While the outlook for the traditional oilfield service market is weakening, suppliers to the wider energy market are seeing a corresponding growth in new sectors. Carbon capture and storage, wind, solar, geothermal, batteries, hydrogen and marine minerals are all opening up exciting new frontiers for the service industry.
As governments launch post-pandemic green stimulus packages, the number of proposed green hydrogen projects is surging across the globe. Research conducted by Rystad Energy suggests that the global pipeline of utility-scale green hydrogen electrolyzer developments (projects with capacity greater than 1 megawatt), now exceeds 60 gigawatts (GW), with 87% of the capacity coming from gigawatt-scale installations. From 2020 to 2023, 18 green hydrogen projects are expected to start per year. Blue hydrogen projects are also growing in popularity, with several mega-projects being discussed at present. Carbon capture and storage would be a big enabler for these projects by creating low-carbon hydrogen infrastructure, which in Europe alone would be a $35 billion market by 2035. As much as $400 billion worth of investments would need to be deployed into the hydrogen market to realize the desired output. About half of this spending, or $200 billion, would go into the engineering and construction sector to develop the electrolyzers and related facilities, while 40% would be spent on developing hydrogen infrastructure including pipelines and storage.
Marine minerals are gaining attention as the global mineral demand increases and the offshore oil and gas industry explores expanding into greener markets. With an increase in electric vehicles, wind farms, solar projects and growing power grids, Rystad Energy expects that the marine mineral industry could be worth $10 billion to $40 billion by 2035. For the offshore supplier industry, marine minerals exploration and excavation could be a significant growth market. Offshore mining would require seismic and geoscience services in the exploration phase and investments of around $1 billion in excavation facilities. A typical development solution for deeper-water marine minerals would comprise of a floating excavation unit, similar to an FPSO, to host the equipment and store minerals, combined with a subsea excavator unit to break up the minerals and bring it up to deck.