The Blue Economy’s Future: Embracing the challenge

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Matt Kirk

Our world continues to face various levels of uncertainty, from a global pandemic to an increasingly volatile global economy; yet there is still a common goal for humanity’s future that has never been more clearly defined: a cleaner, low-carbon planet.

For over 170 years, Wood has been unlocking solutions to the world’s most critical challenges.  We are driven by ingenuity and while we may not have all the answers today, we are planning on it for tomorrow! This includes the future of the blue economy, which focuses on the sustainable use of ocean resources for improved livelihoods, economic growth and the health of the ocean’s ecosystem. As a central player in the blue economy, Wood has a responsibility to see it thrive and to ensure it contributes to a successful energy transition.

Innovation, agility and uncompromising determination are some of the attributes that have made the blue economy successful in the past.  These attributes must continue to support and inspire us through the energy transition and into the next chapter. Humanities’ needs compel us to evolve our services and solutions; to inspire not only our people, but also the next generations who will provide diversity and innovation to the industry that makes the world more sustainable.

Wood has been the global leader in subsea solutions for over 40 years and has some of the brightest and experienced subsea engineering experts. As a systems integrator, we use our expertise to solve our client’s biggest challenges with cutting-edge partner technologies. I see our experts design subsea pipelines to transport much needed energy through some of the planet’s harshest environments, and using technology enabled automated design. These pipelines will support the energy transition carrying hydrogen, ammonia and even water in a resource constrained world.  I am proud to see how these women and men are turning their hands to the challenges of energy transition, by developing offshore wind and tidal clean energy solutions.

Countries and businesses are already setting aggressive decarbonisation targets.  Not only is society demanding change, so too are shareholders and investors. A recent study found 49% of the world’s GDP is now covered by net-zero targets.  These carbon targets are morally right and scientifically necessary.  To be honest, I personally do not know how we are going to get there, but what an exciting adventure we have ahead of us!  I see a parallel to the aspiration of putting man on the moon - who would have the audacity to do that! We must dream big, and that is part of the culture at Wood where we are powered by possible.

The blue economy must embrace this global challenge and lead the charge.  Let us turn up the innovation, imagination, and inspiration; re-ignite the entrepreneurial spirit, work with agility and pace to meet these aggressive targets.  We must approach this challenge with the gusto of a team whose life depends on it – because for future generations, it does.

Originally published in the Subsea UK News magazine.

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