EFG Executive Director’s digest – August 2022 – Part 1
I want to introduce you to a new Newsletter that I will be publishing to show you about my activities as the Executive Director of EFG and allow you to ask questions and offer suggestions on how we can be more effective for the profession we represent!
The first half of 2022 has been incredibly busy and we made the most of the ability to finally meet people in-person again around Europe and in Brussels.
With so much going on, I’m going to break this into two……this one for what I’ve been involved in more widely or online, the second part for those activities in Brussels itself.
In the autumn, as we settle down into a phase of consolidation of several of the in-house initiatives we’ve been working hard on and more Brussels-centric events, I’ll give you another update on where we are with those before the next Council Meeting in November.
eartH2 Strategy Workshop Paris, France – April
One of the most exciting developments in terms of new ways geology can contribute to the energy transition in the last year or so has been the recognition of the subsurface’s role in both storing and potentially producing hydrogen.
At EFG, we have been at the forefront of these new developments, with membership of a rapidly growing industrial alliance earthH2 with a seat on its Steering Committee and several of its Working Groups. This has been one of the first benefits of the new strategic partnership we negotiated with industrial alliance Pole Avenia, who have spearheaded this initiative. It also builds on our COP26 side-event in association with the Geological Society of London and University of Glasgow on this topic.
In April, myself and Pavlos Tyrologou, EFG External Relations Officer, met with the eartH2 team at the Société Geologique de France’s offices in Paris. I facilitated a framing session to shape eartH2’s European strategy on natural hydrogen – which EFG is well positioned to drive – as well as contributing to a similar session on the future potential for geological hydrogen storage in Europe.
If anyone is interested in contributing to this endeavour, do get in touch!
- Positioning ourselves as valued voices in the leading industrial group on geological hydrogen and shaping its future European strategy
- Following initial meetings with European Commission officials who requested further information, contributing to building Position Papers on the topic which will be submitted in Q4
- Opening up pathway to support an entirely new realm of potential job and business creation for geologists in Europe
Nordic Geoscience Meeting 2022 Reykjavik, Iceland – May
A much delayed biannual conference that should have been in winter, but thankfully displaced to May allowing field trips and greater attendance and featured all aspects of research and industrial use of geoscience across Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland.
As for the buzz in the corridors, much excitement about Carbfix’s ability to sequester CO2 into a widening range of basalts, lots of papers on the increasing threats to coasts and infrastructure from climate change in the North Atlantic and, yes, the critical mineral potential of the region but the social/permitting issues these projects face…..
- Connecting with our Nordic colleagues. Showcasing benefits of EFG membership and our EU project work to those countries currently not members (Norway, Iceland, Denmark)
- Discussions with Icelandic geologists about unlocking together EU funding for enhanced geological mapping to aid resource exploration, geohazard mitigation and geotourism
- Identification of value for event in Brussels in co-operation with Icelandic representatives to strengthen links and showcase value of geology to their country
- Aligns with my recent discussions with Norwegian Petroleum Society on collaboration with EFG on CCUS topics and separate opening for our CO2 Storage expert panel to help Danish CCS projects
H-NAT Summit Online – June
This was the second run of a new annual event (meant to be in-person, but online this year) dedicated to geological hydrogen that follows on from our involvement with the community looking at the now growing area of underground storage of H2 with the new realisation that at a cost of ~$1/tonne (versus perhaps $5 for blue H2 or $11 for electrolyser H2) geological production might be a total game-changer for the “hydrogen economy” that is seen to become a major part of the energy transition in the coming decade or two, if we can prove up the reserves.
A real opportunity to address the current challenges (resource estimation, permitting, investor awareness) but also to see the wealth of new interest and hear from those already exploring.
- Plugging in to those actively involved in creating this new sector and highlighting expertise available within EFG from technical, investment and management sides
- Contribution to panel session on What a Future Geological Hydrogen Ecosystem will look like, in terms of the business model, skills needs, risk assurance, sector interactions
- Development of a media partnership that provides us and the event high visibility, prominence on the technical programme and complimentary tickets
- Will shortly have access to the talks, which we will try to share where we are permitted
Chatham House ‘Governance, Institutions and Security’ seminar London, UK – June
Through my membership of Chatham House (the UK’s renowned Royal Institute of International Affairs) and its Sustainability Accelerator programme, I was able to secure a place with EFG Business Development Lead and ex-President Vitor Correia on the concluding round-table of a series they have been organising on the consequences of the recent geopolitical crises in Europe have on natural resource supply and climate change action.
Other participants were prominent actors on these topics from government, defence, agriculture, finance, civil society, industry and research. This event operated under Chatham House Rules, however we will be able to share plenty of their analysis going forward. Get in touch if you want to know more.
- Recognition of EFG and its expertise as a valuable contributor to ‘inner circle’ discussions on international affairs
- Positioning of EFG as a “go-to” community for sound advice on the energy transition, resources and future geohazards
- Cementing of relationship with Chatham House’s novel Sustainability Accelerator and its network of industry and policy actors operating across Europe and beyond
- Access to privileged knowledge from those at the forefront of the wider energy transition and sustainability challenges
MINEX 2022 Tirana, Albania – July
A last-minute offer to present the ROBOMINERS project at the MINEX 2022 conference in Albania, also gave a chance to connect with a region of Europe with great aspirations for becoming closer to European organisations and with great potential for geology to play a role in economic development and institution-building.
Had chance to connect with local developers and local association representatives. Were more upbeat about the viability of social acceptance compared to many areas of Europe and the criticality of getting things right from the start in terms of sustainability. Surprised at amount of cross-border co-operation taking place and certainly an area to watch and connect increasingly with for EFG.
Much curiosity and discussion afterwards about the case for robotic mining and its practical challenges. This is a topic which captures the imagination – a useful thing to know!
- Connecting with our Western Balkan colleagues. Passing message of existence of EFG and opening doors to those countries where do not have members in region
- Direct connection to representatives of several national associations in the region we can follow up on to explore collaboration and possible EFG membership
- Getting feedback on the current development of the ROBOMINERS project and its technology
- Development of a media partnership providing mutual visibility, prominence on the technical programme and complimentary tickets
In coming weeks, we’ll share with you what I and rest of the team have been doing in Brussels.
This is an experimental format, so do please let know what you find most useful and suggestion for how we package the information.
All the best,
Glen Burridge is Executive Director of the European Federation of Geologists. Glen’s work with EFG draws on over 20 years of global experience spanning a broad range of organisations and cultures. This includes as a front-line project geoscientist and, ultimately, management advisor on large oil & gas projects, where he became a trusted voice on technical assurance, project governance and capability development.
As a keynote speaker and workshop organiser, he has tackled topics as diverse as novel ways of viewing resource exploration risk and the future of geomechanics as a discipline, to the human factor in geomodelling and the importance of intercultural competence in management.
He has also driven several cross-industry efforts concerning the handling of risk and the use of geological models, including several pioneering conferences for the Geological Society of London.
Glen holds a Bachelors of Science in Geophysics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and a Masters of Science and Diplôme d’ingénieur in Petroleum Geoscience from IFP’s Ecole du Pétrole et des Moteurs in Paris.
He is a member of the Institute of Directors, Chatham House, European Society of Association Executives, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Platinum member of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers.