NextGeneration EU has injected funds for sustainable projects and freed the market to invest in these areas. While this has been very positive, it also created a booming market where human resources are at a premium.
RINA has strong recruitment objectives, and during 2022, the
Energy Business unit grew by around 200 people, but recruitment to match our plans for growth will be an
ongoing challenge for the coming year.
Unexpected geopolitical events impacted projects and how we addressed
our efforts. As Europe looked for ways to address energy security issues and remove dependence on
Russian gas, many projects were accelerated, and ones that had been on hold came back into play.
There were new initiatives and studies on alternative energy sources, and Europe looked at how it
could increase gas production and import more gas from other areas. This required the evaluation
of where infrastructure needed to be added or improved to enable the importation of gas from
different sources as well as the use of alternative energy resources in the future. RINA was well positioned to support these efforts with new studies,
evaluation of alternatives, and supporting projects relating to regasification, input terminals
and small LNG plants. Projects included the acceleration of a liquefaction plant in the
Congo as ENI looked to increase LNG production and an FLNG in Mozambique.
The sharp rise in energy prices also resulted in some big energy-consuming companies having to shut down for certain periods because costs were simply too high. While this created challenges in global economies, it also helped push forward the energy transition as businesses looked to find and secure alternative sources of energy. Energy consumers started to launch their own renewable projects or push forward those that were planned for the future. Originally designed to meet their own regulatory environmental targets, these became more urgent as companies looked to production costs simply to help them remain in the market.
Before the energy crisis, public and political opinions looked at e-mobility as the key driver to move away from oil & gas. 2022 has seen this rebalanced, but there is still an urgent need for energy to transition, and RINA is continuing to research technology and invest in renewable resources and reduced carbon emissions. We need both energy security and energy transition, but we also need to address these needs in a sustainable way. To be sustainable, solutions also need to be economically and socially viable, creating a complicated picture for the world to work towards.
Energy markets are becoming more and more international as markets
become more integrated and local markets less important. We have continued to expand our
geographical reach with new companies in areas such as Africa and significant growth outside
our core Italian and European markets. This has been successful as we reorganised our
energy business into a single entity in 2021 to better represent the full package of services
RINA can offer globally. This has enabled us to provide more comprehensive support through all
project phases and throughout the energy value chain and better leverage our international
footprint. Where we were previously seen as an inspection service provider, we are now very
much seen as an energyservice provider.
In 2022, we started restructuring the RINA Consulting business into geographical hubs. The first was the UK, which takes the lead on both business development and operations. We have also developed a transversal approach to business development in the Middle East and India. Our business development team includes members across all business units. The new approach allows us to be closer to our clients and ensure we maximise the value RINA can add across all its business units’ services.
RINA is continuing to invest in both research and new services to meet the diverse needs of the energy market. Our expertise covers developing areas, including carbon capture, sequestration, and new fuels such as hydrogen and battery storage, where we are securing opportunities that are opening in the market. We are leveraging these competencies but also developing specific new ones focussed towards biodiversity, wildlife and social aspects to ensure we understand how projects will impact surrounding areas not only today but also into the future.
Digital tools provide the power to increase our services' efficiency, timeliness and overall value. We are implementing a digital programme to automatically analyse and prioritise work for inspectors based on their availability, location, skills and experience to help ensure we get the best match for a project as quickly as possible. We have also created a digital importing tool that, based on a series of logic-driven questions, automatically creates the narrative report for an inspection, reducing the time the client takes to receive the information.
We need to implement NextGeneration EU and Italy’s Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e
Resilienza (PNRR; National Recovery and Resilience Plan). We will take action to support present and future
clients and help them understand the opportunities that are ahead and how RINA can help. This includes helping
energy companies make the transition not only to cleaner fuels but also to the competencies of their people as
we move forward.
RINA will continue to invest in research because, although we may have started and know the direction we are going in, no one yet knows what the solutions of the future will be. By 2050, we expect to see many different aspects of the transition that we have not seen before. We are open to and embrace all technologies and possibilities. Anything that reduces CO2 emissions is moving us in the right direction, which means, in the shorter term, there is still very much a place for gas and LNG in the energy mix.
For 2023, we will take the same approach but expect markets to be more stable. Increased certainty and predictability may reduce the urgency of investment, but it will provide the opportunity to make the right decisions for our planet. There are many opportunities ahead.