Decom’s first Decom week in the North Sea – a retrospective
When I joined Decom North Sea in April, one of the first things I was informed about was the next Decom Week which would take place in May, essentially replacing the existing Decom Offshore event, which had lasted almost 10 years. .
There are significant differences between the two events, but the one that impressed me the most is the most obvious: Decom Offshore was a one-day event. In contrast, and as the name suggests, Decom Week provided five days of relevant information, panels and conversations with over 180 speakers, hundreds of delegates, and an exhibit featuring nearly 90 companies.
While I never doubted that Decom Week was going to be a big success, my initial thought was that it sounded like an extremely ambitious project – and it was. A testament to the dynamism of my predecessor, Will Rowley, on the board and our small but well-trained management team, the first Decom week was unlike anything DNS had undertaken before and it worked brilliantly.
With the membership opportunity as a top priority, the vast program truly mirrored the title of the event, “The Future of Decommissioning”. By focusing on all aspects of decommissioning, delegates were able to delve into renewables, marine, salvage and nuclear energy, as well as more “traditional” oil and gas. With technical discussions, demonstrations and thematic discussions, the information provided by speakers and delegates was useful and pragmatic – including the most comprehensive update to date on decommissioning projects.
An international flavor
Over the past year, Will has been an active promoter of the international opportunities available to our members, and it was this element of Decom Week that struck me as the most significant change in direction. The holistic view we gained from some of the biggest players in the industry was quite exceptional, with all international guests sharing the opportunities ahead and making it very clear that the UK dismantling expertise is exactly what they need.
Our delegates came from 27 different countries – a record for a DNS event and a real broadening of the horizons for our networking sessions. Of course, much of this can be attributed to the virtual nature of the event, surely one of the bright spots to have arisen in 2020-21. And with 86% of those purchasing tickets to attend the event, it was also clear that the more flexible online forum made it easier for delegates to access. We have also noticed a real increase in delegate interaction with panelists, which has been beneficial to both audience and contributors, and again likely attributable to the virtual environment.
The annual Decom Awards were a highlight of the week for many, marking a dynamic end to the entire event and introducing the winners to a wider and more international audience than ever before. The caliber of finalists this year was second to none, with real innovation and commitment evident through the nominations.
Here is the future
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with comments crediting the great mix of speakers and topics covered. Taking this into account and thinking about the unprecedented levels of engagement throughout the week, we plan to host a 2022 hybrid event. By streaming the events live, we will expand our locations and ensure that everyone is accessible worldwide. This is a model that we intend to continue in the months and years to come, especially with the launch of the Decom North Sea Academy and the various Decom Live events which are expected to start at the end of the summer.
So here is a busy year and plenty of opportunities for our members as we approach Decom week 2022. To find out more about the work we do, visit www.decomnorthsea.com