Anders Brønd Christensen.

June 7, 2022

Q&A: Ramboll to exit oil and gas for greener pastures

“We cannot say we are going all in on sustainability but then continue to support upstream oil and gas production, so for us it is about ensuring we walk the talk in our new strategy,” says Hannes Reuter, Managing Director for Energy at Ramboll. Read the full interview. 

white wind turbine generating electricity on sea
A cornerstone in Ramboll’s new group strategy is the bold ambition to become the leader of our industry in the green energy transition by 2025.
Hannes Reuter, Managing Director, Ramboll Energy, explains what’s behind that ambition – and how it ties to our commitment to exit oil and gas exploration.
What does it mean in practice to become the leader in the green energy transition?
“It means we want to be recognised by the outside world as the go-to consultancy and engineering firm for the energy transition. It also means we need to have a size and a competence, also in terms of thought leadership, that allows us to be seen as the leader."
“This implies two things: first, a process we have already started of entering new fields of expertise, such as carbon capture, hydrogen, Power-to-X, energy storage and so on, where we build strong, global competence networks by the end of our current strategy period in 2025. Second, we leverage our presence to become a sizeable Energy business unit in Ramboll’s ‘stronghold’ countries. For example, in Sweden, Finland and Norway we will scale our presence significantly, giving us a critical mass for name recognition and making us attractive to talent.”
In our strategy, we write that we will exit oil and gas exploration by 2025. Can you unpack that?
“We will cease to engage in any exploration and development of new oil and gas fields by 2025, and we have in fact already stopped tendering for new oil field projects from January this year. In 2023, we will stop tendering for exploration and development of new gas field projects. We want to decarbonise the world, and that’s not compatible with supporting upstream oil and gas, which is getting more carbon out from the ground and into the system.”
“Because of the war in Ukraine, we will leave some flexibility with regards to the exact exit date from upstream gas, but only where it clearly helps improve the resilience of Europe and reduces reliance on Russian gas, simply because there is an imminent need. But the 2025 deadline is set in stone.”
“On the midstream and downstream – transport, conversion and usage – we will continue to help those clients who are on a decarbonisation journey themselves. For instance, by eliminating routine flaring or electrifying existing oil and gas platforms with offshore wind, because those platforms otherwise rely on gas turbines, similar to how we support decarbonisation in other heavy industries such as steel.”
“The key message for us is that we cannot say we are going all in on sustainability, but then continue to support upstream oil and gas production, so for us it is about ensuring we walk the talk in our new strategy.”
By the end of the strategy period, the ambition is to grow Ramboll’s revenue in energy to 3.5 billion DKK ($0.5bn USD), up from 1.8 billion DKK ($0.26bn USD), by focussing on the growth areas of sustainable technologies.
What impact will this new strategy have on clients, and in particular the energy majors?
“In the short term, it likely will not have a large impact on the energy majors, who can source solutions from other vendors. But it is important for us to remain extremely close to our clients, especially the energy majors who are now also going massively into renewables, and explain what we are stopping, by when, and why."
"We count on everyone during this transition, because there is such a need for their competences in Power-to-X, hydrogen and carbon capture." — Hannes Reuter
“As the majors pivot to renewables such as green hydrogen and Power-to-X, the competences we have established in gas infrastructure and decarbonisation will be essential, and we will continue to support them on that journey.”
A graphic showing milestones in Ramboll's phased exit from oil and gas.
What will our exit from oil and gas require of Ramboll as a company, and what will it require of our employees?
“For employees, it requires the willingness and the openness to make this shift, and in the conversations we have had so far, that spirit is certainly there. We count on everyone during this transition, because there is such a need for their competences in Power-to-X, hydrogen and carbon capture. In most cases, their skills are quite easily transferable, for instance in electrical engineering, process or automation, and we have already started using those skills and experiences in new contexts. For other professions, we are working on a plan to train and develop our skills, and we are confident that it can be done. The transition is a professional development opportunity for everyone and a chance to contribute to a more sustainable future.”
How will clients experience a strategic shift in how Ramboll operates?
“One example is that in all our offers towards clients, we will include avenues to enhance the sustainability beyond the original client brief. If they ask for a solution, we will provide it, if it fits within the four unifying sustainability themes, which are the four pillars of our new strategy: decarbonising for net zero, resilient societies & liveability, resource management & circular economy, and biodiversity & ecosystems. And we will always challenge them on sustainability, saying ‘there is more you could do’ – and if they want to take it further, we are there for them."
Are you personally confident that we will succeed in the green energy transition?
“Yes, absolutely! First of all, this is a must-win, not just for Ramboll but for the world. And I strongly believe that if there is a company that is really well positioned due to presence in markets, competencies, and the ability to bridge such a vast range of services and industries, then it is Ramboll. So it really is on us now to ensure it happens.”
Ramboll’s new strategy, The Partner for Sustainable Change, was launched in February 2022. To read more about the strategy and what it means for clients, visit our strategy page here.
We would like to hear what you think of this article. For comments, thoughts or feedback, please email editor Anders Brønd Christensen.