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Velkommen til Lørn.tech. En lærings dugnad om teknologi og samfunn med Silvija Seres, Sunniva Rose og venner.
SS: Hello and welcome to a podcast by Lørn. My name is Silvija Seres. Our topic today is energy, and my guest today is Liv Hovem. The CEO of the Dnv gl oil and gas division. Welcome Liv.
LH: Thank you very much, Silvija. Nice to be here. Great to be here, actually.
SS: It's very good to have you here. I'm a fan of yours from your work in Dnv gl. And I would like you to help us understand a little bit more about the changing oil and gas business really and how technology plays a vital role there. Before we do that, I would like to invite you to say a few words about who you are and why you do what you do?
LH: Yes, so I'm Liv. I'm 54 years old. I have been with the in Dnv gl actually my whole career. So, I'm celebrating 30 years now. And being in Dnv gl for 30 years was never a plan. But I was so fortunate that when I was studying at Ntnu in Trondheim, Structural Engineering that I was invited for a talk to potential Recruitment. And I was stuck.
But it's been a deliberate choice almost every day. Because it's not like laziness or anything. It is more that in the things we do there's such big variation, and I love also to have international perspective. I've been able to work very technical but also now in leadership, project management in Maritime, in oil and gas, so it's been a fantastic journey. Why I chose a technical education? I grew up in Trondheim, my father was a professor at the University. Actually, we're all siblings’ engineers. My husband is an engineer, his siblings are engineers. So, I think we are a little bit techy in our heads.
SS: I think having technical basis for education is very useful because it gives you a very structured way of approaching problems in the world, and maybe some technology optimism. And then if you in addition have a really good social gene, which makes communicate it well, and care about the effects of that technology like you do. I think this is great.
LH: Yeah, and I also like Engineers, I like the people that work with this program. Very fact oriented so I like it a lot.
SS: During your time and Dnv gl you lived abroad for a while or not?
LH: No. I've been living in Oslo all the time. And that's also in a way a choice. We're a family and having children. I mean Norway is absolutely the best place to work with both parents working a lot. Its practical. I mean, we don't work a little, but have the flexibility to work when we are able to work.
SS: I moved to Norway for the same reason. Life is short and you have to live with as a whole, not as a fraction. But you do travel a lot because Dnv gl is one of the most international companies we have in Norway?
LH: Yeah, I travel a lot. And that has also been a little bit in faces now, having the role I have now the last year it's been a lot of travel because I really enjoy meeting the people in my organization. So, meeting the people and also the clients. And I actually enjoy traveling as well, but there has to be a balance. I also love being at home and doing skiing and being alone and all that Norwegian stuff.
SS: So Dnv gl does shipping, oil and gas, energy, business insurance, and you're responsible for the oil and gas station. What does it do?
LH: Very techy side we do risk advisory and assurance services to that industry. What does that mean in practice? We do various things, but maybe the things we are mostly known for and
which is interesting now is the technology qualification that we do. So, we ensure that technology that is developed for various reasons, is actually reliable and safe and sustainable to use it and to uptake it.
Our purpose is safeguarding life property and the environment. And that has been the purpose for more than 150 years. So that's quite a sound or solid foundation which actually means a lot to our engineers. People are driven by that purpose.
SS: People come to the Dnv gl because they believe they can make a difference.
Oil and gas and technology and the most important trends you see there. What would you say that is?
LH: There are so many trends going on now. And that's why I think this is maybe the most fascinating period that I've been working in the Dnv gl, because we obviously have the big challenge of climate change, and oil and gas having to be part of that solution to solve that challenge. We have within the oil and gas industry a very competitive environment. So, everybody in the industry needs to be really lean and efficient and cost efficient. And then of course on top of that we have all the opportunities that the new digital technologies bring us. And I think of that part the digital technologies as an enabler to actually be able to solve some of the big challenges we have going forward.
SS: So climate, efficiency and the digital technology and other kind of enabling technologies going around.
If we open up climate, you know, the one-and-a-half-degree goal or two-degree goal. So, we need to decarbonize, and oil and gas is all about carbon. But you're saying that we still need oil and gas and we need to produce it in an efficient way?
LH: Yes, so Dnv gl we have launched the energy transition outlook, the forecast for how we see the energy transition unfolding in the in the future. And we see along with many others that there will be a role for oil and gas to play. We may not use the oil the same way we use it. But we definitely see a role for gas. Gas will be the single most important energy source in 2050, but of course we also forecast and even though we have an optimistic future about gas and also the optical renewables it's not enough to meet the climate goals. So, we would like to see even more being done, of course. So, we talke about even more renewables and we need the more CCS (carbon capture and storage) and we need more energy efficiency in order to meet the climate goals.
SS: So there is a kind of a hybrid solution to the to the problem?
LH: Yeah. The thing is that there is no Silver Bullet. So, everybody has a job to do. So of course, the renewable sector has a job to do to move fast on having more renewables. Oil and gas industry also have a role or job to do, because we have to make sure that what we do has a low carbon footprint. And I also strongly believe that the gas has a very important role in the energy transition.
SS: As an alternative to coal maybe?
LH: As an alternative for coal for sure, and that can have an immediate effect. But also, to balance the intermittency of renewables.
SS: Explain that.
LH: The renewable energies are more fluctuate to the sun and the wind. We need something that can come in and actually produce the electricity to energy that we need. And their gas can be an important balance balancing the whole energy system, in addition to batteries, of course.
But what is really interesting now is the technology development related to the hydrogen value chain. Which means that it's possible to take out the Co2 from the gas before it is burned. Which means that then it can be hydrogen that is transported and distributed for example to the markets in the UK, or in the market in Europe. And then storing the Co2 in the North Sea for example, which mean that we actually greenify the whole gas value chain by the hydrogen economy. That's really interesting. And there is a lot of work in going on there now and especially UK have been taken a very strong position there. And Dnv gl is involved in the sense that we are what we can call the safety partner. So, we help assess how safe hydrogen can be. So, we are looking into different blends of gas because hydrogen is a more unstable gas. It is perceived as riskier. But these are things that can be controlled, and we are looking into burners and pipelines and all the equipment to see the effect that hydrogen has. But in the UK we have a test site where we actually can do full-scale explosion and blow up things with different gases, and then we can see actually how strong an explosion is and how risky it is. And also, how it can be controlled. We also look at leaks.
How does hydrogen travel if there is a hydrogen leak? How does it come into houses? What is the effect of that in order to make sure that the technology is safe?
SS: So can you tell us a little bit about digital technology? I mean, you know people in general think of that as a completely opposite world from the oil and gas. How did they meet?
LH: There are many ways of thinking about it, but one way is to think about it as bridging technologies. We talked about the Cyber physical systems. Traditionally we've been thinking about technology as components. But now we see that more of the components are connected together through digital elements and digital tools, which means that we can have more efficient and more complex systems, and to make energy system work instead of components that is driven by the technology that digital can bring. So, balancing an energy grid for example that it's forecasted so we know when people use energy. how do we ensure that we have the right energy at the right time? That we have enough storage.
SS: So, this is really market automation and market tools on top of traditional energy supplies?
LH: Yes. And of course, there's an opportunity to take away the human being in risky operations by more Robotics and automation. If we can do more of that for example offshore, we don't need to send so many people offshore, and of course traveling back and forth and having people in risky operation is a risk that we can actually eliminate by more autonomous.
SS: So safeguarding lives as well. And you have this fascinating project about digital twins. Can you say a little bit more about that?
LH: There are many projects about digital Twins. And the people have different picture of what is meant by it. But the way we see it is that in every asset has a digital representation, and then by monitoring the condition, for example of an asset throughout the life, we can have a digital representation of this asset which mean that if we need to repair or test new equipment, we can do it digitalize and simulate it instead of doing physical and real life. So that when we want to take use of something new, we have actually tested it before doing it physically which also reduces the risks.
SS: So, you use these digital avatars in a way to design, improve, even maintain in some sense?
LH: Yes. So, we have all the information during construction design building all that, and then we can use that digital twin to make
sure, that it is saved through the lifetime by having condition monitoring, performance monitoring, and log it on all the equipment on the asset.
SS: So, you mentioned also other technologies to me that that you're excited about. Things like 3D-printing or additive manufacturing. Where does that come into play with energy?
LH: That is extremely interesting topic also. I think that comes into the cost efficiency side of it and having the right thing at the right moment in time.
SS: So, say something breaks down on the platform and you can 3D print the non-obtainable part?
LH: Yeah, so you don't have to wait for three months for it to come, you can print it.
But also, if there is old equipment you don't really have the drawings, you can scan the equipment, and have it reprinted. It's very fascinating. Also, if you didn't combine it with for costing methodology we can forecast when things might be worn out and then you can have it printed and available just in time. So, it's also a simulation on the digital Avatar.
We are investing quite a lot in in 3D-printing now. We have established a center in Singapore together with the authorities there because they also have a strategic goal of being in the forefront of 3D-printing. I was there actually last week, and I got a presentation on how these printers look and how quickly also that development is going. It is extremely fast, and the potential is very exciting.
SS: You also mentioned things like automated drilling operations. You have to say two sentences about why that's important and smarter subsea tie-ins and extras. What in the world does that mean?
LH: So smarter subsea tie-in, I can start with that. Given that there is some uncertainty in the oil and gas business going forward. We see that the projects that are invested into are smaller. And there's a lot of development now on the on the subsea and smaller fields. And it's also a drive to make that cost efficient, of course. But if we look at the regulations, our rules, they are developed based on top side processes. And top side there are risk for fire and explosions and there are also people there. While subsea there is no risk for firing explosions, and there are no people there. So, there are different rules or regulations that should be applied.
And that needs to also be developed together with technology, in order for example to use electrical systems instead of hydraulic system, which is much more expensive. So that's why that's important.
SS: Sounds like a lot of cool gadgetry.
LH: But the thing is that it is not only the technology anymore. It's about rules and regulations. It's about the market, and it's about profitability of the projects. And everything comes together in a very fascinating way these days.
SS:We are running out of time and I think I would like to speak to you for another half an hour at least on this thing. So, very briefly Dnv gl is a very international company. A 150 year old company with a great sense of urgency actually. And also, great international footprint. How do you do research internationally on these things or project development?
LH: We use five percent of our revenue on research and Innovation, and maybe the strongest muscle we have internationally and with clients is that we initiate a lot of joined industry projects. If we see that there is a challenge that is irrelevant to a broader range in the industry. We can initiate and join the project and help solving that trough research and innovation. That's International our strongest force. Our research department is based in Norway, but they also have satellites in different locations. We are about to open a new satellite in China on artificial intelligence with a group of people. So, making sure that we are where we see that the exciting things are going on.
SS: If you were to recommend people some reading to understand more about where things are, and where things are moving what would you say?
LH: I have to recommend the publication “make ourselves”, and I mentioned the energy transition out. That comes with supporting documents. So, I think the one on the maritime technology is super exciting. Implication on the oil and gas industry and also on implication on the Power Systems, these three books. But I also would like to mention our technology outlook report, a report we issue every five years. It doesn't go very deep on every technology but it gives a unique broadness, so it gives also kind of an overview and then you can dig in more details if you see there is specific things that are interesting.
SS: If you are to leave our listeners or readers with one kind of main idea from what we talked about. I know it's hard, but what would you like them to remember?
LH: I think it is so easy to say that we are technology positive, and we are technology positive. But it's not only about the technology because there is also as I said the market profitability, but ultimately, it's about the people taking the technology in use. I think that's important to remember. Technology is really people.
SS: Very good. Liv Hovem, the CEO of Dnv gl oil and gas division. Thank you so much for coming here and talking to us about energy.
LH: Thank you very much. It was nice talking to you.
SS: Thank you for listening.
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Who are you and how did you become interested in energy technology?
I’m a board member of NTNU AMOS – Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems. I first became interested in energy technology when I watched films on big waves hitting offshore structures at NTNU. I now have responsibility for very strong gas competency units in The Netherlands and the UK.
What is your role at work?
We assist customers to develop and adopt novel technology in an efficient manner, often redefining perceptions of what is technically feasible and financially viable.
What are the most important concepts in energy technology (your sub-branch)?
Increasingly, we are seeing a need for technical services not just at the component level but also at the systems level: across whole transportation chains, across gas value chains, or within and across complex power transmission and distribution grids.
Why is this exciting?
We are on the cusp of a technological revolution and accelerated uptake of cyber-physical systems. The coming decade will be about combining advanced technologies and implementation – where concepts such as automation, data-driven insights and grid parity acquire real meaning and scale.
Which national and international differences exist within these technologies?
The challenge in Norway has been to demonstrate that the technology is meeting regulatory safety requirements. In a global context, it is important that Norway’s legislation and use of standards do not drive technology in a direction that makes it less attractive for the global market.
What do you think are the most interesting controversies?
Regulations in Norway have served technology development well. With functionally based regulation, there is much freedom for the industry to develop and implement new solutions. But this flexibility also leaves room for interpretations and thus uncertainty in terms of how regulators will assess new solutions.
What is your own favourite example of energy technology?
Green gas is a key area of interest for me as our industry embraces the energy transition. I find the potential use of hydrogen and CCS particularly relevant.
Do you have any other good examples of energy technology, nationally or internationally?
The H21 project in the UK.
How do you usually explain energy technology, in simple terms?
When talking to new young entrants to the oil and gas industry, I explain that energy technology is helping our industry to look forward.
What do we do particularly well in this field in Norway?
Norway excels in electric power systems, a cost-effective oil and gas industry, carbon capture and storage, automation and subsea activities, among other things.
Digital twinsGreening of gasSmarter subseaCCS