Access to new sources of minerals is critical for the green transition. GCE NODE and five GCE NODE companies are part of a Norwegian consortium determined to extract minerals from under the sea.

The five GCE NODE participants with an ambition to take an active role in the marine mineral industry are MHWirth (leading one of the work packages), National Oilwell Varco, Cameron/Schlumberger, Future Production and Loke Marine Minerals. They are all part of the new consortium, headed by TechnipFMC and SINTEF, which recently applied for governmental financing, based on a main objective to enable a low carbon society through marine minerals utilization.

“To meet the global environmental goals set in the Paris Agreement, the demand for metals will increase significantly. Metals are used for batteries, wind and solar power and electrical infrastructure. The growth in demand cannot be covered entirely by onshore mining and recycling. New sources for minerals must be identified, and the best place to look is under water,” says Christian von der Ohe, RD&I Manager at GCE NODE.

The world’s active volcanic spreading ridges host massive sulphides containing especially copper, cobalt and zinc. Most parts are in international waters. However, after Fiji, Norway is the country with economic rights to most of these ridges. Hence, Norway has a great opportunity to develop both a domestic and international market.

“This project will focus on the technological advances needed to develop this market and build upon existing technology and knowledge from the oil and gas industry. A better understanding of all deep-sea mining related environmental aspects in all activities will be key to unlocking this resource,” explains von der Ohe.

Consortium roles range from license holders and experts in offshore resource exploration, to suppliers and service companies with extensive experience from offshore operations in challenging and harsh conditions.

“Answering the consortium’s environmental ambitions, Cameron/Schlumberger and MHWirth will be modifying drilling technology from the oil and gas industry as an alternative to “open pit mining” on the sea floor.

This is a radically new approach to deep-sea mining which could drastically reduce the environmental footprint, while at the same time make deeper mineral resources available. This initiative is matched by NOV, Aker Solutions and Future Production, which address the operational challenges around drilling, mineral production, and the transport of ores,” says von der Ohe.

Partners also include PGS, CGG, Adepth, DeepOcean, SINTEF, the University of Bergen and clusters GCE NODE and GCE Ocean Technology.

As an industry, offshore wind power is currently like a light breeze, but it is expected to reach gale force within a few years.

“Development of the offshore wind sector is rapidly accelerating, and the oil and gas industry plays a big part in this development. There are numerous initiatives and joint ventures that are bound to translate into contracts and jobs in the Agder region,” says Tom Fidjeland, CEO of GCE NODE.

Agder Energi, one of Norway’s largest utilities and recently accepted as a participant in GCE NODE, has joined forces with HitecVision and Italian giant Eni with plans to enter the race for a license to build an offshore wind power farm in the Norwegian North Sea. Another GCE NODE participant, Arendals Fossekompani, is entering the same race in a joint venture with Ferd. A third GCE NODE participant, Norseman Wind, a consortium with among others National Oilwell Varco, Seafront, and OSM has been established for the same purpose.

“This goes to show that the Agder region has ambitions to take part in the growing offshore wind market, and perhaps even more importantly, the floating wind market,” says Fidjeland.

Firenor and Origo Solutions are among the regional companies that recently announced winning contracts in this market.

“A GCE NODE project, funded by Agder County and Sørlandets kompetansefond, concluded that Agder could play a big role in the emerging floating offshore wind industry. The project identified 18 market entries. By transferring competence and technology from the oil and gas industry, we have a unique opportunity to play a big role in a new and everlasting industry. The Agder region is well positioned to capture a huge part of this market,” says Fidjeland.

The GCE NODE project identified a value chain with nine segments and 18 work packages, which illustrate the various floating offshore wind business opportunities for companies in the Agder region. Among these opportunities are installation, service, anchoring, floating structures, decommissioning and more.

“This is a great conceptualization of the potential deliverables from our industry. It will take some time, but when floating offshore wind matures as an industry, it will be huge. At that point, we should have captured a sizeable part of it,” says Fidjeland.

The GCE NODE joint pavilion at OTD Energy is filling up. Eight companies have secured a space, only two more spaces are available with the possibility of adding an additional two spaces.

“OTD Energy is the first major Norwegian post-pandemic conference and exhibition. It seems like we are all eager to return to a more normal state of conducting business. That includes, of course, physical meetings,” says Ann Marchioro, Project Manager at GCE NODE.

The eight companies that will be present at the GCE NODE pavilion in Stavanger on October 20–21 thus far are: Air Products, cDynamics, Engineering Systems, Firenor, Marine Technology, Speo Products, Telaris and Telenor Maritime.

“NODE has a long tradition of arranging joint stands at trade shows that are relevant for cluster companies, primarily ONS in Stavanger and OTC in Houston. Companies participating at NODE’s joint pavilions have consistently reported that exhibiting at a joint stand strengthens their presence and increases business opportunities,” says Marchioro.

The ongoing pandemic has seriously impaired mobility and posed considerable challenges for companies to meet with each other and their customers. GCE NODE considers OTD Energy 2021 to be a prime opportunity to bring the industry together once again.

Furthermore, in addition to new requirements and developments in the oil & gas sector, there are several emerging markets, such as offshore wind, hydrogen and deepsea mining. These emerging markets offer great potential for the Norwegian supplier industry.

and require new technologies, new collaborations, and a home market to capitalize on the potential offered. OTD Energy 2021 will provide a platform for discussing new technology development, new collaborations and how best to leverage the potential of the emerging markets.

We kindly ask that you reserve your space now by responding to Ann Marchioro. Space will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

As part of a close relationship between OTD Energy and GCE NODE, our cluster participants are given a 20 per cent discount to the OTD Digital Energy Conference on October 19. Please contact for more information.