US offshore drilling giant Transocean announced on Tuesday that it has purchased a minority interest in Ocean Minerals, a company exploring seabed resources for critical energy transition minerals.

Transocean will work on the technology and services required to collect nodules from the seabed on a project in the Cook Islands.

Ocean Minerals’ affiliate Moana Minerals was awarded a license by the Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Authority to explore polymetallic nodules in the area for minerals such as cobalt, nickel, copper, manganese, and rare earth metals.

“The technical challenges associated with the efficient recovery of deep-sea polymetallic nodules represent an opportunity for Transocean to leverage our unique offshore expertise in support of the rapidly emerging energy storage market,” said Transocean chief executive Jeremy Thigpen.

“A mixture of all energy sources will be required to meet future global energy demands, and our work with Ocean Minerals is another way for Transocean to continue to provide essential offshore energy services.”

Peter Bryant, managing director of strategy firm Clareo and a thought leader on energy transition, told Upstream that mining for critical minerals such copper and nickel will have to scale up drastically to support the renewable energy supply chain.

Peter Bryant, managing director of strategy firm Clareo and thought leader on energy transition, told Upstream that mining for critical minerals like copper and nickel will have to scale up drastically to support the renewable energy supply chain.

Currently, about 21 million tonnes per annum of copper is produced from mining, and Bryant said that would have to double by 2050 to address the growing supply chain of renewables.

“There are only about four or five new mining projects coming up in the next few years, which might increase production by a million tonnes. There are no other major copper projects on the planner,” Bryant said, even though he anticipates projects to take up to 15 years to be developed.

Are you missing out on ACCELERATE?
Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry's energy transition from ACCELERATE, the free weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge.