The Oil & Gas Reinvented Community (OGRC), founded about five years ago, wants to connect a wide range of stakeholders related to the oil & gas industry. This Dutch initiative is an example of how the global energy transition can be managed. As a leading member of the Oil & Gas Reinvented Community, René Peters brings people together to develop the innovative business models and breakthrough technologies that our societies require.
Director of Gas Technology, TNO
Currently Dr. René Peters is director of gas technology at TNO in Delft in the Netherlands. TNO is an applied research and technology organisation with over 4,500 highly educated experts operating in the fields of energy, mobility, industrial innovation, information technology, built environment, health, and security. René is responsible for technology development related to gas technology, including LNG, gas transport and storage, unconventional gas, exploration, hydrogen and biogas. Together with Ewald Breunesse of Shell and Jan Prins of Siemens, he initiated the Oil & Gas Reinvented Community.
“During a discussion between Shell, Siemens and TNO – this was about five years ago – we wondered whether there might be a useful role for them to play in the future. We realised that there is a considerable amount of technology in the oil and gas sector that could be used in the energy transition. The idea of using the people, knowledge and investments involved in the offshore industry to play a role in the energy transition was the starting point for the community. As an offshore design and engineering company, GustoMSC is also an active OGRC member.
We initiate actual projects for the energy transition and these projects show that the synergy works. We started the North Sea Energy consortium to look for the potential reuse of oil and gas assets in the North Sea together with a group of companies from the oil and gas and offshore wind sector. The next step is to install a hydrogen plant on an existing oil or gas platform. Using the wind power from a neighbouring wind farm, this plant will produce hydrogen, which is a more efficient way of transporting wind power to shore. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy gave the green light – and the necessary funding – for this plan at the end of last year.
We look at CO2 transport and storage, platform electrification and hydrogen production. This is where we see the tremendous advantages of working together. If we use the drilling platforms for the production of hydrogen and then transport it via the existing pipelines – something that is fairly easy to do – it will be a lot cheaper than building a large-capacity electricity infrastructure, in particular for far offshore wind parks.
Oil and gas will continue to be important after the energy transition, for example as a feedstock for plastic products, for medical products and the chemical sector. But oil and gas should be produced in the most climate-neutral means, for example by using offshore wind power for the offshore operations. OGRC is looking into the smartest combinations between renewable energy and oil and gas. The oil and gas industry has acquired a vast amount of expertise that is also important for the energy transition. Take geothermal energy – the oil and gas companies have extensive knowledge of safe drilling and what goes on underground. Perhaps old wells can generate geothermal energy if we drill deeper.
More and more foreign players, both governments and companies, are interested in our approach. For example, people from Germany, Belgium and Great Britain are coming on board. They have been looking at the way in which we bring groups together and stimulate collaboration. It is a typically Dutch thing to join forces with others and to take advantage of the opportunities that come up.
By using these assets in a smart way, we can get the most out of the energy transition and control the costs to society. Instead of thinking in terms of expensive and complicated, think in terms of opportunities and possibilities, because the transition can also be a profit model. If you make smart use of the combination of traditional and new forms of energy during that period, you will have minimised the social costs and made maximum use of your investments, your assets and your people from the oil and gas sector, and everyone benefits. It is a win-win for everyone.”