We interviewed some of our team to understand how we are doing on the energy transition from a skills, exposure and experience perspective!

Read the interviews below.

Louis Duménil

Role: Senior Engineer
Years in oil and gas: 6
Years at Xodus: 2

Why do you think you have been able to transfer your skills to new energy?

I believe that many of the skills in oil and gas are highly transferable to the offshore renewables sectors. I’ve spent 6 years in the oil and gas industry designing complex systems of subsea flexible risers; making sure they can be installed and operated safely in the harsh environment that is the sea.  The subsea power cables powering offshore windfarms around the world are subject to the same environment and constraints. The same principle of engineering and physics apply.

What has been your most exciting project?

I wouldn’t be able to name one specific project. The most exciting projects that I’ve worked on were offshore wind farm projects where I had to find innovative solutions to complex problems. From the early conceptual phase, where I conducted cable routing studies or cable burial risk assessment to help developers identify technical solutions or installation methodologies that added value to the project. To the operation and maintenance phase, where I undertook cable integrity risk assessment that identified areas of high, medium, and low risk to the cables from fishing, anchoring and seabed mobility factors which informed the developer’s scheduled maintenance regime.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to put their skills to the energy transition challenge?

Now is a great and exciting time to put your skills to the energy transition challenge. The renewable energy sector has been experiencing an unprecedented boom over the past years. Also, the renewable energy sector is an extremely competitive industry where developers are always looking to reduce costs, and this includes incorporating best practices and technologies from the oil and gas sector. While the two sectors use many of the same key skills, the terminology can differ, so my main piece of advice would to research and familiarise yourself with the industry in general. Being able to speak the same language will help you get your foot in the door.

What type of project would you like to be involved with next?

I am very keen to help Xodus grow its cable and interconnector offering and understand how we can deliver smarter solutions to the industry. One project I am working on is the automation of probabilistic risk models for the execution of cable burial risk assessment and cable integrity risk assessment using the Python programming language.

The concept of floating wind farms has fascinated me since university, and I would welcome any opportunity to work on floating wind farm projects.

Nichola Lacey

Role: Senior Environmental Consultant
Years in oil and gas: 5
Years at Xodus: 2

Why do you think you have been able to transfer your skills to new energy?

My career to date has been enabled by being flexible in how I apply my existing skills and knowledge; from intertidal ecology, to deep sea, to oil and gas and now offshore wind. I’m always looking to expand my technical knowledge and have been very open to learning from my offshore wind colleagues. Many of the same environment and consenting elements apply whether oil and gas or renewable energy. The key for me in this most recent transition has been to work closely with and learn from a diverse and experienced team, but be confident in my own technical grounding.

What has been your most exciting project?

As well providing specialist benthic support to ScotWind work, I have been heavily involved in a pre-commercial offshore wind project. ScotWind is a fantastic opportunity to really drive forward energy transition, and the Sectoral Marine Plan has further opened the paths to more Test and Demonstration and Decarbonisation projects in Scotland. Meeting the emerging challenges that these various routes will continue to pose, and working with clients to progress innovative projects has, and will continue to be, an exciting challenge for years to come.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to put their skills to the energy transition challenge?

I would advise anyone to be confident in the grounding that they have developed within oil and gas, whatever the specialism. Many of the same challenges exist in both sectors and the experience held, whether in engineering, numerical modelling, ecology or permitting, is key to successfully meeting the energy transition challenge. Work closely with new energy specialists, be open to adapting and learning but be confident to bring your experience to the table.

Who has been key in supporting you with developing these new skills?

Key for me has been actively and regularly engaging with colleagues across multiple divisions within Xodus to ensure that the best possible mix of skills and ideas can feed into each project. From collaborative Lessons Learned, Technical Time Out and team briefing sessions, to knowing that experienced project team members are available and willing to provide advice and guidance on specific topics, developing new skills within the team has been a collaborative effort.

Graham Barton

Role: Field Development
Years in oil and gas: 34
Years at Xodus: 2

Why do you think you have been able to transfer your skills to new energy?

Xodus’ in-house expertise and long experience in both hydrocarbon and renewables sectors provides a natural environment for transfer of skills and for individuals to work across sectors. Together with my long-standing respect for the company built up over ten years as a client, this was the main reason I joined Xodus last year.  I’ve heard elsewhere of oil people meeting resistance and suspicion from renewables folk, but that’s certainly not the case at Xodus where there’s very much a ‘one company’ ethos.

What has been your most exciting project?

I’ve really enjoyed leading the Offshore Wind to Green Hydrogen Supply Chain study for Scottish Enterprise. It pulled on such a diverse range of expertise within Xodus, much of it new to me, and has exciting to be involved in something truly ground-breaking.  We’ve also been very fortunate to work collaboratively with such a highly knowledgeable client group from various public and private organisations. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this study leads next.

Have you completed any formal CPD to help you with your energy transition journey?

There are so many good online courses available now. I’ve completed the DTU Wind Energy course on Coursera, which seriously tested some very rusty maths and mechanics, and the Edinburgh University carbon capture and storage course on EdX. I’m just now starting another energy transition course from Delft University, also on EdX.

How are you helping others identify how they can work in the new energy mix world we are moving into?

Hopefully through leading by example and showing it can be done!

I’ve also been able to facilitate connecting renewables and oil and gas facilities folk through my assignments. By bringing these people together we have been able to create teams with a diverse energy background, which leads to us delivering a robust and challenged solution to our clients. We see particular hunger from our graduate engineering community to diversify and expand into gaining renewables and other energy transition-related experience.