The WEC 2016 North Sea Conference will reveal and validate the results of a ground-breaking study about unlocking the energy potential of the North Sea. The North Sea has long been the energetic backbone of many of the economies around it. Its oil and gas resources have allowed societies to thrive and economies to grow. However, faced with a new set of challenges in view of climate change and the unsustainable level of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the depletion of resources in some parts, the North Sea has come to be described as a sea in decline.

We challenge this view and present a new vision for the North Sea, as we see a clear role for the North Sea in the current transformation of our energy systems to a low carbon reality. Our study shows that the North Sea has a key role to play in unlocking value along all dimensions of the energy trilemma – reliability, affordability and sustainability – through optimal decommissioning, smart re-use of old oil and gas assets, the efficient deployment of wind energy at sea, as well as taking into account other maritime synergies such as shipping, fisheries or aquafarming. A such, the North Sea presents concrete business opportunities for those willing to harness its potential.

The 2016 North Sea study demonstrates the hidden value of better alignment between governments and industry players in and across the North Sea countries. It identifies concrete steps that governments and industry players must take to create breakthroughs on a national and international level.

We invite you to take part in and influence this forward-looking discussion that will re-define the energy landscape in the years to come.