IRO 50 years: embracing the energy transition, celebrating the future!

24-06-2022 IRO news

IRO 50 years: embracing the energy transition, celebrating the future!

Finally yesterday the 50th anniversary of IRO could be celebrated in the Fokker Terminal in The Hague! The attendance was large with over 380 guests and with the warm and sunny weather the atmosphere was good right away. The appointment of Mark Heine as the new IRO chairman and the presentation of the Award of Excellence to Pieter Heerema made it a true celebration.

The day was led by the enthusiastic day chairman team, Charlotte Roodenburg and Ruben de Nie. The program put together by IRO & Young IRO was full of inspiring speakers. The provocative statements in between kept those present on their toes. The red/green cards offered a solution to wave some coolness!

Pieter van Oord kicked off with his last speech as IRO chairman. “There is reason for optimism about the future. Our industry matters. We must implement the energy policy that is made in The Hague.”

Sandor Gaastra, Director-General for Climate and Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, shed light on the energy transition in the North Sea. “In the Dutch part of the North Sea, there is still twice as much room for offshore wind as the current high ambition. A few things are essential for offshore wind: the business case, the pace, sufficient people and fit within the ecological boundaries of the North Sea.”

Edwin Verdonk, EVP Development & Subsurface, Shell, talked about the role of technology & innovation in the energy transition. “As an innovation center, the offshore industry has delivered a great deal to ‘BV Nederland’, both financially and in terms of employment and energy security.”

René Peters, Energy expert TNO and also IRO board member, depicted the importance of offshore energy in the current European gas crisis.

Handover of IRO chairmanship Pieter van Oord to Mark Heine

A memorable moment was the handover of the IRO chairmanship from Pieter van Oord to Mark Heine, CEO of Fugro. Pieter has fulfilled the role of ‘figurehead’ for more than 10 years, represented our members and guided IRO into the energy transition. We are happy and honored that another CEO of an important offshore core company is our chairman, and we welcome Mark with open arms!

As a thank you for 15 years of board membership, of which 10 years as chairman, Pieter received an antique 17th century nautical chart from Mark. Mark also had a surprise for Pieter: he made him an honorary member of IRO and presented him with the matching silver lapel pin. In addition, Edward Heerema was also made an honorary member. Former IRO chairman Gert-Jan Kramer, who had already been made an honorary member when he stepped down, also received a silver pin.


During the energetic subsessions that followed (sponsored by IRO members TWD, Van Oord and Heerema Marine Contractors), the guests could be inspired by the speakers Mark Tuitert (Olympic skating champion), Tom Touber (former COO Volvo Ocean Race) and Ramon Vullings (Cross-industry innovation expert).

And the winner is…Pieter Heerema!

After the sessions, the guests gathered for the presentation of the IRO Award of Excellence. None other than Pieter Heerema of Heerema Marine Contractors was awarded this prestigious prize by former winner Joop Roodenburg of Huisman.
The jury praises Pieter Heerema for his daring. As helmsman of the Heerema Group, he has been the epitome of Dutch skills in the global offshore industry for decades. A dynamic entrepreneur who, with his company Heerema Marine Contractors, continues to put the Dutch Offshore Industry on the map worldwide with major developments in an always turbulent industry.

It was a great afternoon and evening! It was hot, but the speakers kept us focused and inspired. The drinks and the walking dinner outside provided a summery setting and the swinging party afterwards made the party complete.

In short: we embraced the energy transition and celebrated the future!


View the photo gallery or aftermovie here.