From Oil to Renewables: Will Brindley’s Journey

Image of Apollo's senior naval architect Will Brindley


The energy sector is undergoing a major transformation, aiming for net-zero emissions and tackling climate change. Jobs once focused on fossil fuel extraction are changing, opening up new opportunities in renewable energy and sustainability. This shift is not just about industries; it’s also about personal and professional growth.

In this blog post, we talk to our senior naval architect, Will Brindley, who shares his journey and insights. With a background in naval architecture and Offshore Engineering from Strathclyde University, Will started his career in oil and gas, working on rigs and FPSOs.

Will’s story shows how important oil and gas expertise is in advancing wind energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and hydrogen technologies. For a successful energy transition, we need skilled people from our sector. Will’s experience highlights the valuable contributions that oil and gas professionals bring to the renewable energy field.

What motivated you to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy?

The motivation stemmed from a desire for change and a broader perspective. Despite a rewarding career in oil and gas, I sought opportunities beyond the sector.

Following a stint with Technip Umbilicals, the birth of my daughter inspired a re-evaluation of priorities, leading me to explore opportunities in renewables.

While initially challenging due to the niche nature of my skillset, I embraced the transition, using my expertise in umbilicals and cables to navigate the renewable energy landscape.

Which transferable skills did you find most valuable, and how did you adapt to the renewable energy sector?

The transition highlighted the importance of adaptability and a willingness to learn. While my mooring experience initially seemed irrelevant, the emergence of floating wind farms rendered cable expertise invaluable. Lessons learned from oil and gas proved transferable, highlighting the parallels between the two sectors.

Embracing new technologies and methodologies enabled me to succeed in the renewable energy sector, bridging the gap between traditional practices and innovative solutions.

One of the most valuable skills I found was my proficiency with Orcaflex, a software widely used in the oil and gas industry for dynamic analysis of marine systems such as mooring lines and risers. While initially developed for applications in oil and gas, Orcaflex proved to be highly relevant in the renewable energy sector, particularly in the design and analysis of cables for floating wind farms.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

The transition posed significant challenges, especially the need to reinvent established practices within the renewable energy sector.

Overcoming the unwillingness of conventional methodologies required a shift in mindset, challenging perceptions and advocating for the integration of proven technologies from oil and gas.

The absence of a standardised cost-cutting qualification process hindered progress, highlighting the importance of addressing industry-wide barriers to innovation. However, initiatives such as Catapult Fit 4 Renewables, which Apollo has completed, offer promising solutions, bridging the gap between sectors and encouraging collaboration.

What advice would you give to engineers considering a similar transition?

Embrace the opportunity for growth and innovation that renewable energy offers. While the transition may entail initial sacrifices, the long-term rewards are immeasurable.

Don’t hesitate to explore resources such as YouTube tutorials and industry guides (Guide to a Floating Wind Farm and Guide to an Offshore Wind Farm), equipping yourself with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in this exciting landscape.

By embracing change and using your expertise, you can play a key role in shaping the future of sustainable energy.

Embrace the future of energy with Apollo

Will’s journey underscores the vital role that oil and gas professionals play in the renewable energy transition.

His story is a testament to the power of adaptability and the willingness to embrace new challenges. The skills honed in the fossil fuel industry are not only transferable but essential in driving forward innovations in wind energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and hydrogen technologies.

Explore opportunities at Apollo, where expertise in oil and gas fuels the transition to a sustainable tomorrow.