Sampling from sulphide deposit at 3,500 meters water depth in the Norwegian Sea. Photo: The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

Marine minerals could create 21,000 jobs and a 20 billion dollars market for Norway in the next decades.

That is the most optimistic estimate in a new Rystad Energy report on excavation of offshore minerals on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

“We are looking to provide minerals for the green transition by utilizing the technology and competence from the Norwegian oil and gas industry,” says Anniken Hauglie, CEO of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association.

A successful transition to the low-carbon society depends upon the availability of certain minerals, such as copper, cobalt, zinc and several rare earth minerals. Without these minerals, the transition from molecules to electrons – that is from fossil fuels to renewable energy – will come to a halt.

“The onshore deposits of these minerals will be exhausted at some point, which is why we need to turn our attention to offshore deposits. Norway is likely to have viable resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, but this remains to be further explored,” says Lars Eirik Nicolaisen, Senior Partner at Rystad Energy.

His report shows that Norway can draw on 50 years of experience from the oil and gas industry.

“The transfer of knowledge from oil and gas to marine minerals is extensive in areas such as exploration, subsea, topside, drilling, and competence on corrosion and harsh weather. We already know how to operate and make a profit in the ocean space. And we are likely to find the resources on the NCS which will enable us to build a profitable and important industry for the transition to a low-carbon society,” says Nicolaisen.

Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, received the report with great interest.

“We are moving fast to open areas for exploration. We are eager so accommodate risk capital, private companies and smart entrepreneurs willing to create new jobs within the field of marine minerals,” says Bru.

The Rystad report was commissioned by GCE NODE, GCE Ocean Technology, Blue Maritime Cluster, The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, Aker, Loke Marine Minerals and The Norwegian Forum for Marine Minerals.

“We see a great potential for GCE NODE companies to take part in this industry. We have the competence and technology necessary to succeed in this market,” says Tom Fidjeland, CEO of GCE NODE.