Leadership in Scotland's Booming Offshore Wind Industry
Firm base for business - FoundOcean expands and demonstrates impressive growth
Scotland has developed as a global hub of innovation, investment and expertise in both offshore renewables and oil & gas sectors. The renewables sector, particularly offshore wind, is a key market for FoundOcean, a Scottish-based company with over 45 years’ experience in offshore grouting and subsea services for offshore energy construction clients.
The company has recently experienced record turnover and growth. Revenue has grown by 100% over the last two years and FoundOcean has made the transition from 40 people in 2009 to 100 and beyond. In March 2012, Fergus Ewing, Scottish Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism officially, opened FoundOcean's newly refurbished offices and workshop at the Offshore Service Base in Livingston, Scotland. The event was attended not only by clients and suppliers but also by industry stakeholders such as RenewableUK's CEO Maria McCaffery.
The expansion of the Livingston Offshore Service Base has improved the company’s capacity to manage multiple offshore projects simultaneously; it also means the company is able to recruit staff from the Scottish Central Belt’s wealth of talented engineers, mechanics, welders, offshore personnel and other skilled craftsmen.
In June it was announced that FoundOcean had received €10m investment from Ambienta SGR, Europe’s largest private equity fund focused on the environmental sector. The injection of capital has enabled the company to commission more of its unique mixing spreads in order to meet the anticipated demands over the coming months. All this is helping establish the company's world leading position as the preferred offshore grouting specialist.
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FoundOcean has an established track record of offshore and subsea grouting services for energy construction firms. It is one of a handful of companies using its oil and gas knowledge to expand into the high growth offshore wind sector. This year will see its European offshore wind revenues overtake those from the global oil and gas sector for the first time.
Speaking to Business Report, MD Jim Bell commented: “Our experience in the oil and gas sector has put us in good stead for offshore renewables installations. Technical differences in grouting do exist between the two industries, but time after time, clients tell us that offshore experience and company reputation are important factors when awarding contracts.”
Aker Solutions’ Matt Corbin got it right when he was quoted in The Press and Journal Energy earlier this year saying, “Typically this industry is reactive – companies get work and then catch up to deliver it. We want to change our culture so we already have the people and resources we need to deliver the work we are going for.”
FoundOcean already has the largest fleet of grout mixing equipment and personnel in the offshore construction market. It has clear, ambitious plans and is taking positive steps to ensure the company has the resources ready to mobilise for the projects for which they are bidding.
“We’re in the midst of a busy and exciting period,” said Bell. “Our clients demand safe, swift and successful grouting operations, and rightly so. The company’s success relies on the dedication, skill and long-term commitment of our personnel, and we’re always on the lookout for talented people to join this team.”
Approximately 4,000 new fixed structures are due to be installed in northern European waters over the next five years. This is mainly due to the increased activity associated with Round 3 offshore wind projects.
It is companies like these that are investing in scalable and sustainable growth to ensure there are enough skilled workers to complete the torrent of upcoming offshore projects in both renewables and the oil and gas sector.
This also means that when they bid for projects, they can absolutely deliver. In recent feedback surveys, all of FoundOcean’s clients stated that reliability and financial stability were both either important or vital when choosing which subcontractor to award a contract to. Growing the company in a controlled and sustainable manner is crucial, and reassures clients that your business is ready when the next project is due to mobilise.
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere