Oil is for sure a key energy source and likely to remain so for some time, but Petrofac’s move shows how companies which operate in the oil sector are looking at cleantech for new opportunities.
Only last month I was talking to a number of companies based in the north-east of England that currently service the offshore oil industry in the North Sea, but are now looking at opportunities to play a role in the development of the offshore wind energy industry. The UK Government has freed up offshore zones around Britain, and earlier this year it auctioned off licences for several zones where offshore wind farms can be deployed.
Ports, such as Teesport at Hartlepool, recognise the opportunity and are encouraging manufacturers of offshore wind turbines and related components to set up shop there, while makers and operators of ships and boats are already selling their products and services into the offshore wind sector. Getting equipment and personnel out to offshore wind turbine sites in order to develop them, and then service them, is a key logistical problem, and plenty of firms that already have experience of working in the North Sea have been quick off the mark to get a piece of the action.
In this publication we tend to follow companies that are pure-play clean energy businesses, but the smart investor will also be examining established firms in mature sectors that have something to offer the cleantech industry.
London-listed marine safety company Cosalt is already supplying the offshore wind industry, but there are other firms already engaged in offshore services that could also get involved.
Cape, a business quoted on London’s Alternative Investment Market, is one company that may well have a role to play in offshore wind energy in the future, since it is already a well-respected supplier of offshore services to the oil and gas sector. Meanwhile, James Fisher, another oil and marine services company listed in London, could also participate in the offshore wind industry.
The point is that the growing cleantech sector is likely to offer all kinds of opportunities, not just to the pure-play companies that are directly attempting to supply a particular clean energy sector, but also to those other businesses that can help to make the primary firms’ projects work.
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