One of the key findings of the recent annual hydrographic industry survey conducted by Hydro International is the boom in renewable energy as the indisputable driving force behind a growing need for hydrographic surveyors. To come straight to the point: the energy transition will require a lot more survey activities, in particular for offshore wind farms.
The transition towards a low-emission economy is widely considered as an important growth area for the hydrographic industry. For our survey, we made a distinction between ‘traditional’ renewables – wind farms – and upcoming renewables, such as tidal and wave energy. 15.7% of the respondents indicated that they regard wind farms as their number one growth area, whereas 10.8% consider tidal and wave energy to be a key opportunity. One survey participant said that the uptake of renewable energy sources offshore should improve prospects for major offshore projects. Many respondents also mentioned how governments across the globe are putting a strong emphasis on investments in the blue economy. One of the respondents noted a downturn in oil and gas exploration, but that this is being replaced by a strong increase in wind farm and cable route surveys.
Offshore Oil and Gas
With renewables so prominent in the spotlight, we could be tempted to lose sight of the importance of the oil and gas industry to the hydrographic surveying profession. However, they always have had and still have a harmonious relationship, as reflected by the outcome of the question concerning in which domains of hydrography our respondents work; 34.3% indicated that they work in the oil and gas industry. Although the share of fossil energy in the hydrographic sector may decline over the decades to come, it will still be a vital component for the years ahead. One of the comments can be summarized as follows: the survey demand for oil and gas will also increase due to sustainable prices above US$60 per barrel. Another respondent expects an increase in demand for oil and gas as a result of the post-COVID economic recovery.
For the full version of ‘Hydrography: Growth Prospects on the Horizon’, our report on the key findings of the annual industry survey, please see here.