Saipem chief executive, Stefano Cao, looks forward to the Italian firms plans to move toward cleaner energy over the next ten years.
In the next ten years, alongside gas, clean energy will represent about 60% of our portfolio.
Saipem will increase its presence in low CO2 emission markets, like offshore wind, the conversion of biomasses, solar power and geothermal power.
Moreover, innovative solutions will be developed in emerging areas like high altitude wind power – both onshore and offshore – and marine energies.
In terms of profitability, the renewable energy sector will have lower margins than the traditional Oil & Gas segments, but this will be compensated by higher volumes and lower risk profiles for the respective activities.
Moreover, the delivery of these projects will also require resources, skills and assets that are found in the traditional Oil & Gas sectors, which will result in natural synergies and diversification.
In terms of energy scenarios, the demographic expansion of the middle classes in Asia – which account for much of the growth in GDP – suggests that the centre of gravity for energy demand will shift towards Asia.
Even the supply of energy is changing profoundly. One only has to think of the revolutionary impact of the appearance on the market of unconventional sources like shale, which places the United States in pole position as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas.
Against this backdrop of profoundly changing market conditions in the energy sector brought about by volatile oil prices, we have also had to contend with the energy transition.
This process is in part occurring spontaneously, driven by economic viability and technological progress, and in part under the impetus of political decisions.
A process of this magnitude can only take place gradually, to ensure that demand for energy continues to be satisfied by conventional sources – which still provide more than 80% of global primary energy consumption – and enable the construction of infrastructure for the production and distribution of renewable energy.
In this evolutionary process, natural gas is set to play a key role as the best fossil fuel for accompanying the energy transition. Studies and forecasts point to the gas market expanding for 15-20 years.
Therefore, oil and gas will continue to make up a significant percentage of energy demand in the coming decades and will require new solutions to improve the sustainability of production processes, such as the use of new hybrid configurations, as well as the adoption of renewable technologies applied to oil and gas operations to reduce overall CO2 emissions in facilities at sea and on land.
In this regard, technology will play a pivotal role in the reduction of the overall cost of investments or, for example, in the development of modular or scalable solutions to improve profitability.
We are also still working on the definition of a proprietary process for the liquefaction and re-gasification of natural gas on a small scale, for the development of floating LNG.
Saipem owns various solutions, including Liqueflex™, a new proprietary technology that uses natural gas as the cooling agent and, Moss Maritime, a company of the Saipem group, has recently acquired pioneering experience in the market of the conversion of LNG carriers to floating LNG units.