The key objective of innovation at SBM Offshore is to bring valuable new solutions to market that support SBM Offshore’s energy transition strategy. All parts of the organization are encouraged to contribute to innovations in their field of expertise, from ideation to final implementation.
The development of new technologies is managed by the Group Technology Department. All innovation programs are aligned with the long-term strategies of the Product Lines and with key programs such as emissionZERO®, Fast4Ward® and Float4Wind®. Development roadmaps are kept up-to-date with technical and market developments through regular reviews.
SBM Offshore brings new technology to market through a structured stage-gate process to ensure that the technology is validated before being deployed. This Technology Readiness Level ((API RP17N) and includes prototype testing and full level definition of new systems as part of the qualification requirements.
) process is based on American Petroleum Institute standardsSBM Offshore manages its portfolio by registering patents and trademarks, as well as through securing trade secrets and know-how. To ensure integrity, SBM Offshore manages the classification of documents and non-disclosure agreements with partners to restrict access to technology-sensitive documents. Freedom-to-operate checks are conducted to respect third-party rights.
As a result of this management approach, innovation is stimulated while risks associated with new technology deployment are mitigated (see section 1.4.2).
In 2022, SBM Offshore accelerated its development efforts towards emerging technologies associated with decarbonization and renewable energies, allocating 59% of the Group Technology budget to EU Taxonomy eligible1 activities.
Following the pilot in 2021, a global ideation platform has been successfully rolled-out across SBM Offshore. A structured approach to innovation management has been implemented, based on crowdsourcing and peer review. Through this platform, more than 1,500 employees have been engaged in early-stage innovation. SBM Offshore also continued to work with open-innovation platforms and clients to identify promising new technologies and potential collaborative partnerships.
SBM Offshore filed 48 new patent applications to strengthen its existing portfolio of 130 patent families; in particular in the areas of renewables and electrification. Over the course of 2022, the
of 23 technology development projects has been increased, 10 of which reached TRL 4. This level demonstrates that reliability, function and performance criteria are met in the intended operating condition and the technology can be deployed.Some of the main development projects undertaken in 2022 include:
As part of the renewable technology development roadmap, SBM Offshore launched its second-generation floating offshore wind technology (Float4Wind®), achieving lower costs in mass production. Additional component improvements have been further developed in 2022.
SBM Offshore’s emissionZERO® program phase 2 has progressed, demonstrating the potential for further carbon intensity reduction based on near-market ready technologies. As part of the program, one of the technologies qualified to 4 is the combined cycle gas turbine for offshore power generation.
As part of the emissionZERO® program, a partnership was established in 2022 to develop a topside module to capture carbon emitted from gas turbine exhausts.
A co-development agreement with a client has been extended to continue the 4 phase of the development of an ultradeep seawater intake riser. The technology brings colder water from greater depths to the . This cold water allows energy efficiency improvements, resulting in lower emissions.
Following the small-scale test campaign on the generator rings of the S3® Wave Energy Converter, a program has begun to qualify some of the components at pilot scale prior to pilot assembly. Works for the required pilot scale test tank have been started at SBM Offshore’s Laboratory in France.
SBM Offshore ramped up research in electrification in 2022, with the qualification of different topside electrical equipment, in addition to technologies related to high-voltage electrical swivels and subsea connectors.
Hydrogen and ammonia market studies have been completed, resulting in an updated technology development roadmap which is focusing on terminal solutions ( 4 achieved in 2022) and offshore blue ammonia production ( 2 achieved in 2022).
A five-year program has been kicked off to further develop robotics for deployment on units in operation. The key drivers for this program are to reduce high-risk human activities and to improve the efficiency of inspection and maintenance activities.
A collaboration with a start-up created from SBM Offshore's 2020 hackathon has led to a successful pilot deployment of an artificial intelligence-based corrosion detection application.
SBM Offshore will continue to focus its technology development activities on the energy transition by allocating at least 70% of its development budgets to decarbonization and renewables.
Part of these investments will be geared towards developing and qualifying technologies that significantly reduce the carbon intensity of offshore oil and gas production, supporting the emissionZERO® program. These also include early studies in the field of offshore hydrogen and ammonia production. In addition, continued investments in robotics will contribute to improved safety and efficiency in SBM Offshore's operating fleet.
At least 50% of the SBM Offshore will keep exploring alternative offshore renewable technologies while continuing to invest in its Float4Wind® and Wave Energy Converter programs.
investment will be allocated to EU Taxonomy eligible activities.