Initiatives from the industry

IRO, The Association of Dutch Suppliers in the Oil and Gas Industry and Offshore Renewable Industry embraces many initiatives that are aimed at creating a sustainable and responsible industry. Our Oceans Challenge, the North Sea Energy Innovation Project (TNO), Masterplan Decommissioning (EBN) and the Offshore Experience (Maritime Museum Rotterdam) are a few examples of these interesting initiatives and are highlighted below.

Our Oceans Challenge

Our Oceans Challenge

A sustainable offshore industry
The world is changing rapidly: we are in the midst of a major energy transition, supported by the Paris Agreement last year. This challenges oil and gas companies to think and act differently. To stay at the forefront of economic development, the industry has to come up with cost reductions and smarter solutions. In one word: embrace innovation. Our license to operate lies in being able to provide answers to climate change and not only mitigate the impact the industry has, but contribute to a cleaner world. In this “new world” the offshore industry - our industry - is reflecting on its core business, our impact on society and the environment.

Although the offshore industry is becoming more aware of its footprint, a collaborative effort on improvement is missing. Companies are no longer able to just focus on their own business. We have to get our head around environmental issues, such as offshore noise production or waste management. Our challenges will be solved when

approached globally. But how, as a company working in this challenging environment, can you contribute to a more sustainable industry without outcompeting yourself and staying ahead of the competition?

Solving challenges
Opportunities are there to balance ocean protection with the responsible use and exploitation of ocean space and resources, however these are not quick wins. In difficult times like these that makes it difficult to solve issues there are not – yet – linked to the core process of companies. Many industry parties however have addressed the wish to make a difference and combine business opportunities with a sustainable future for the industry. These partners come together in Our Oceans Challenge (OOC), an online platform based on open innovation. This initiative acknowledges the difficult times that the industry is facing and is bringing all industry partners together. By inviting ‘outsiders’ – the platform is open to everybody –, creative solutions can be developed and ocean experts from the OOC partner network are around to enrich these ideas. Five challenges have been formulated to create a context for people to share their knowledge. These issues are faced by most if not all players offshore and range from general subjects such as “How to reuse existing offshore infrastructure” to a more specific challenge as “How can you minimize noise impact of operations at sea”.

Open Innovation for a Sustainable Future Already more than 500 participants have shared and contributed a total of over a hundred unique, creative solutions that connect the industry with knowledge centers, entrepreneurs and other sustainability initiatives. Our goal is to gather as many ideas and enrichments as possible. The most promising ideas will be further developed by the offshore industry into real, tangible business ready solutions that will contribute to our sustainability goals. Are you interested in joining an ever growing network of industry, knowledge centers and entrepreneurs and willing to contribute to a sustainable offshore industry for near zero marginal costs?

Have a look at for more information. Together we can make a difference



North Sea Energy Innovation Project

The international community faces an important challenge to implement the Paris agreement (UN 2015), substantially reduce CO2 emissions and limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C or lower. A fast transition to a new, low carbon energy system is therefore required. The Dutch North Sea is an area where this energy transition actually materializes, with the current strong ramp-up of wind energy construction. Parallel, the cessation and decommissioning of current gas production activities will start in the upcoming years. Next to these activities, the North Sea hosts several other important (economic) activities, including fishing, sand and shell extraction, shipping, military use, nature reserves and recreational activities. Given the many uses and the limited space available in the Dutch sector of the North Sea, this requires that synergies between different uses must be found and optimized. A report published by TNO describes the options and gives examples of opportunities if innovative efforts are accelerated in the Dutch offshore energy domain and sets a framework in which innovation could be executed to realise an integrated energy system. While this report considers only the Dutch part of the North Sea, logically, in the long term, international connection and integration in the offshore sector is desirable, if not vital.

In the current situation, the main players in the offshore energy domain, the gas sector on one hand and the wind energy sector on the other hand, are largely operating in rather separate worlds. Overall operational efficiency, economics and environmental performance could be significantly improved by (partly) sharing infrastructure, offshore services, human capital, products and knowledge. Such an integrated energy system would allow for optimizing the efficiency of the system and make it more robust regarding security of supply, as well as more flexible in coping with fluctuations in supply and demand. For these reasons, system integration in the offshore energy domain is unavoidable. Successful system integration can only be achieved if common drivers of the stakeholders can be identified. The report identifies these drivers and outlines a broad innovation project on System Integration Offshore Energy, including innovation themes that are relevant for offshore energy system integration in which a joint effort by stakeholders can tackle challenges and create opportunities in the pre-competitive domain. The innovation project furthermore contains a set of key performance indicators to ensure that research and innovation within the program is transparent, verifiable, relevant, and impactful. In short, the report presents a common vision for the North Sea as a clean energy source for The Netherlands.

Drivers for system integration
The most important offshore energy challenges and drivers for system integration from the perspective of offshore wind sector, offshore gas sector and society concern the following categories: Policy and regulation, Optimisation for lowest social (system) cost, Geographic limitations, Short and long term grid integration, Public and environmental impacts, Shortage of human capital.For the wind energy community, the most important driver is lowering the cost of wind energy. This can be achieved by cost reduction through synergies in construction, operation and maintenance, and the optimal use of space through strategic planning. A jointly developed offshore grid including offshore demand for electricity can lower the costs of the investments required to transport power from windfarms. For the gas community the most important driver is maintaining a security of supply with as little emissions as possible. This can be achieved through electrification of platforms, which could potentially reduce the GHG emissions, increase energy efficiency lower the operational costs of E&P installations. Infrastructure lifetime extension would mean more time to explore opportunities for the reuse of installations and reservoirs for innovations like system integration, CO2 storage, power to gas and balancing of the offshore energy grid. For society at large, the main driver is a transition to clean energy at acceptable cost for society while moving towards a low-carbon system that remains at least as reliable as our current energy system.

Innovation is key
Key to achieving these objectives is innovation, and the report identifies four innovation themes. Strategic spatial planning aims to balance competing commercial, ecological and societal interests and open opportunities for the smart coupling of infrastructure. Society and governance is another theme in which understanding and mitigating public perception issues, regulatory hurdles and human capital shortages are central objectives. The third theme centres around the physical network with the aim of achieving an integrated energy network in the Dutch North Sea. Finally, in respect of Health, Safety and Environment, the goal is to maintain and strengthen the trust that offshore activities can be performed safely and with due regard for the environment.

North Sea Energy (NSE) project
The NSE program will run for at least 5 years and members can change their membership status annually. Under a 50% co-funding scheme the program will receive at least € 500,000 of co-financing from TKI Gas and TKI Offshore Wind (WoZ), and organize four general NSE meetings per year for knowledge transfer. There is a 50% discount available for SME. Interested parties can join the offshore energy system integration program to become part of the North Sea Energy Community by contacting TNO:



Masterplan Decommissioning

Masterplan Decommissioning

Decommissioning of Dutch oil and gas assets will be an important topic over the coming 2 decades as a large portion of these assets will reach the end of their economic life in this period. As the economy is moving towards a renewable future, this presents an opportunity to re-use existing infrastructure to support renewable investments before safe and sustainable decommissioning. A Netherlands Masterplan for Decommissioning and Re-use has been created with the vision to ensure a safe, efficient and effective Dutch decommissioning market continually reducing costs and minimizing residual footprint. At the same time this vision will foster the emergence of a vibrant and competitive services sector able to export their capabilities to other decommissioning projects.

One of the sector’s key challenges is the safe and efficient decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure. Current estimates cost for decommissioning of oil and gas assets in the Netherlands amount to €6.7 billion. These current estimates may further increase as history shows that estimates often significantly undershoot actual costs (especially for well P&A). Since the state contributes 70% of the total costs of decommissioning (either directly or through their ownership of EBN), it contributes at least €5 billion of these costs. There is an opportunity to potentially reduce these decommissioning costs, while at the same time improving the quality and safety of decommissioning in a sustainable way through a coordinated response from the industry. Furthermore, as the economy is moving towards a renewable future, there is an opportunity to re-use existing infrastructure to complement renewable investment before eventual safe and efficient decommissioning. To ensure the most effective and efficient execution on the decommissioning tasks ahead, four priority topics should be further detailed in the coming months:
- A dedicated National Decommissioning Platform should be established, with EBN as the coordinator with a clear mandate from the government
- A National Decommissioning Database is to be established providing an (anonymised) clustered view of the asset base and decommissioning horizon to facilitate planning and collaboration
- Efficient and effective regulation should be promoted to allow industry to deliver safe, efficient and cost responsible decommissioning and re-use
- Mechanisms to share learnings should be set up, both local and internationally

Following the priority topics, four mid-term objectives should be further pursued to ensure the Dutch decommissioning execution is world-class in terms of safety, sustainability and cost efficiency:
- Ensure an environment of industry collaboration to coordinate work scopes and operations for most effective and efficient execution
- Support high quality, cost-effective standardisation of decommissioning to ensure high quality outcomes whilst avoiding high costs
- Stimulate innovative decommissioning approaches and technologies to create world class decommissioning outcomes in the Netherlands
- Build on international experiences to ensure the Dutch decommissioning market reflect the industry’s best practices

Download the Masterplan at



Offshore Experience

New exhibition in Maritime Museum Rotterdam brings offshore ashore as the search for energy becomes an experience
Offshore Experience
Over forty five leading companies in the shipping and offshore maritime sector are among those who have contributed to the funding for the first ever exhibition in the Netherlands dedicated to the offshore sector, to be housed at the Maritime Museum Rotterdam for the next seven years. The Offshore Experience, which opened in December 2016, will provide visitors a spectacular overview of the search for oil, gas, wind energy and renewables at sea. IRO, The Association of Dutch Suppliers in the Oil and Gas Industry and Offshore Renewable Industry, is proud to be a supporting partner of the Offshore Experience, where many IRO members are displayed and show their innovations through the exhibition. It is also a unique opportunity to get young people enthusiastic about technology and with that setting out a long-term approach for increasing the numbers of technically skilled professionals.

Frits Loomeijer, General Director of the Maritime Museum says: “As the worldwide transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy continues apace, energy assumes increasing importance for the economy and essential for everyday living. Without energy, we could not recharge our mobile phones, put fuel in our cars or cook our food. A lot of the energy comes from oil, gas or wind and is obtained offshore at sea. Dutch companies are in demand throughout the world for the expertise they can bring to complex high-tech offshore projects in the most dynamic conditions. After all, just how do you construct a wind turbine at sea? How do you position a 30,000-ton platform on the seabed, accurate to the centimetre? And how do you prevent gas leaks at 3 km depth?

The question for the future is not whether we will be able to drill deeper or under increasingly difficult circumstances, but how we can be more sustainable. In a world where everyone has an opinion on energy, the Maritime Museum is offering its visitors a unique experience around energy production at sea, both now and in the future.”

For more information go to