The Architectural Void of North Sea Energy Logistics
Energy logistics is the management and implementation of energy flows and their physical artefacts. This sector has perpetuated and profited from a spatial and conceptual void produced by national and corporate strategies in order to optimise logistical flows and to avoid larger societal debate. Offshore developments, in particular, take place far from the public eye and imagination though they form a core layer of the global petroleumscape. This article explores the history and development of the industrialised void of the North Sea and how energy logistics, strongly determined by the oil and gas industries, shields its presence while at the same time shaping and structuring the built environment at sea and across dedicated land-sea thresholds. Throughout this process, it persistently avoids the emergence of architectural form. We propose that the concept of blankness, first formulated by Roberto Mangabiera Unger and further discussed by Jeffrey Kipnis, is a useful framework for interrogating the architecture of energy logistics, its apparent invisibility, and global impact. For both Unger and Kipnis, blankness signified a potential liberation from established norms, opening the way for new forms of democratic life and architectural expression. Such an interpretation of blankness could enable design professionals and the general public to reclaim architectural expression for the spaces left without meaning by logistics. In conclusion we argue for urgent architectural intervention beyond pure logistics and towards an integrated vision for the common space of the sea.
Bioconsultant Schuchardt & Scholle. ‘Environmental Impact Assessment Europipe II in Germany: Offshore & Onshore Section’. Environmental Impact Assessment. Client: Statoil Deutschland. Bremen, July 1998. https://www.equinor.com/content/dam/statoil/documents/impact-assessment/Statoil-Environmental Impact Assessment Europipe II July 1998.pdf.
Brenner, N. ‘Theses on Urbanization’. Public Culture 25, no. 1 69 (1 January 2013): 85–114. https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-1890477.
Brown, R.N. Rudmose. ‘Holderness and the Humber’. In Great Britain: Essays in Regional Geography, 812–21. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1928.
BSH. ‘Anlage Zur Verordnung Über Die Raumordnung in Der Deutschen Ausschließlichen Wirtschaftszone in Der Nordsee (AWZ Nordsee-ROV) Vom 21. September 2009’. Bundesanzeiger Verlag GmbH, 21 September 2009. https://www.bsh.de/DE/THEMEN/Offshore/Meeresraumplanung/Nationale_Raumplanung/_Anlagen/Downloads/Raumordungsplan_Textteil_Nordsee.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=1.
Couling, Nancy. ‘Formats of Extended Urbanisation in Ocean Space’. In Emerging Urban Spaces- a Planetary Perspective, edited by Philipp Horn, Paola Alfaro d’Alençon, and Ana Claudia Duarte Carduso, XII, 219. The Urban Book Series. Springer International Publishing, 2018.
———. ‘Legislation of the Sea: Spatializing a New Urban Realm.’ In ARCH+ Legislating Architecture, 225:120–23. Aachen: ARCH+ Verlag GmbH, 2016. http://www.archplus.net/home/archiv/artikel/46,4676,1,0.html.
———. ‘Urbanization of the Ocean; Extractive Geometries in the Barents Sea’. In Infrastructure Space. LaFargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction. Berlin: Ruby Press, 2016.
Duerfahrd, Lance. ‘A Scale That Exceeds Us: The BP Gulf Spill Footage and Photographs of Edward Burtynsky’. Imaginations- Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies . Revue d’études Interculturelles de l’image 3–2, no. Sighting Oil (6 September 2012): 115–29.
Engel, Henk, Esther Gramsbergen, Henk Hoeks, and Reinout Rutte, eds. OverHolland 10: The Transformation of the Landscape of the Western Region of the Netherlands (9th to 21st Century)’. OverHolland- Architectural Studies for Dutch Cities, 10/11. Amsterdam: Sun Publishers or Faculty of Architecture TU Delft, 2011. http://www.bk.tudelft.nl/en/current/agenda/event/detail/boekpresentatie-overholland-1011/.
European Commission. ‘Eurostat Statistics Explained- Maritime Ports Freight and Passengeer Statistics’, March 2018. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Maritime_ports_freight_and_passenger_statistics.
European Committee (UK). ‘The North Sea under Pressure: Is Regional Marine Co-Operation the Answer?’ HL Paper. London: House of Lords, 17 March 2015. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldselect/ldeucom/137/137.pdf.
Gabriel Dupuy. Urban Networks-Network Urbanism. Edited by Jeroen van Schaick and Ina T. Klassen. Amsterdam: Techne Press, 2008.
Ghosn, Rania. ‘Energy as a Spatial Project’. In Landscapes of Energy, 7–10. New Geographies 2. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009.
Gorman, D. G., and J. Neilson, eds. Decommissioning Offshore Structures. Environmental Engineering. London; New York: Springer, 1998.
Grann, Henning. ‘Europipe Development Project: Managing a Pipeline Project in a Complex and Sensitive Environment’. In The Industrial Green Game, 154–64. Washington DC: National Academy Press, 1997. https://www.nap.edu/read/4982/chapter/14.
Gugger, Harry, Nancy Couling, and Aurélie Blanchard, eds. Barents Lessons. Teaching and Research in Architecture. Zürich: Park Books, 2012.
Harvey, David. The Urban Experience. Oxford: Blackwell, 1989.
Hein, Carola. ‘Analysing the Palimpsestic Petroleumscape of Rotterdam’. Global Urban History Blog (blog), 28 September 2016. https://globalurbanhistory.com/2016/09/28/analyzing-the-palimpsestic-petroleumscape-of-rotterdam/.
———. ‘Between Oil & Water: The Logistical Petroleumscape’. In The Petropolis of Tomorrow, 228–37. New York: Actar Publishers and Architecture at Rice, 2013.
———. ‘Global Landscapes of Oil’. In Landscapes of Energy, 7–10. New Geographies 2. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009.
———. ‘Oil Spaces: The Global Petroleumscape in the Rotterdam/The Hague Area’. Journal of Urban History, 13 February 2018, 0096144217752460. https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144217752460.
———. ‘Old Refineries Rarely Die’. Canadian Journal of History forthcoming (2018).
———. ‘Port Cities: Nodes in the Global Petroleumscape between Sea and Land’. Technosphere Magazine, 15 April 2017. /p/Port-Cities-Nodes-in-the-Global-Petroleumscape-between-Sea-and-Land-mpc8kjktvGaTxxDq3tfvF7.
———. ‘Temporalities of the Port, the Waterfront and the Port City | PORTUS - Port- City Relationship and Urban Waterfront Developmdent’. PORTUS: RETE Online Magazine, June 2015. http://portusonline.org/temporalities-of-the-port-the-waterfront-and-the-port-city.
Hein, Carola, and Mohamad Sedighi. ‘Iran’s Global Petroleumscape: The Role of Oil in Shaping Khuzestan and Tehran’. Architectural Theory Review 21, no. 3 (1 September 2016): 349–74. https://doi.org/10.1080/13264826.2018.1379110.
Julian Manning, BVaker Hughes Process & Pipeline Services. ‘2 Nations, 1 Basin- Same Challenges’. presented at the Offshore Energy Conference 2017, Amsterdam, 10 October 2017.
K. Chapman. North Sea Oil and Gas: A Geographical Perspective. Problems in Modern Geography. Newton Abbot a.o: David & Charles, 1976.
Kaika, Maria, and Erik Swyngedouw. ‘Fetishizing the Modern City: The Phantasmagoria of Urban Technological Networks’. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 24, no. 1 (2000): 120–138. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.00239.
Kipnis, Jeffrey., and Alexander. Maymind. A Question of Qualities: Essays in Architecture. Writing Architecture Series. Cambridge, Mass; MIT Press, 2013.
Lawrence, Felicity, and Harry Davies. ‘Revealed: BP’s Close Ties with the UK Government’. The Guardian. 21 May 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/20/revealed-bps-close-ties-with-the-uk-government.
Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford, UK etc: Blackwell, 1991.
Mangabiera Unger, Roberto. ‘The Better Futures of Architecture’. In Anyone, edited by Cynthia C. Davidson. New York, New York: Rizzoli, 1991.
Mark E. J. Newman. Networks: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
North Sea Commission. ‘CPMR North Sea Commission – Integration Approach to Sustainable Development in the North Sea Region’. Brussels & Gothenburg: North Sea Commission, 27 November 2017. http://cpmr-northsea.org/download/cpmr-north-sea-commission-integration-approach-to-sustainable-development-in-the-north-sea-region/.
Pardo. ‘Speech to the United Nations General Assembly 22nd Session, Official Records.’ United Nations, 11 January 1967. http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/pardo_ga1967.pdf.
Port of Rotterdam. ‘Throughput Port of Rotterdam 2017’. Statistics. Rotterdam: Port of Rotterdam, 2018. https://www.portofrotterdam.com/en/news-and-press-releases/container-throughput-drives-growth-in-rotterdam.
Pye, Michael. The Edge of the World: How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are. London: Penguin Books, 2015.
Statistica. ‘Number of Offshore Rigs Worldwide as of January 2018 by Region’. Statistics. London; New York: Statistica Ltd., 2018. https://www.statista.com/statistics/279100/number-of-offshore-rigs-worldwide-by-region/.
Steinberg, Philip E. The Social Construction of the Ocean. Cambridge Studies in International Relations 78. Cambridge [etc.]: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Directive 2014/89/EU (2014). http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2014.257.01.0135.01.ENG%20.
Timmermans, Willem, J. ‘The Future of Offshore Pipelining’. Offshore Magazine 62, no. 6 (6 January 2002).
UN. ‘UNCLOS 1982’, 1982. http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/ convention_overview_convention.htm.
UNESCO, and IOC. ‘Marine Spatial Planning Programme’. Accessed 3 June 2018. http://msp.ioc-unesco.org/.
‘Università Iuav Di Venezia - Erasmus Mundus Master Course in Maritime Spatial Planning’, 3 July 2018. http://www.iuav.it/Didattica1/master/master---I1/Erasmus-Mu/.
White, Mason, and Lola Shepherd. ‘New New Deal: Infrastructures on Life Support’. In Infrastructure as Architecture: Designing Composite Networks, edited by Katrina Stoll and Scott Lloyd. Berlin: Jovis, 2010.
Whitfield, Matthew. ‘Grimsby Fishdocks- an Assessment of Character and Significance’. Historic England Kasbah Report. Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust, April 2009. http://www.ggift.co.uk/historic-england-kasbah-report/.
Wilson, Sheena, and Andrew Pendakis, eds. ‘Sight, Site, Cite. Oil in the Field of Vision’. Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, Sighting Oil, 3, no. 2 (9 June 2012). http://www3.csj.ualberta.ca/imaginations/?page_id=4020.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.