While the offshore market is showing signs of a sustained recovery with OSV demand increasing dramatically over the last few months, there are other industries that will drive even more OSV demand. There has been much made of the need for existing OSVs to support offshore wind farm activities in the US. Though the desire is for specialty built vessels to support these farms, it is clear that conventional OSVs will be needed for the next several years. In addition to wind farms, there is another emerging industry that will very likely become critical as companies seek to achieve net zero carbon initiatives.
The IEA projects that Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) will be a major element of the clean energy transition toward becoming net zero. CCUS involves capturing CO2 from large emission sources such as power generation and large industrial facilities. Once the CO2 is captured, it is compressed and/or liquefied and transported to geological formations where it can injected permanently and stored indefinitely. By capturing and injecting carbon dioxide, the intent is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are believed to be a major contributor to climate change.
In addition to being the most green producing basin in the world, the US Gulf of Mexico’s outer continental shelf provides the existing infrastructure and geological formations that are optimal for CCUS. Though captured carbon will be transported via various methods such as rail cars, trucks, and pipelines, the use of offshore vessels to support offshore CCUS will generate incremental vessel demand.