Diversify to thrive – Jean Morrison, Chair of AREG

July 5, 2019

Given Aberdeen’s long-established position as Europe’s leading energy hub and its global reputation for energy project delivery, the energy transition is set to have a major impact on the local supply chain.

A recent report by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce certainly paints a positive picture of the mood amongst Aberdeen-based businesses. It reported that 90% of firms are optimistic about the long-term future of the city. Additionally, a further 52% of respondents claimed their businesses were likely to be involved in UKCS renewables work.

If only 30% of local companies made their interest in green energy concrete, this would represent a further 350 businesses actively looking to further the energy transition.

Our recent members’ event echoed enthusiasm from local companies looking at opportunities to diversify. The business breakfast showcased AREG members who have successfully moved into renewables from oil and gas.

More than 50 people from a range of supply chain and operator companies attended the breakfast which detailed the approaches of marine geophysical-geotechnical specialists PanGeo Subsea and COES Caledonia (UK) Limited, the Chinese state-owned engineering services firm.

PanGeo is now using its technology in the early stages of offshore wind developments to identify geohazards buried beneath the seafloor. Such obstacles can include boulders, cemented layers, shallow gas, abandoned seabed infrastructure and unexploded ordnance up to 30 metres in depth. Initially utilised for the oil and gas industry, the company’s technology has spiked through European and US renewables projects.

After launching in Dundee last year, COES Caledonia is investing significant resources into the renewables sector. With backing from the Ministry of Transport of China, the company has big ambitions. COES Caledonia is in the process of developing a purpose-built wind turbine installation vessel, adding to an already impressive array of offshore vessels.

Many traditional oil and gas companies have realised they have the skill and experience to work in renewables, providing a new revenue stream and long-term stability in a rapidly growing industry.

Our member Sparrows Group, for example, has a long history as a lifting and mechanical handling specialist in the offshore oil and gas industry and has provided support offshore for over 40 years. Its Cable and Pipe Lay Solutions (CPLS) division more than doubled its business in 2018 thanks to an upsurge in activity in the renewables market.

There is no doubt the energy transition is happening as we move towards the more ambitious emissions targets set out by the UK government last month.

As an organisation, AREG is there to open doors for companies new to renewables. It is an exciting future for our supply chain, and we need to make the most of the opportunities available.

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