UK government backs plans for subsea engineering hub in Aberdeen

The UK government is backing industry plans for a multi-million pound underwater engineering hub in Aberdeen.

Illustration. Author: Alan Jamieson

The government said on Friday that, bringing together underwater technologies from both industry and academia from up and down the country, the planned Global Underwater Engineering Hub will reinforce the UK’s status as a global leader 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, the government added.

In the statement on Friday the government emphasized that he UK already has a 40% share of the global market in underwater engineering and is in prime position to capitalize on the industry that could be worth more than £100 billion globally by 2035.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Today I can announce that the UK government is backing plans for a new Global Underwater Hub in Aberdeen, helping established businesses thrive and creating new opportunities as the world makes the shift towards clean growth.

“Cementing Aberdeen’s place as an energy hub for offshore and renewables, the new hub would bring together areas of excellence in underwater technology under a single commercial vision. It would support industry, generate new skilled jobs and help us in the fight against climate change.”

Following this endorsement from the UK government, industry are now encouraged to develop a business case for the hub for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to review.

UK government Business Minister Andrew Stephenson added: “As the UK continues to transition towards a low-carbon economy, the Global Underwater Engineering Hub can help the region rise to the challenge of this transition, helping to anchor the UK’s expert engineering supply chain here in the north east of Scotland.

“It will build on the UK’s position as a world-leader in underwater technology and skills, which can be exported around the globe in growing sectors like renewables and decommissioning.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “Scotland is an exceptional place to do business and its engineering opportunities are world leading. The UK government supports Scottish industry and that is why we are backing the underwater engineering hub in Aberdeen.

“The UK government has shown time and again its commitment to the city’s oil and gas sector and now we are investing in the blue economy to ensure the region continues to prosper with jobs, investment and innovation.


Helping O&G sector diversify 


Building on the existing synergy between the oil and gas industry and renewable supply chains, the new hub will form part of a continued package of support from the UK government to help the UK’s oil and gas sector diversify.

This includes the establishment of the Oil and Gas Authority as an independent regulator for the UK Continental Shelf, £90 million towards the creation of the Oil and Gas Technology Center in Aberdeen and £45 million for seismic surveys in under developed areas of the UK Continental Shelf.

The UK’s oil and gas industry supports around 280,000 jobs, meets almost half of UK’s energy needs and has contributed £334 billion in taxes.

In March, the UK government also launched the offshore wind sector deal, an agreement with industry which aims to deliver a third of the UK’s electricity through offshore wind and seize on export opportunities that could be worth up to £2.6 billion by 2030.

In a separate statement on Friday, the Oil and Gas Authority said it was delighted by the UK Government’s announcement to back industry plans for a multi-million pound underwater engineering hub in Aberdeen which would help established businesses to thrive and create new opportunities as the world makes the shift towards a low carbon future.

Dr Andy Samuel, OGA chief executive, said: “The OGA is delighted to hear that the Prime Minister is supporting the principle of the proposed Global Underwater Hub. This is a great example of how the oil and gas sector’s world-class supply chain can contribute to a number of different industries, including those enabling a lower-carbon economy.

“The work that has helped get the proposals to this point has showcased great collaboration between both governments, industry, the Oil and Gas Authority, Scottish Enterprise and others.”

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