Initiatives from the industry

IRO, The Association of Dutch Suppliers in the Oil and Gas Industry and Offshore Renewable Industry, has several committees that enable member companies operating with a specific sector to exchange experience and expertise and to gather information.

1. Oil & Gas (Energy transition, Decommissioning, CCS)
2. Renewables (Offshore Wind, Marine & tidal energy, Geothermia)
3. Innovation & Technology (Digitalisation, Cyber)
4. Sustainability & Safety (Corporate responsibility, Circular economy, Young IRO)
5.(Inter)national relations & communications

Organising promotional activities, lobbying and joint promotion are important activities of the committees. IRO embraces many initiatives that are aimed at creating a sustainable and responsible industry. Our Oceans Challenge, Nexstep, Wind & Water Works, the North Sea Energy Program (TNO), the Global Sustainable Enterprise System and the Offshore Experience (Maritiem Museum Rotterdam) are a few examples of these interesting initiatives which are highlighted below.



Our Oceans Challenge

Our Oceans Challenge

The offshore and maritime industry has gone through quite a transition the past few years. Sustainability has gained a prominent place on the agenda of the industry and new innovations are climbing the charts.

‘Changing’ the mindset towards a sustainable future in the well run maritime and offshore industry at a global market is an immense task. A task that can only be done with a clear strategy and a strong network. When the Our Oceans Challenge Cycle 2 challenges were defined - noise mitigation, waste management, sustainable legacy, big data and ocean resources - we couldn’t have guessed the broad variety of ideas we were to receive. The network expanded rapidly in a few months and it was exactly the sort of chain of partners with the ability to fuel and adopt innovation. Within 8 months after announcing the second cycle of Our Oceans Challenge, the finals were held at the Maritiem Museum in Rotterdam.

More than 150 ideas were posted at the online platform, discussed and improved amongst the collaborating organizations and the public. From all those ideas, fifteen were selected to proceed to the live pitches. From designing biodegradable electronics to combining renewable energy sources and from a market place for industrial waste to bubbling for plastics, the pitches all inspired to move towards a more sustainable way of working. ‘Wave parasite’ was the jury’s favorite and the ‘Great Bubble Barrier’ the public’s choice.

With the industry going through rough times we took some time to get ready for the third cycle. We are now! We are looking forward to discuss with you the sustainable challenge the offshore and maritime industry faces. The industry faces an interesting future and needs a great dose of innovation and new working methods. Our Oceans Challenge is planning to start the third cycle first half of 2019 and can only do so with a great network. Through open innovation participants can share and contribute creative solutions and 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 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 and maritime industry for near zero marginal costs?

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





Nexstep is the Dutch platform for Re-use and Decommissioning. Nexstep’s founding fathers are the oil and gas producing operators in the Netherlands (represented by NOGEPA) and EBN, as representative for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.

Nexstep, as the member organization of all Dutch oil and gas producing operators, serves as the first point of contact for a broad set of stakeholders in the Netherlands and abroad. Nexstep coordinates, facilitates and accelerates the Dutch agenda for re-use and decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure with the aim to have zero safety incidents, create minimum environmental impact and realize cost reductions through efficiency.

In the Netherlands, an extensive infrastructure has been built up in the past decades for the production and transport of oil and gas. The production sites are approaching the end of their economic life, which means they become available for other possible uses and if not, they will be decommissioned.

Nexstep wants to serve as an inclusive and collaborative umbrella organization that coordinates, facilitates and seeks dialogue on the re-use and decommissioning agenda for oil and gas infrastructure in the Netherlands. Nexstep is a membership-based organization, which aims to stimulate and facilitate collaboration amongst key stakeholders. It will develop and drive a dedicated innovation agenda; promote effective regulation and encourage knowledge transfer both nationally and internationally.

As the public face of re-use and decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure in the Netherlands, Nexstep will inform and engage with stakeholders and the general public about its work. It will promote transparency about re-use and decommissioning including its scope in the Netherlands amongst others by publishing the yearly Re-use and Decommissioning Report. A dedicated innovation agenda will identify new challenges and promote technology development where it is needed.

In 2019, focus will be on developing a new salvage standard, a pilot producing offshore hydrogen in cooperation with TNO and exploring the route towards rigless abandonment. Nexstep will also encourage industry collaboration, sharing of lessons learned and engagement with international partner organizations involved in the coordination of re-use and decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure.

More information at



Wind & Water Works

All around the world countries are in transition working to ensure that their energy supply comes from cleaner, more sustainable sources. So is the Netherlands. During this transition, we discovered the enormous potential of offshore wind energy.
Wind & Water Works
Wind & Water Works is established to demonstrate how Dutch companies are now applying their offshore expertise developed over many years to offshore wind energy.Ruud de Bruijne, project leader offshore wind at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency ( “Wind & Water Works enables the Dutch Government and the Dutch business sector to collectively export the successful Dutch approach to and expertise in offshore wind energy.”

The key to success? A complete, integrated approach. Dutch public and private parties have teamed up to design, develop, build and maintain top-quality wind farms. Together they proved wind to be a powerful solution, because they realized there is more to building high-quality wind farms at sea than just manufacturing wind turbines.

It requires technical innovation across the whole supply chain. Such as careful preparation of the seabed, the ability to transport large foundations and wind turbines to an offshore site and to install them under challenging conditions. But also the laying of power cables and other offshore grid-connection and electricity-transmission infrastructure. And the adjustment of the onshore high voltage grid to transport the electricity yield to load centres on land. Effective operations and maintenance procedures are required to ensure that every wind farm has a long, sustainable future. It requires dedicated teamwork, collaboration, and innovation across the board.

The Dutch have centuries of experience in working offshore: not only did we turn water into land, we also created the Delta Works and are leaders in the offshore oil and gas industry. The world’s best dredging companies, shipbuilders, steel and equipment constructors have their origins in the Netherlands, as do other parties in the supply chain - soil investigators, technical consultants, engineers and more. For over a century these Dutch companies have been working together on offshore projects across the world.

Driving down the cost of offshore wind energy is a key goal of the Dutch nation’s Energy Agenda. The first two tenders for projects in the current offshore wind programme - both in the Borssele Wind Farm Zone (BWFZ) - each resulted in record low prices for offshore wind development at the time. And on top of that Hollandse Kust Zuid was the first offshore wind farm to win a non-subsidised contract in March 2018.

Dutch Economic Affairs and Climate Minister Eric Wiebes said: “Thanks to drastically lower costs, offshore wind farms are now being constructed without subsidy. This allows us to keep the energy transition affordable. Innovation and competition are making sustainable energy cheaper and cheaper, and much faster than expected too.”

The Dutch government is a driving force in this chain by de-risking investments in offshore wind farms. The government allocates specific areas for wind farm development, takes care of project permits and conducts all the necessary site investigations. TenneT, the state transmission system operator, takes care of the grid connection and transmission infrastructure. This makes Dutch offshore wind projects attractive to investors, whilst being proven to minimize the overall costs to the Dutch economy.

The Government and industry agree that further cost reductions are possible. Nonetheless, zero-subsidy development is not necessarily the same as long-term cost-effective sustainable power production and supply. To achieve this, innovations are needed in almost every sphere of the sector, including wind turbine technology, foundation design, installation procedures, operations and maintenance, and decommissioning.

Pieter van Oord, chairman of IRO, said: “Dutch offshore industry has the knowledge, experience and equipment to take their place at the top of the international offshore windsector.”

“We are keen to share our experience and knowledge with others across the world. With countries that want to expand their horizons. Countries that want to secure a long-term sustainable supply of electricity. Countries that want to benefit from the positive economic impact of offshore wind energy, just as we have. With these countries, we would like to team up and explore the best ways for them to develop offshore wind energy.”

Wind & Water Works is an initiative of branch organizations NWEA, HHWE, IRO, TKI-WoZ, NMT and the Ministries of Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. More information can be requested at IRO (Tjerk Suurenbroek, or the above mentioned organizations.



North Sea Energy Program

North Sea Energy Program Over the last 50 years an extensive network of pipelines, platforms, subsea installations has been developed in the North Sea to produce oil and gas from offshore fields. Currently, production is in decline and preparations are made to start decommissioning. This includes removal of existing infrastructure for oil and gas production.

At the same time a new infrastructure is being developed to produce renewable energy, mostly from offshore wind. This includes an offshore electric grid and transformer stations. Innovations are under development to enable reuse of existing infrastructure for oil and gas for future use in energy storage and power balancing offshore. Old infrastructure can be used for energy or CO2 storage (depleted fields), energy conversion with Power to Gas or Gas to Wire (platforms) or energy transport and storage (Hydrogen).

The North Sea Energy program started in May 2017 to accelerate the energy transition on the North Sea. This program is supported by Top Sector Energy and has now 25 participants from industry, branch organizations, research institutions and societal organizations (NGOs). The program is led by the independent technology organization TNO with a value of 1 million euro per year. There is a strong collaboration with the Nexstep organization, which is looking at cost reduction in decommissioning and opportunities for reuse of infrastructure in the Netherlands.

Why system integration in the North Sea?
The cost of decommissioning of the oil and gas infrastructure in the Netherlands has been estimated to be 7 billion euro. More than half (55%) is connected to the offshore facilities, pipelines and wells. Building an offshore electricity grid for wind farms requires billions of investments from industry and society. Linking offshore sectors and, in particular, smartly sharing their physical or logistic infrastructure may lead to cost reductions at system level, and will contribute to a smooth integration of intermittent renewable energy into the system, for example in the form of hydrogen, produced by electrolysers in a process called Power to Gas.

Platform electrification
The energy of production platforms is now generated with gas turbines and diesel engines, which produce CO2, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxides. By using the sustainably generated energy from the wind turbines at sea, these emissions can be reduced offshore to a zero point and energy is saved at system level. An integrated offshore electric grid is also a prerequisite for future functions such as CO2 storage or Hydrogen production.

Gas to wire
From almost empty gas fields you can also generate electricity directly on the platforms, this is called Gas to Wire. Gas to Wire can possibly be combined with CO2 capture and storage (CCS) such that offshore electricity is ‘extracted’ from natural gas with a very low CO2 footprint. The electricity can be transported to land via the unused capacity of the offshore grid, so that it can be used more efficiently.

Power to Gas
Power to Gas offers the possibility to convert (surplus) wind energy into an energy carrier that can be transported via a gas network. The advantage is that gas can be transported in large volumes more easily and cost efficiently by using the current gas network. Storage is also possible and the produced gas, preferably hydrogen, can be used as a feedstock for, for example, the chemical industry.

Energy storage
The offshore infrastructure (pipelines, gas fields, platforms) can be used for the conversion and storage of energy produced by the wind farms. This makes it possible to feed large quantities of variable sustainable sources such as wind into the energy system without requiring very heavy grid adaptations.

The added value of these options will be determined in terms of economy, reduction of CO2 emissions and acceleration of the energy transition. For example, the preliminary estimate is that more than one million tons of CO2 emissions can be saved annually if offshore gas and offshore wind energy connect their infrastructure and exchange electricity. A new consortium of Total, NAM, TAQA, Neptune, EBN, Nexstep and TNO has initiated a study for an offshore pilot for hydrogen production on a MW scale, to demonstrate feasibility of the power to gas concept.ity.

More information on the North Sea Energy Program at or René Peters,



Students beat maritime experts in Offshore Experience

Offshore Experience

The ‘Saltcatcher’ of four primary school students from Rotterdam was proclaimed the best idea for creating sustainable energy at sea by the visitors of the ‘Offshore Experience’ in the Maritiem Museum Rotterdam in 2018. These students beat students from TU Delft and technical engineers from the maritime industry. Each year, the successful exhibition Offshore Experience is given ‘new energy’ with eight new innovative ideas for the future of energy from the sea.

Offshore Experience, the search for energy
The Offshore Experience, which opened its doors end of 2016, is the first ever exhibition in the Netherlands dedicated to the offshore sector, to be housed at the Maritiem Museum for seven years. The exhibition was realized with the financial support and knowledge of 56 partners from the offshore and maritime industries.

Imagine yourself on a platform at sea
n the Offshore Experience people of all ages embark on a challenging search at sea for energy. Wearing safety vests and helmets, they will experience what it is like to be on an offshore platform in the middle of the sea and 3 km below sea level. A 360° film projection stimulates the senses. Ships come and go and helicopters land. Models of the newest and most advanced offshore ships demonstrate their capabilities. Offshore employees offer a glimpse into their lives at sea, and simulated presentations enable visitors to experience for themselves how drillers, crane drivers, wind turbine specialists and helicopter pilots perform their demanding tasks on the open sea, in a constant battle against the elements. A lift takes visitors down to a mysterious undersea world; from just below the surface to a depth of 3 km. The adventure ends in the future, as visitors vote for the best idea for producing sustainable energy at sea.

With the presentation of the eight ideas for the future of energy, the Maritiem Museum offers companies a platform to show the public at large how the maritime industry is working towards a sustainable future. This year, SeaOwls presents the design of a radically innovative offshore wind installation lifting vessel, which due to its light construction is ideally suited for transporting and installing six wind turbines a week. Skoon Energy demonstrates the Skoonbox, an interchangeable battery pack that enables the 110-meter-long inland barge Borelli to fully electrically sail part of the route between Rotterdam and Hengelo. With the sensors developed by TNO, windmills can be monitored to take action in time to prevent overload. Two of the eight ideas come from educational projects organized by the Maritiem Museum in collaboration with the industry and educational institutions. A great opportunity for companies to inspire young people to choose a future in technology.

Submit your idea for the future of energy for 2020
ompanies that are interested to present their ideas in the Offshore Experience in 2020 or want to host students for two mornings a year for the educational project, can contact relations manager Lucie Kuijpers, More information at




The Global Sustainable Enterprise System

The GSES Platform (GSES®) offers various tools to visualize and quantify sustainable business practices. GSES measures on three levels: organizations, supply chains and products.

It includes the generic and international MetaStandard, which incorporates all existing certifications, initiatives and labels in the field of sustainability. The MetaStandard is developed by the ND-Institute (National Sustainability Institute) and independently validated by external certification bodies. On the online GSES Platform, you generate your own organizational ScoreCard on the sustainability dashboard – quantifying your performance in the field of sustainability. The scores are useful to underpin your management decisions on how to meet your sustainability goals, as you can track the impact of specific actions. Organizations can decide to share the outcome in their marketing efforts. For example: one of our members is measuring their aluminium helidecks with the Circular Product Footprint, which is also part of the GSES System.

The GSES is a generic system for every sector or organization, also for the Maritime and Offshore industry! Branch organization IRO is a GSES member and major offshore members, such as Royal IHC, Boskalis, Heerema Marine Contractors, Bayards, IFS, Peterson, 80:20 Procurement Services and Navingo, are using the GSES platform to actively work on their sustainable performance. You can also use the BlueScan self-assessment tool for your procurement process, which is created by a consortium of major maritime companies. With the independent GSES tools you can gain insight into changes and opportunities to activate, accelerate and improve the sustainability awareness in this industry!

We believe:

  • it is time to drastically change to more sustainable business models.
  • across the board, there is a momentum and a willingness to change.
  • nonetheless, the world is acting too slowly to be able to meet the conservative goals of the Paris Accords.
  • change should be driven by WANT and not by MUST: we should inspire a desire to change from within.
  • we strongly believe governments, organizations and citizens are ready for more sustainable choices, but often do not know how.
  • an holistic approach is the only way: we change the world together.
It is our mission:
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  • providing organizations with practical tools to be able to integrate the Social Development Goals into their business practices.
  • to create a new global frame of reference for sustainability.
  • to expand our global sustainability community, involving the unusual suspects.
  • to do so within a short timeframe before the earth is exhausted: our time is now!
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