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Offshore oil, gas and renewable industries join forces to launch digital and data taskforce

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21 September 2021

A new offshore energy taskforce is set to launch on Tuesday 21st September, aiming to create a Digital & Data Strategy spanning oil, gas and renewables.

The Offshore Energy Digital and Data Strategy taskforce is being launched by the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC), OGUK, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA). It will be run by  Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) and Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

The Taskforce will bring together a range of participants – including The Crown Estate (TCE), Crown Estates Scotland (CES), the Technology Leadership Board (TLB) and Renewable UK (RUK) – to encourage a modern, digitalised and integrated sector.

With a UK target of achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, there are significant obligations on the offshore energy sector to accelerate the deployment of alternative energy vectors, such as Hydrogen and Offshore Wind, as well as Carbon Capture and Storage technologies. At the same time, the sector is continuing to reduce emissions across all existing manufacturing, construction, operational and decommissioning endeavours.

"With that challenge in mind, digital and data are the biggest enablers of efforts to decarbonise the UK energy system and the offshore energy sector recognises the need to grasp the opportunity with both hands,” said Simon Pearson, Digital Business Leader at Energy Systems Catapult.

"The Taskforce will aim to develop an Offshore Energy Digital & Data Strategy with a clear set of recommendations and an action plan. This will facilitate greater digital collaboration, innovation and market development in offshore energy through improving data availability and transparency and help unlock new opportunities across the offshore energy sector.”

Stephen Ashley, Head of Offshore Energy 4.0, NZTC said: "Reimagining the offshore energy sector as one integrated energy system will be essential for the UK and Scotland to achieve their net zero ambitions. Innovation, collaboration and the application of digital technologies enabled by data will be absolutely key to realising these ambitions and will require a collaborative effort across the sector. 

"At the Net Zero Technology Centre we are committed to delivering an affordable net zero and see the significant value that the Offshore Energy Digital and Data Strategy Taskforce will bring in achieving this goal."

Nic Granger, Director of Corporate, Oil and Gas Authority said: "I am pleased to chair the Offshore Energy Digital and Data Strategy taskforce.  Data is a critical asset and digital solutions powered by quality data will enable us all to understand the wider energy system.  Data will unlock the potential for energy transition projects and support a more environmentally sustainable oil and gas industry. 

"The OGA is pleased to be supporting this work by Energy Systems Catapult and partners as we ensure the digital solutions and data across the offshore energy sector are integrated to support us in the transition to net zero.

Annie Breaden, Head of Policy, Crown Estate Scotland said: "The creation of this taskforce is an important step in ensuring the different technologies and sectors involved can work together to establish data strategies that adequately support their development.

"We therefore welcome this collaborative project, and look forward to it finding new ways to support offshore energy’s contribution to achieving our Net Zero targets.”

Yonna Vitanova, Senior Policy Analyst, RenewableUK, said:

"Renewable energy is taking us further and faster towards net zero emissions than anyone expected. Integrating a wide variety of clean energy sources and maximising the benefits they offer will speed up the transition to a more dynamic system.

"Improving the digital landscape with an Offshore Energy Digital & Data Strategy will help identify the actions which are needed in order to get to net zero as efficiently as possible.”

Olivia Thomas, Head of Marine Planning, The Crown Estate said: 

"The UK’s marine environment has a critical role to play in delivering net zero. Building new data and digital capabilities will be a vital part of realising this potential - helping to unlock the pathway and investment required to get us to 2050.   

 "At The Crown Estate, we are committed to continue investing in data, analysis and evidence to help support future seabed leasing and accelerate sustainable development and we look forward to working with the taskforce and its members in support of this goal”

The Taskforce will consider the key themes developed in the influential Energy Data Taskforce that was run by ESC during 2019, drawing on input from over 300 people across the whole energy system, including:

  • Data Visibility
  • Infrastructure and Assets Visibility
  • Operation Optimisation
  • Market Opportunities
  • Regulatory considerations, and the specifics of how these apply to the Offshore energy sector.

ESC will host a launch webinar on Tuesday 21st September 2021, that will cover:

  • An introduction of The Taskforce project team and other key stakeholders
  • Details of the approach to developing the Offshore Energy Digital and Data Strategy
  • Application of the Energy Data Taskforce recommendations to the offshore energy sector
  • Opportunities to provide input or ask any initial questions that you may have to a select panel of key industry stakeholders