Let’s harness oil and gas know-how to scale the energy transition

Cipher is proud to make our journalism free for all to read and republish. Unless otherwise noted, you may republish our articles for free as long as you abide by our Creative Commons license and the following terms: 

  • Credit Cipher and any co-reporting partners. In the byline, we prefer “Author Name, Publication(s).” At the top of the text of your story, include a line that reads: “This story was originally published by Cipher.” You must link the word “Cipher” to the original URL of the story.
  • If you’re republishing online, you must link to the URL of this story on ciphernews.com, include all of the links from our story and use our PixelPing tag.
  • If you use canonical metadata, please use the Cipher URL. For more information about canonical metadata, refer to this Google SEO link.
  • You can’t edit our material, except to reflect relative changes in time, location and editorial style. (For example, “yesterday” can be changed to “last week,” and “Portland, Ore.” to “Portland” or “here.”
  • For questions or help, please email news@ciphernews.com with the subject line: “Republishing.”
<header><h1>Let’s harness oil and gas know-how to scale the energy transition</h1><a href="/guest-author/" rel="author"></a><span class="title">Guest Author</span><time rel="pubdate" datetime="2023-11-22T00:00:00-05:00">Nov 22, 2023</time></header><p><span data-contrast="auto">When facing a new challenge, I often find myself thinking back to a helicopter ride I took to an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico some 25 years ago. </span><span data-ccp-props="{}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">After a 45-minute flight from coastal Louisiana, I spotted the massive construction ship that would be my home for the next several weeks. I was there to help prepare the installation of a state-of-the-art offshore production platform in water 4,000 feet deep, an engineering undertaking rivaling that of building a spaceship. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">My role was to coordinate the assembly of the sixteen 4,000-foot-long tendons made from large diameter pipes and state-of-the-art connectors that would moor the platform to the seafloor. As a supervising engineer, I was one of only two women among the more than 200 professionals on board the construction vessel.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">Years and months of dedicated technology development and multidisciplinary engineering work had led to this moment, when we successfully built what was at the time one of the deepest oil and gas production platforms in the world. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">After my helicopter ride back to shore, I went onto many other engineering and business roles in the oil and gas industry. I learned technical excellence, disciplined engineering, risk management and stakeholder engagement are paramount to achieving commercial success in new technology ventures, especially those that require building new manufacturing plants and infrastructure. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">Now, after 30 years in oil and gas, I’m putting that knowledge to work advising climate tech startups. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">As a business fellow at Breakthrough Energy, I’ve spent the past year collaborating with a group of highly motivated startup CEOs and teams operating in the green steel, CO2 conversion chemicals and floating offshore wind sectors. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">Throughout this experience, I&#8217;ve come to appreciate the immense significance of my background in energy industry fundamentals, expertise in technology deployment and hands-on knowledge of complex capital projects gained from my previous work in the oil and gas sector. These skills are essential in successfully moving clean technologies from the laboratory to the market.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">Offshore floating wind technologies provide a perfect example of how oil and gas know-how can be applied to clean technologies. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">Offshore wind in the United States is projected to generate over 30 gigawatts (GW) of power, enough to power about 10 million homes, by 2030. To achieve this ambitious goal, successful installation of large-scale wind farms in deeper water offshore is essential. Each state-of-the-art turbine reaches 850 feet above the sea surface (nearly three times the height of the Statue of Liberty), with blades 380 feet long. The size of the floating foundation for each high-capacity wind turbine is similar to that of a deep-water oil and gas production platform. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">In oil and gas deep water operations, each new field needs just one production platform. A 1 GW commercial wind farm requires 60 to 70 floating foundations to be fabricated, assembled, transported and installed. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">To address these challenges, </span><span data-contrast="none">Aikido Technologies,</span><span data-contrast="auto"> a floating wind startup company I’m advising, is spearheading disruptive “self-erecting” floating wind platforms </span><span data-contrast="auto">aimed at streamlining the manufacturing, assembly and installation of floating wind foundations to build out wind farms quickly at low cost.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">Leveraging my experiences and network in the offshore sector, I am working with the team to craft business models, refine value propositions, assess the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Installation (EPCI, in offshore lingo) landscape and establish a supply chain strategy. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:120,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">Drawing upon my energy sector engineering and business expertise, I am poised to play a pivotal role in the scaling up and commercialization of climate technology. I hope my fellow colleagues from the oil and gas industry will join me on this journey. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><span data-contrast="auto">Indeed, I’m facing a new challenge today — we all are — building out the technologies we need to tackle climate change. Hopefully, in a few years’ time, I’ll be able to ponder that challenge while taking a helicopter out to a new offshore wind farm.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p><p><i><span data-contrast="none">Editor’s note: Jane Zhang is a participant in the Fellows Program at Breakthrough Energy, which also supports Cipher. </span></i><span data-contrast="none"> </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559740&quot;:276}"> </span></p>
Let’s harness oil and gas know-how to scale the energy transition

by - Guest Author
November 22, 2023
When facing a new challenge, I often find myself thinking back to a helicopter ride I took to an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico some 25 years ago.   After a 45-minute flight from coastal Louisiana, I spotted the massive construction ship that would be my home for the next several weeks. I was there to help prepare the installation of a state-of-the-art offshore production platform in water 4,000 feet deep, an engineering undertaking rivaling that of building a spaceship.   My role was to coordinate the assembly of the sixteen 4,000-foot-long tendons made from large diameter pipes and state-of-the-art connectors that would moor the platform to the seafloor. As a supervising engineer, I was one of only two women among the more than 200 professionals on board the construction vessel.  Years and months of dedicated technology development and multidisciplinary engineering work had led to this moment, when we successfully built what was at the time one of the deepest oil and gas production platforms in the world.   After my helicopter ride back to shore, I went onto many other engineering and business roles in the oil and gas industry. I learned technical excellence, disciplined engineering, risk management and stakeholder engagement are paramount to achieving commercial success in new technology ventures, especially those that require building new manufacturing plants and infrastructure.   Now, after 30 years in oil and gas, I’m putting that knowledge to work advising climate tech startups.   As a business fellow at Breakthrough Energy, I’ve spent the past year collaborating with a group of highly motivated startup CEOs and teams operating in the green steel, CO2 conversion chemicals and floating offshore wind sectors.   Throughout this experience, I’ve come to appreciate the immense significance of my background in energy industry fundamentals, expertise in technology deployment and hands-on knowledge of complex capital projects gained from my previous work in the oil and gas sector. These skills are essential in successfully moving clean technologies from the laboratory to the market.   Offshore floating wind technologies provide a perfect example of how oil and gas know-how can be applied to clean technologies.   Offshore wind in the United States is projected to generate over 30 gigawatts (GW) of power, enough to power about 10 million homes, by 2030. To achieve this ambitious goal, successful installation of large-scale wind farms in deeper water offshore is essential. Each state-of-the-art turbine reaches 850 feet above the sea surface (nearly three times the height of the Statue of Liberty), with blades 380 feet long. The size of the floating foundation for each high-capacity wind turbine is similar to that of a deep-water oil and gas production platform.   In oil and gas deep water operations, each new field needs just one production platform. A 1 GW commercial wind farm requires 60 to 70 floating foundations to be fabricated, assembled, transported and installed.   To address these challenges, Aikido Technologies, a floating wind startup company I’m advising, is spearheading disruptive “self-erecting” floating wind platforms aimed at streamlining the manufacturing, assembly and installation of floating wind foundations to build out wind farms quickly at low cost.  Leveraging my experiences and network in the offshore sector, I am working with the team to craft business models, refine value propositions, assess the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Installation (EPCI, in offshore lingo) landscape and establish a supply chain strategy.   Drawing upon my energy sector engineering and business expertise, I am poised to play a pivotal role in the scaling up and commercialization of climate technology. I hope my fellow colleagues from the oil and gas industry will join me on this journey.   Indeed, I’m facing a new challenge today — we all are — building out the technologies we need to tackle climate change. Hopefully, in a few years’ time, I’ll be able to ponder that challenge while taking a helicopter out to a new offshore wind farm.  Editor’s note: Jane Zhang is a participant in the Fellows Program at Breakthrough Energy, which also supports Cipher.