Rune Johnsen, CEO of National Oilwell Varco Norway, is keen to transfer competence and technology from oil and gas to renewables and other ocean-based industries.

Building on competence and technology from the oil and gas industry, National Oilwell Varco develops solutions for ocean-based renewable energy.

“There is a natural transfer of competence from oil and gas to offshore wind. The offshore wind equipment may be lighter and slightly different, and most of it is above water, but this still familiar territory. The ocean space is our home field. We know how to handle tough conditions and tight weather windows. And we have the infrastructure for operating offshore, says Rune Johnsen, CEO of National Oilwell Varco Norway.

NOV defines itself as a supplier to a broader energy sector.

“We power the industry that powers the world. This includes of course the oil and gas industry, in which we have a strong position and a rich history, but it includes so much more. We are already heavily involved in offshore wind, and in other ocean-based industries, such as aquaculture and deep-sea mining,” says Johnsen.

When entering these industries, NOV builds on existing competence and technology.

“Generally speaking, our main challenge is not the technology, but rather understanding the marketplace dynamics, identifying the drivers, and understanding the capital market,” says Johnsen.

Getting to know the entire value chain of offshore wind has proven to be a challenge. Johnsen would like to see more transparency from the established players.

“An industry is at its most efficient when players throughout the value chain come together to work more efficient. This requires transparency so that our engineers can understand the thinking and thus easier identify measures to improve existing practices”, says Johnsen.

Between 50 and 100 people at NOV in Norway are already involved in offshore wind projects at some level. And substantial revenue is generated from the offshore wind sector to which NOV contributes with multiple jack-up vessels with cranes for assembly of turbines.

Another 10 to 20 people at NOV are working on fish farming projects.

“It is still an early phase, and we acknowledge the necessity of taking part in these markets at this stage. It will enable us to be a contender in what will develop into multi-billion-dollar markets,” says Johnsen.

Market analysts expect NOV to generate close to ten per cent of its total revenue from bottom-fixed offshore wind installations.

“This is excluding handling equipment, which will also be a big market for us,” says Johnsen.

He says that NOV is highly motivated by the opportunity to utilize its competence in new industries, to drive advances and innovations to make a difference and to produce more renewable energy.

“Our fascination is in learning new things. Our biggest contribution to the offshore wind sector will probably be the development of solutions that do not exist yet. It could be the start of something big,” says Johnsen.

Diversifying from oil and gas to new renewable industries is good for recruitment, according to Johnsen.

“A new generation wants to be involved in the green transition. They want to develop new technology that enables the green transition. We can provide them with that opportunity,” says Johnsen.