By Anne-Grete Ellingsen, CEO of GCE NODE
The ocean has provided Norwegians with an opportunity to feed ourselves and others. It has made us seafarers. Curious as to what is on the other side, we have become explorers, discoverers and traders. And especially in the south and west, the international focus is predominant. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Agder is Norway’s top export region for high-tech products and services.
For the last 50 years, following the discovery of oil and gas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, we have explored subsea solutions and continuously developed new technology to extract massive volumes of oil and gas from great depths.
Along the way, we have learnt how to build robust structures and equipment, how to deal with corrosion, how to tackle extreme weather conditions, how to operate safely and effectively far away from land. We have developed safer and more environmentally friendly technological solutions that can endure in some of the toughest environments at sea.
It is this competence we build on, as the ocean becomes increasingly important. Competence and technology from the oil and gas industry is, in fact, a prerequisite for our continued success in ocean industries, such as offshore wind, aquaculture and subsea mining.
GCE NODE’s strategy is well aligned with this development. Since 2014, NODE has worked to 1) increase competitiveness in existing markets, which is mostly related to the digital transformation of the oil and gas industry, and 2) to extend existing technology and competence into new markets. The second part of the strategy recognizes the fact that our love for – and our knowledge of – the ocean gives us a competitive edge in new ocean industries.
Cross-over effects are easy to spot. Several GCE NODE companies have already contributed with mooring and SCADA systems to Equinor’s floating wind farm outside Scotland. Heave compensated gangways, cranes and hoses are other oil and gas innovations that have successfully migrated to new ocean markets.
GCE NODE participates in several ocean research projects, such as Periscope, which is a large EU funded project designed to strengthen innovation and international cooperation on blue growth. We are well situated and will continue to develop our relationship with the ocean, in order to maintain a leading global position in ocean technologies, and an important region for export of ocean technology and solutions.