safety assessment work on these two latest offshore construction vessels.
Marex has been contracted to carry out risk management work on the two vessels, including safety assessments and human factor analyses, both on-site and remotely.
These next generation heavy lift vessels are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved, but we have decades of experience in understanding the inherent risks in working offshore, which will be key in supporting safe and efficient operations in this rapidly evolving industry.
So what have we learned as a supply chain specialist, and what would be our advice?
Embrace offshore wind and the wider renewables sector and find your entry point. From there, you can apply your core business in a way that creates value.
This is how you can help accelerate the transition to a better energy future – and we’ll be there to manage the risks.