Giant drilling contractor Transocean goes into seabed minerals to support renewables

After making an entry into a carbon capture and storage project earlier this year, giant offshore drilling contractor Transocean is now investing in the exploration of seabed minerals to support the renewable energy supply chain.

Transocean informed on Tuesday that it has purchased a minority interest in Ocean Minerals, a company engaged in the exploration of seabed resources containing metals critical to the growing renewable energy market.

As a reminder, Transocean in January 2022 inked a contract to drill one carbon injection well and a sidetrack for another carbon injection well drilled in early 2020 in support of the Northern Lights carbon capture and storage project. This is Transocean’s way of further leveraging its rigs and core competencies in support of renewable and alternative energy projects.

Ocean Minerals, through its affiliate, Moana Minerals, was awarded a license by the Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Authority last month for the exploration of polymetallic nodules within the application area located in the Cook Islands’ exclusive economic zone. Critical minerals, such as cobaltnickelcoppermanganese, and rare earth metals found in the nodules are essential for the production of high-capacity batteries, the rig owner explained.

Transocean is working with Ocean Minerals on the technology and services that will be required to collect nodules from the seabed upon receipt of a production license. The Cook Islands is one of several offshore locations worldwide with large, accessible deposits of nodules containing a high content of these critical minerals. Responsible recovery of the nodules would provide additional supply required to support growing demand.

“The technical challenges associated with the efficient recovery of deepsea polymetallic nodules represent an opportunity for Transocean to leverage our unique offshore expertise in support of the rapidly emerging energy storage market,” said Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy Thigpen.

“We are excited to work alongside Ocean Minerals to help support efforts to achieve a lower carbon energy economy and meet the growing global demand for critical minerals. A mixture of all energy sources will be required to meet future global energy demands, and our work with Ocean Minerals is another way for Transocean to continue to provide essential offshore energy services.”

In addition to its investment in Ocean Minerals, Transocean previously disclosed its commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 40 per cent by 2030.

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