Spotlight Subsea 7: Submerged in the Energy TransitionJune 28, 2021
Subsea 7 works under the water, at all depths, providing engineering, construction, specialty technologies and maintenance for the offshore energy industry from traditional oil rigs to renewable energy. As owner and operator of one of the most advanced fleets of ships and remote-operated underwater vehicles in the world, the firm also holds a reputation as one of the most trusted contractors in the industry. Subsea 7 attributes this to its culture of innovation, which focuses on combining technology, knowledge, assets and partnerships to find new ways to solve problems. Last calendar year offered a unique public view into how this London, UK-based company embraces change. By March 2020, the price of oil had collapsed, dramatically reducing the outlook for global energy due to the global pandemic. As its traditional oil and gas clients began cutting back drastically, Subsea 7’s team changed course quickly and decisively, reducing costs across its legacy business and redirecting resources into the small but growing renewable energy business it had established to build wind farms in the ocean a decade before.
Suddenly the firm found itself responding to unprecedented demand from well-established European clean energy adopters like the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, plus new proposals from Taiwan and South America. While most fixed offshore wind farms continue to be operated by traditional utility companies, last year during the pandemic, several oil majors accelerated plans to cut emissions, setting new targets for renewable power, some investing directly in wind farms, a trend that has Subsea 7 appearing to have made the expansion permanent. Its newest contract is for a wind farm off the coast of Scotland.
In the meantime, the firm has maintained its focus on advancing its specialty technology underwater. This year, it was awarded for its Subsea 7 Nano Engineered Sensor Platform, a breakthrough technology for monitoring offshore sites in the ocean.
The firm’s data analytics arm is at work combining smart sensors in the sea with advanced algorithms to preempt and prevent costly repairs and shutdowns at rigs. A consulting arm remains at work implementing sustainable strategies for traditional energy companies. As for the future, the firm’s “Subsea Field of the Future,” aims to optimize client sites via digitization, automation, and AI. In the lab, R&D teams are developing new solutions for the energy transition, including carbon capture and hydrogen projects.
As of 3/31/21, Subsea 7 was held in the Knowledge Leaders Strategy.