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Ten Takeaways from THE OCEAN

Peter Haugan, Co-Chair Ocean Panel Expert Group presenting the Ocean Panel Transformations – from words to action.
Peter Haugan, Co-Chair Ocean Panel Expert Group presenting the Ocean Panel Transformations – from words to action.

THE OCEAN is concluded, but we share our ten takeaways with you from this year’s conference.

The leading players from the ocean industries, academia, research and public agencies met during THE OCEAN conference in Grieghallen and digitally this week.

There was much to take in and reflect upon during this year’s conference, so we have summarized our top ten takeaways.

1-2 and 3 from HRH Crown Prince Haakon

Three basic truths were emphasized and elaborated on by HRH Crown Prince Haakon during his opening speach, which, as he said, requires «the sharpest minds and the bravest hearts » across sectors and nations to solve:

  • The ocean connects us to to each other, to nature and to ourselves.

We used to live in the ocean. That is where we are from. The thing is, we got lost along the way. A little bit. We need to reconnect with our old home.

  • We are all dependent on the ocean.

If we don’t have a healthy ocean, no healthy planet. Unfortunately, as we all know; the ocean today is not in good health. It is our job to do something about that.

  • The ocean is full of possiblities.

A healthy ocean can solve many of our common challenges: It can play a critical role in feeding a growing global population. It can supply the world with clean energy. As much as 21 percent of the solutions we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved in the ocean.

Read full speach

4. Filling the ocean gap

DNB's CEO, Kjerstin R. Braathen (photo) touched upon what she calls the « ocean gap »

– We are now moving to a future where oil and gas will play a less significant role in our economy than before, she explained. In DNB, we call this deficit the "Ocean Gap", and we must fill the gap in order to maintain, or further strengthen, the economic basis for our welfare society.

The maritime industries are today important for the Norwegian economy and contribute greatly to our welfare state:

More than 260,000 Norwegians are employed in the marine industries, and 25 percent of all value creation in Norway comes from the sea. More than 60 percent of our exports come from our maritime industries such as oil and gas, shipping, offshore, seafood and maritime tourism, according to Braathen.

Read DNB’s article (in Norwegian).

5. Technology transfer is crucial for progress

To fill the ocean gap we need the long earned competence and technology from the oil and gas technology, as was highlighted by many speakers.

– Existing and new technology will still be used in the ocean, but not just to pump oil and gas, said Owe Hagesæther, CEO in GCE Ocean Technology in an interview to BA during the conference.

The supplier industry has attracted a lot of wise minds who have developed industry and technology they can reuse in new markets today. It has been going on for several years already, but it is now accelerating. Everything from sensors and camera use, surveillance and material technology according to Hagesæther.

Read full interview (in Norwegian).

Owe Hagesæther (GCE Ocean Technology), Leader of the Steering Committee, and Nina Stangeland (NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster), Leader of the Program Committee of THE OCEAN.

6. EU taxonomy, rules and regulations

The EU taxonomy regime accelerates the industry as they provide strict guidelines for the financial industry and completely new classifications for what "sustainability" entails and requirements for reporting and transparency.

As a result DNBs portfolio's emission intensity in oil and gas will decrease by 30 per cent by 2030, and the benefits of investing and building sustainably will only increase, also related to financing, according to DNB.

7. New Markets

Hydrogen, deep sea minerals and offshore wind are potential huge markets for Norway.

  • Hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives are the most promising solution to decarbonise hard-to-electrify sectors, but will still be only 5% of the global final energy mix in 2050 according to DNVs Energy Transition Outlook.
  • Deep sea minerals may be part of the way towards electrification and renewable energy sources and is also a potential huge market for Norway in the future, but a set of global environmental, social and governmental rules are required to accelerate the progress of exploring if it could be substracted sustainably and understanding the deep ocean ecology.
  • Ocean based renewable energy is a key towards the low emission energy society and offshore wind is the largest contributor according to speaker Finn Gunnar Nielsen, Professor at the University of Bergen.

Finn Gunnar Nielsen, Professor at UiB spoke about Norwegian ocean based renewable energy and seabed minerals.

8. Competence for the future

Study programmes focusing on the oceans are rigged for the future and offered at the University of Bergen who are encourraging students to take subjects from areas that are far from their study programmes, to understand other disciplines with regards to future collaboration.

Moreover, they have launched six small courses in different areas of digital competence according to Pinar Heggernes, Pro-Rector at the University of Bergen. She also underlined the need to educate people in lasting- and not just new knowledge, and that the industry can tailor the final education « on top » when they employ.

– We have made large investments in education, research and innovation, said Gunnar Yttri, Rector at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences who offer among other things courses in hydrogen technology, science, subsea and marine techonology both for students and for employees in the industries.

Pinar Heggernes, Pro-Rector, University of Bergen and Gunnar Yttri, Rector, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences talked about competence for the future.

9. Collaboration is king

The Deep Purple™ Pilot project will develop a unique and integrated energy system of offshore green hydrogen production in combination with offshore wind. The consortium consists of industry and research experts and cluster representatives.

This consortium illustrated a perfect example of the previous points made by HRH Crown Prince Haakon about collaboration across sectors and nations as the project has grown into a unique learning arena with several different stakeholders collaborating on solving the big tasks of creating sustainable energy supply in the future.

– Like a Michelin restaurant you cannot serve a three star meal alone - you need a team of different players to make the absolute best solutions, said Tonje Istad, Sourcing, Procurement and Engagement of Deep Purple (right in photo).

10. We leave this point up to you.

What is your takeaway from the conference, or if you didn't attend, what would you have preferred to know more about?

Please share it with us at, so the programme committee who are planning next years conference can tailor the content of THE OCEAN 2022.

Contact Information

Kjersti Boge Christensen

Communication Manager

Kjersti Boge Christensen

THE OCEAN is a meeting arena for sharing of knowledge, cooperation and development of technology across the blue industries.

The first event was in Bergen the 17th of September 2019.

GCE Ocean Technology is only one, of many proud partners of THE OCEAN.

Further Reading