Offshore taskforce: Making data available, visible and mobile

Comment by Elisa Evans

Digital and Data Associate

Energy Systems Catapult and Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult are running the Offshore Energy Digital and Data Strategy Taskforce as a collaborative effort to create a digital and data strategy spanning the offshore sector.

It will reference and build on previous initiatives such as the Energy Data Taskforce (EDTF) and the recently launched final report from the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce (EDiT).

Due to the diverse nature of the sector, there are a range of energy transition challenges that must be addressed. For established technologies like wind, the focus is on scaling construction and operation; for fossil fuels, improving efficiency across the asset lifecycle to achieve decarbonisation targets and successfully electrify production operations; and for emerging markets and technologies, e.g. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), data will be critical in demonstrating the viability of business models as this area evolves. Data and digital solutions will be a key enabling factor in the journey towards a digitalised and integrated offshore energy sector.

Industry engagement event

We were pleased to host the second industry event on 14 December 2021 which was attended by a diverse group of stakeholders from across the sector. In the interactive workshop we discussed the latest recommendations in each of the key areas highlighted below.

Maximising the value of data

Our principal recommendation is to create a framework for improving data management and coordination by encouraging the adoption of Ofgem’s Data Best Practice (DBP) guidance. This was initially developed for the onshore energy sector through engagement with over 180 industry stakeholders, and has since been implemented by Ofgem as part of RIIO-2 licence conditions. This will soon also likely apply to onshore distribution networks from April 2023.

The DBP guidance uses the ‘Presumed Open’ principle, which seeks to pivot thinking from “I can’t open this data” to “If possible, how could I open this data to gain benefits”.

Figure 1: The Data Spectrum classifies datasets on scale from freely available, non-restricted 'Open' data to limited use or availability 'Shared' or 'Closed' data

Figure 1: The Data Spectrum classifies datasets on scale from freely available, non-restricted 'Open' data to limited use or availability 'Shared' or 'Closed' data

The case for Open Data is well understood and by using the Data Spectrum and other tools such as the Data Triage Playbook, data owners can assess the suitability of datasets for open publication, mitigate potential risks, and release data in a controlled manner.

Whilst not all data is suited to open publication, moving towards a more ‘presumed open’ approach by default presents many opportunities:

  • Creates an ecosystem of used data across organisations, allowing others to discover or create new products and services.
  • New or novel uses for data can help build clear commercial cases. A wealth of data already exists but is not being fully exploited due to difficulties discovering it.
  • Open data can deliver overall cost efficiencies as time and resource can be managed more effectively between organisations.
  • Enables easier integration with other vendors’ data and provides an increasing set of data available for your own use.
  • Others can provide insight into your Data Assets, supporting better decision making and strategy.

Taken in their entirety, these principles outline the fundamental elements of a collaborative and process driven approach to data management. By adopting these principles, a common data landscape will be more achievable, whilst enabling easier integration with onshore energy systems that are already building on this approach.

Data visibility and mobility

Imagine if the products and services you offered could generate commercial interest without needing to signpost it to others. If selected Data Assets were discoverable, searchable, and easy to understand they could be put to further innovative use by the wider sector.

To enable this cross-sector visibility, we are proposing the creation of a data catalogue, which will use metadata aggregation and search tools to provide a better view the data landscape. This component can also be used to help connect the many established data portals and repositories that exist within the sector, further improving the use of existing data assets.

Happening upon potentially lucrative Data Assets is one thing; to transfer and use these for another purpose is something else. In addition to the data catalogue, we recommend the development of the Data Sharing Fabric to improve data mobility and interoperability. The Data Sharing Fabric implements the digital infrastructure for more efficient data transactions, including the common interfaces, protocols, and governance processes. The Data Sharing Fabric has been successfully demonstrated by Icebreaker One resulting in the Open Energy project which is currently in pilot and could be the basis for further development.

Figure 2: A high-level schematic of the key 'Data Sharing Fabric' components

Figure 2: A high-level schematic of the key 'Data Sharing Fabric' components

In addition to the development of common digital infrastructure, aligning data licences, simplifying data sharing agreements and creating industry specific data glossaries are all key components of improved data mobility.

What next?

We’re hosting the third, and final, industry event on 9th February 2022 – and we’d like to encourage any interested parties join us for the chance to directly engage with the project team and provide input on the proposed recommendations. Please register below.

Offshore Energy Digital and Data Strategy Industry Feedback Event


Wednesday 9 February 2022


9:30am - 12pm

Map Pin


Duration: 2.5hrs

Register now

Offshore Energy Digital and Data Strategy Taskforce

Visit the Offshore Energy Digital and Data Strategy Taskforce page for more information, updates and outputs from the project's activities.

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