Initiatives from the industry

IRO, The Association of Dutch Suppliers in the Oil and Gas Industry and Offshore Renewable Industry, has several committees that enable member companies operating with a specific sector to exchange experience and expertise and to gather information.

1. Oil & Gas (Energy transition, Decommissioning, CCS)
2. Renewables (Offshore Wind, Marine & tidal energy, Geothermia)
3. Innovation & Technology (Digitalisation, Cyber)
4. Sustainability & Safety (Corporate responsibility, Circular economy, Young IRO)
5.(Inter)national relations & communications

Organising promotional activities, lobbying and joint promotion are important activities of the committees. IRO embraces many initiatives that are aimed at creating a sustainable and responsible industry. Our Oceans Challenge, Nexstep, Wind & Water Works, the North Sea Energy Program (TNO) and the Offshore Experience (Maritime Museum Rotterdam) are a few examples of these interesting initiatives which are highlighted below.



Our Oceans Challenge

Looking back at 2017 it might have been a transitional year. Sustainability has gained a prominent place on the agenda of the offshore and maritime industry and new innovations are climbing the charts. 2017 also presented us with a rather complex puzzle. ‘Changing’ the mindset towards a sustainable future in the well run maritime and offshore industry at a global market is an immense task. A task that can only be done with a clear strategy and a strong network.

When the Our Oceans Challenge 2016 challenges were defined - noise mitigation, waste management, sustainable legacy, big data and ocean resources - we couldn’t have guessed the broad variety of ideas we were to receive. The network expanded rapidly in a few months and it was exactly the sort of chain of partners with the ability to fuel and adopt innovation. Within 8 months after announcing the second cycle of Our Oceans Challenge, the finals were held at the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam. More than 150 ideas were posted at the online platform, discussed and improved amongst the collaborating organizations and the public. They resulted in fifteen live pitches in June 2017. From designing biodegradable electronics to combining renewable energy sources and from a market place for industrial waste to bubbling for plastics, the pitches all inspired to move towards a more sustainable industry. Wave parasite was the jury’s favorite and the Great Bubble Barrier the public’s one.
Our Oceans Challenge Left: Jury’s winner: Wave parasite. Right: Public’s winner: Great bubble barrier.(Photographs: Marco de Swart)
So where does that leave us now? After winning the Outreach Award at the offshore gala in October 2017, with the great support of our partners, we have started to prepare for the 2018/2019 cycle. The five challenges of 2016 are still very up to date. However we are very open for discussion to choose the topics that should be addressed in the next cycle. We prefer to do that together with you, as partner and as individual contributor! The offshore industry faces an interesting future and needs a great dose of innovation and new working methods. Our Oceans Challenge is happy to start the third cycle and can only do so with a great network.

Through open innovation participants can share and contribute creative solutions and connect the industry with knowledge centers, entrepreneurs and other sustainability initiatives. Our goal is to gather as many ideas and enrichments as possible. The most promising ideas will be further developed by the offshore industry into real, tangible business ready solutions that will contribute to our sustainability goals. Are you interested in joining an ever growing network of industry, knowledge centers and entrepreneurs and willing to contribute to a sustainable offshore industry for near zero marginal costs?

Have a look at for more information. Together we will make a difference





Nexstep, National Platform for Re-use & Decommissioning, is the joint initiative of the Dutch state, represented by EBN, and the Dutch oil and gas industry, represented by NOGEPA, with the clear ambition to contribute to the safe and environmental friendly re-use and decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure in the Netherlands.

Nexstep will stimulate and facilitate the Dutch agenda for re-use and decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure with the aim to have zero safety incidents, create minimum environmental impact and realize cost reductions through efficiency. Nexstep, National Platform for Re-use & Decommissioning was established following recommendations made in the Netherlands Masterplan for Decommissioning & Re-use in November 2016.

This Masterplan was set-up by EBN, NOGEPA and IRO, respectively representing the state, the oil and gas operators, and the service industry. With the foreseen decline of hydrocarbon production in the future, the oil and gas infrastructure will become available for other uses. The energy transition presents an opportunity to re-use existing elements to complement renewable investments before the eventual safe and efficient decommissioning.

Nexstep is a membership-based organisation which aims to stimulate and facilitate collaboration amongst key stakeholders. It will develop and drive a dedicated innovation agenda; promote effective regulation and encourage knowledge transfer both nationally and internationally. Core members are EBN and the oil and gas operators organised under NOGEPA, with the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Nexstep wants to serve as an inclusive and collaborative umbrella organization that coordinates, facilitates and seeks dialogue on the re-use and decommissioning agenda for oil and gas infrastructure in the Netherlands. It strives for zero safety incidents and minimizing the costs and impact that decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure has on the environment.

As the public face of re-use and decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure in the Netherlands, Nexstep will inform and engage with stakeholders and the general public about its work. It will promote transparency about re-use and decommissioning including its scope in the Netherlands. A dedicated innovation agenda will identify new challenges and promote technology development where it is needed.

Nexstep will also encourage industry collaboration, sharing of lessons learned and engagement with international partner organizations involved in the coordination of re-use and decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure.

More information at



Wind & Water Works

All around the world countries are in transition working to ensure that their energy supplies come from cleaner, more sustainable sources. So are the Netherlands. During this transition, we discovered the enormous potential of offshore wind energy. We would like to share the strength of the Netherlands with other parties and governments abroad.

To do this, the government, industry and trade associations and knowledge institutions developed a joint campaign, Wind & Water Works. A campaign with which we can show in a powerful sense that more profit can be achieved with offshore wind energy than you might think. That the combination of wind and water can really work.
Wind & Water Works On Wednesday 29 November 2017 Alderman Edwin Krijns of the Municipality of Den Helder handed the first copies of the magazine to representatives of the international and national wind industry, namely Ivor Cato and Giles Dickson from WindEurope, Hans Timmers from the Netherlands Wind Energy Association (NWEA) and Arjen Schutten from Holland Home of Wind Energy (HHWE).
The key to success?
A complete, integrated approach. Dutch public and private parties teamed up to design, develop, build and maintain top-quality wind farms. Together they proved wind to be a powerful solution. Because they realized there is more to building high-quality wind farms at sea than just manufacturing wind turbines. It requires technical innovation across the whole supply chain. Such as careful preparation of the seabed, the ability to transport large foundations and wind turbines to an offshore site and to install them under challenging conditions. But also the laying of power cables and other offshore grid-connection and electricity-transmission infrastructure. And the adjustment of the onshore high voltage grid to transport the electricity yield to load centres on land. Effective operations and maintenance procedures are required to ensure that every wind farm has a long, sustainable future. It requires dedicated teamwork, collaboration, and innovation across the board.

This integration has its origins in our history. The Dutch have centuries of experience in working offshore: not only did we turn water into land, we also created the Delta Works and are leaders in the offshore gas and oil industry. The world’s best dredging companies, shipbuilders, steel and equipment constructors have their origins in the Netherlands, as do other parties in the supply chain - soil investigators, technical consultants, engineers and more.

For over a century, these Dutch companies have been working together on offshore projects across the world. They are therefore well acquainted with each other and with foreign cultures, procedures and laws. Collaborating with other countries is second nature to them. We are familiar with the specific conditions above and below sea level and have used that knowledge to create a successful Dutch offshore wind energy supply chain. In this chain, small and large companies work with our world-leading knowledge institutions to constantly develop innovative solutions for offshore wind farms. The Dutch government is a driving force in this chain by de-risking investments in offshore wind farms. The government allocates specific areas for wind farm development, takes care of project permits, conducts all the necessary site investigations; and TenneT, the state transmission system operator, takes care of the grid connection and transmission infrastructure. This makes Dutch offshore wind projects attractive to investors, whilst being proven to minimize the overall costs to the Dutch economy. We are keen to share our experience and knowledge with others across the world. With countries that want to expand their horizons.

Countries that want to secure a long-term sustainable supply of electricity. Countries that want to benefit from the positive economic impact of offshore wind energy, just as we have. With these countries, we would like to team up and explore the best ways for them to develop offshore wind energy. Together, we can find the right solutions: let’s work together to utilise the full potential of offshore wind energy.

As part of the campaign the Magazine ‘Hollandse Kust – Where Wind & Water Works’ was launched and presented during the exhibition WindEurope on 29 November 2017. The publication is intended to allow international parties involved in offshore wind tenders to gain insight into the efficient infrastructure and the existing cooperating supply chain in the Netherlands and how to use them in the preparation, construction, installation and maintenance of offshore wind parks.

Wind & Water Works is an initiative of branch organizations NWEA, HHWE, IRO, TKI-WoZ, NMT, the companies Siemens, Van Oord, TenneT, Boskalis and SIF and the Ministries of Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. More information can be requested at IRO (Tjerk Suurenbroek, or other above mentioned organizations or online.



North Sea Energy Program

North Sea Energy Program Over the last 50 years an extensive network of pipelines, platforms and subsea installations has been developed in the North Sea to produce oil and gas from offshore fields. Currently, production is in decline and preparations are made to start decommissioning. This includes removal of existing infrastructure for oil and gas production.

At the same time a new infrastructure is being developed to produce renewable energy, mostly from offshore wind. This includes an offshore electric grid and transformer stations. Innovations are under development to enable reuse of existing infrastructure for oil and gas for future use in energy storage and power balancing offshore. Old infrastructure can be used for energy or CO2 storage (depleted fields), energy conversion with Power to Gas or Gas to Wire (platforms) or energy transport (Hydrogen). The North Sea Energy Program started in May 2017 to accelerate the energy transition on the North Sea. This program is supported by Top Sector Energy and has around twenty participants from industry, sector organizations, research institutions and social organizations (NGOs). The program envisages a lead time of several years, but currently has a year of funding and a volume of more than 1 million euros. The program is led by the independent technology organization TNO.

Why system integration in the North Sea?
With the depletion of Dutch gas stocks, fossil energy production will slowly but surely diminish in the coming decades and sustainable energy will experience a growth spurt. These macro trends are accompanied by large investments. For the time being a reserve of € 7 billion has been included for the clearance of Dutch oil and gas wells and infrastructure; more than half (55%) is needed for the part at sea. Building an offshore electricity grid for wind farms and later possibly other energy sources requires billions of investments from industry and society. Linking offshore sectors and, in particular, smartly sharing their physical or logistic infrastructure may lead to cost reductions at system level.

Platform electrification
The energy of production platforms is now generated with gas turbines and diesel engines, which produce CO2, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxides. By using the sustainably generated energy from the wind turbines at sea, these emissions can be reduced offshore to a zero point and energy is saved at system level.

Gas to wire
From almost empty gas fields you can also generate electricity directly on the platforms, this is called Gas to Wire. Gas to Wire can possibly be combined with CO2 capture and storage (CCS) such that offshore electricity is ‘extracted’ from natural gas with a very low CO2 footprint. The electricity can be transported to land via the unused capacity of the offshore grid, so that it can be used more efficiently.

Power to Gas
Power to Gas offers the possibility to convert (surplus) wind energy into an energy carrier that can be transported via a gas network. The advantage is that gas can be transported in large volumes more easily and cost efficiently by using the current gas network. Storage is also possible and the produced gas, preferably hydrogen, can be used as a feedstock for, for example, the chemical industry.

Energy storage
The offshore infrastructure (pipelines, gas fields, platforms) can be used for the conversion and storage of energy produced by the wind farms. This makes it possible to feed large quantities of variable sustainable sources such as wind into the energy system without requiring very heavy grid adaptations. The added value of these options will be determined in terms of economy, reduction of CO2 emissions and acceleration of the energy transition. For example, the preliminary estimate is that more than one million tons of CO2 emissions can be saved annually if offshore gas and offshore wind energy connect their infrastructure and exchange electricity.

More information on the North Sea Energy Program at or René Peters,



Offshore Experience breaks records

The Offshore Experience in the Maritime Museum Rotterdam broke every record last year. The exhibition, which is realized with the financial support and knowledge of 56 partners from the offshore and maritime industry, attracted more than 200,000 visitors since the opening in December 2016 and won several awards and nominations.

Visitors can experience what it is like at sea
The Offshore Experience is the first ever exhibition in the Netherlands dedicated to the offshore sector, to be housed at the Maritime Museum for the next seven years. People of all ages embark on a challenging search at sea for energy. Wearing a safety vest and helmet, they will experience what it is like to be on an offshore construction in the middle of the sea and 3 km below sea level. A 360° film projection stimulates the senses. Ships come and go and helicopters land. Models of the newest and most advanced offshore ships will demonstrate their capabilities. Offshore employees will offer a glimpse into their lives at sea, and simulated presentations will enable visitors to experience for themselves how drillers, crane drivers, wind turbine specialists and helicopter pilots undertake their demanding tasks on the open sea, in a constant battle with the elements. An elevator takes visitors down to a mysterious undersea world, from just below the surface to a depth of 3 km. The adventure ends in the future, as visitors vote for the best sustainable idea for producing energy at sea.

Awards & nominations
Not only the public at large appreciates the exhibition highly, it also stands out among industry colleagues. Last year The Offshore Experience was nominated for the Children in Museums Award, the World Interiors News Awards and the Museum & Heritage Award and won the Offshore Energy Public Outreach Award, the bronze European Design Award and the silver Sponsorring. One of the jury comments: “Fully immersive, compact, engaging, informative and fun. The mission to educate on the offshore industry has, very successfully, been achieved through well-considered, interactive components that appeal to both children and adults. It’s a four-dimensional experience.”

Doing business in cultural setting
The cooperation with the maritime industry takes the Maritime Museum back to its roots. After all, the museum is founded 150 years ago by entrepreneurs who wanted to show their business. The next coming years the museum wants, even stronger than before, to become the ‘house of the maritime industry’ where history is written by the entrepreneurs of today. They tell stories, collect, do research and offer companies a ‘house’ for presentations, meetings, diners and debates. Last year the museum hosted already several IRO meetings and events of IRO members.

Inspiration for a future in technics
The Offshore Experience can also be programmed as an educational location for primary, secondary and vocational education. The program consists of a visit to the Offshore Experience and can be combined with a design workshop from Mad Science and a ‘flash-internship’ at companies in the maritime and offshore industry. Companies that are interested to receive students for 2 mornings a year or in organizing an event (business or public) can contact Relations manager Lucie Kuijpers,

For more information on the Offshore Experience go to



Corporate responsibility: Fake news? Or not? how IRO members can make a sustainable impact

Corporate Responsibility
As a result of an IRO meeting organized in May 2016 regarding Corporate Responsibility (CR), several IRO members indicated their serious interest in this subject. Questions were raised whether IRO could facilitate a first initiative to investigate the interest for this subject among its members.

Since then an IRO workgroup of 8 enthusiastic and CR engaged people have been meeting regularly about this topic. Corporate Responsibility is a term that is widely applicable to many different subjects that your company is confronted with. Whether you are looking at fair trade, your CO2 footprint, sustainability, the energy transition, full circularity, sustainable employability, it all falls under the umbrella of Corporate Social Responsibility. Nowadays also known as CR. CR policy aims towards a set of ethical norms and values that you apply onto your own organisation. Creating an optimum between people, planet and prosperity.

Recently the UN launched their 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). These are built on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success in one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another. CR is and will be a vital element in our society and certainly in our industry - both economical as ideological. For that reason the IRO CR workgroup senses an urgency to address this matter and can add value by focusing on specific goals. The workgroup - consisting of representatives of Damen, Van Oord, 80:20 Procurement, Van Beest, Merford, Fugro, Heerema and IRO – wants to support and stimulate the industry in adopting and executing CR related issues. Making CR easy accessible for the IRO members.

“A good and honest CR policy will attract new business partners and young capital and will help building our industry of tomorrow”.

The workgroup launched its first event on 12 April 2018, with the following subjects on the agenda:

- CO2 footprint / energy management
- Sustainable employment
- Waste management
- Sustainable innovation
- Sustainable procurement

More information at and