Aberdeen underwater engineering hub gets £1.3M boost

According to the UK’s latest spending review, the government is backing global underwater engineering hub in Aberdeen with £1.3 million.

Trevor Garlick, chair of Opportunity North East Energy and the Global Underwater Hub

Bringing together underwater technologies from both industry and academia, the planned hub should reinforce the UK’s status in the field and build on expertise in subsea robotics, remotely-operated underwater vehicles and maritime support vessels.

Seizing the opportunities in the blue economy will also help the UK’s oil and gas sector diversify and support the UK move away from fossil fuels towards clean growth.

To remind, Former-Prime Minister Theresa May initially announced the concept in May last year.

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The UK subsea sector could play a crucial role in helping deliver net-zero targets by creating a thriving blue economy across multiple industries, from offshore renewables to aquaculture and defence to hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage.

To realise this potential, Opportunity North East, Subsea UK, Scottish Enterprise and the Oil and Gas Authority have worked together to create a global underwater hub that will connect and grow the UK’s underwater sector at home and overseas.

Led by a team in Aberdeen, the Hub will also have a physical presence in England. It will provide global market insight and cross-sector sharing and collaboration, with skills and company support also identified as key areas within the proposal.

Trevor Garlick, chair of Opportunity North East Energy and the Global Underwater Hub, said:

“For decades the North Sea oil and gas industry has been recognised as a pioneer in underwater technology, positioning the UK as the leader in the subsea engineering sector with 40 per cent of market share.

“This latest funding boost will accelerate growth and innovation of UK businesses by building on our existing strengths, accelerating the energy transition, and creating a step change in the development of technology and services for this prosperous sector.

“In addition, it brings huge export opportunities for the supply chain, creates new jobs and anchors skills in the region, as well as supporting a range of sectors including oil and gas, offshore wind, marine, renewables, aquaculture, and defence.

“Having already welcomed the news of the Scottish Government’s Energy Transition Fund (ETF) earlier this year, which will also help fund the hub, we now look forward to accelerating this project. The energy supply chain, Subsea UK and other trade associations, governments, academia and regional development agencies will work to create a truly global and collaborative facility, that will drive innovation in new underwater solutions, and support the shift towards net zero.”