Offshore oscillating water columns (OWC) represent one of the most promising forms of wave energy converters. The hydrodynamic performance of such converters heavily depends on their interactions with ocean waves; therefore, understanding these interactions is essential. In this paper, a fully nonlinear 2D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model based on RANS equations and VOF surface capturing scheme is implemented to carry out wave energy balance analyses for an offshore OWC. The numerical model is well validated against published physical measurements including; chamber differential air pressure, chamber water level oscillation and vertical velocity, overall wave energy extraction efficiency, reflected and transmitted waves, velocity and vorticity fields (PIV measurements). Following the successful validation work, an extensive campaign of numerical tests is performed to quantify the relevance of three design parameters, namely incoming wavelength, wave height and turbine damping to the device hydrodynamic performance and wave energy conversion process. All of the three investigated parameters show important effects on the wave–pneumatic energy conversion chain. In addition, the flow field around the chamber's front wall indicates areas of energy losses by stronger vortices generation than the rear wall.