In 2012 I became Secretary General of NOGEPA and in that capacity I had a lot to do with Den Helder Airport and the people who have become my friends. One of the first things I learned is that, contrary to what I had learned in secondary school, Den Helder is not Utrecht but Den Helder the most centrally located city in the Netherlands, at least if we include the continental shelf… I look back with pleasure on all the visits and encounters that have taken place in the course of these almost 10 years. Den Helder's dynamism and ambition are exceptional. Not only from the airport, but also from the port, the maritime campus, the naval activities, and of course from all offshore related companies.
The oil and gas industry, like myself, has always felt at home there, even in today's times when major changes
take place. Together we try to survive a perfect storm and create a new perspective for both the industry and the local community. Climate change requires less CO2 emissions, which will reduce gas use in the Netherlands. Moreover, many fields are gradually reaching the end of their profitable lifespan. And yet there is that new perspective! Because we position ourselves as part of the solution instead of resigning ourselves to the perception that we are really only part of the problem.
Today we still produce oil and gas, because the Netherlands still needs this and domestically produced gas has less CO2
than imported Russian or Norwegian gas. With the closure of the Groningen field, the Netherlands has now become an import country.
Tomorrow, by 2030, we will deliver infrastructure, both in terms of knowledge and hardware, that contributes to a new
energy system with less CO2 emissions. Think of the knowledge of the subsurface that is already there, which is already being used in the world of geothermal energy. Also think of the pipelines, which will soon be able to be used to transport green energy in the form of hydrogen. And to store CO2 in empty gas fields. Work is now underway on electrification of platforms to make this possible.
And the day after tomorrow, by 2050, we will be part of a fully decarbonized energy system that will no longer emit any net CO2. I see hydrogen as the backbone of this new system, which will consist of both green electrons and green molecules: it is easy to transport, store and convert into other forms of energy.
When I look back on my decade as SG of NOGEPA, I have many fond memories of Den Helder. And the coming decade will also be very interesting because the energy transition is now really starting. With challenges and also with opportunities. Both for the oil and gas industry and for Den Helder Airport. I wish both a very good future and express the hope that we will meet very often.