IRO is the association of Dutch suppliers in the upstream oil and gas industry. For more than 30 years, IRO has furthered the interests of its 300 member companies in the fields of exports, politics, econo-mics, and technical affairs on regional, national, and international levels.
Since 1959, when the extensive Groningen gas field was discovered, the Dutch oil and gas industry has been involved in exploration and production of oil and gas in the North Sea. Because of the large number of small oil and gas fields in the North Sea and the high costs for developing these fields, the Dutch industry has developed special technology for gas production from marginal fields.
One of its areas of expertise is satellite platforms. These often unmanned installations, without helidecks and accommodation units, have topsides that are significantly lower in weight and are easier to install. As a result, they are much cheaper. But increasingly, easy-to-move FPSOs have also proved a useful medium for exploiting these marginal fields. Over the years, Dutch industry has also contributed state-of-the-art solutions for this type of marginal field development.
The Dutch continental shelf still has potential, but the upcoming deepwater areas and related innovative technologies are the main areas of focus. The Dutch suppliers are playing their part with an innovative approach to the challenges of exploration and production in deep waters. They have provided solutions such as floating production units, synthetic polymer mooring cables, and plastic high pressure pipes and risers (to replace steel cables and pipes, which are too heavy at such lengths), autonomous underwater vehicles, station keeping systems, and others. Already, Dutch companies are contracted to operate in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, and West Africa. For some large projects, such as Kizomba, the expertise of different Dutch companies has been brought together, leading to innovative results.
Because the oil and gas industry is an international market, IRO is continuously and actively searching for ways to represent its members abroad. Aside from organizing Dutch pavilions at international exhibitions, IRO also stages workshops initiated by the European Union. Further, on behalf of the European Commission, IRO coordinates joint industry research projects, the goals of which are to stimulate the development of innovative technologies. A new office in Houston has been set up to facilitate business opportunities in the USA.
The association also attempts, along with its European partners, to keep its finger on the pulse of the network of the European Union in Brussels. As a founding member of Eurogif, IRO closely monitors the effects of European politics and strives for recognition of the hydrocarbon supply and service industry and finally budget extension for new technology programs. Internationally, the cooperation with IRO's sister organizations has intensified through the maturing of Eurogif. Information on IRO can be viewed at its website www.iro.nl.