UK: Subsea Industry Key for Economic Future of North East

The Subsea North East conference and exhibition, which took place at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, focused on the part technology and greater collaboration across industry will play in creating a more sustainable and efficient oil & gas sector in the UK, but also around the world.

Subsea North East, which is the regional advocacy group for North East England’s subsea industry, and NOF Energy hosted the event, which was attended by more than 240 delegates from across the UK.

Speakers at the conference included Subsea UK Chief Executive Neil Gordon, who emphasised the need for wholesale behavioural change within the industry and the importance of greater collaboration between operators and the supply chain community to ensure the sector can operate more effectively within current and future market conditions.

The sharing of knowledge and collaboration was highlighted by a unique session, which took place, for the first time in the North East sector’s history on the day before the conference. Subsea North East and NOF Energy brought together the North East’s five universities, the first time this has happened in the field of subsea, to discuss the opportunities for academia and industry to work together to create new technology-led solutions.

Representatives from the universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside came together with executives from the operator and supply chain communities to increase awareness among the universities of the sector’s requirements and challenges while also focusing on the contribution that can be made by the North East’s academic institutions.

The session has already helped forge greater relationships between North East industry and academia, which will lead to future projects enhancing the region’s strong position on the subsea industry.

Andrew Hodgson, Chairman of Subsea North East, said: “The North East of England is in a prime position to affect change in the oil & gas industry. The subsea sector in particular has an integral role to play as it is a hotbed of technology developments and innovation, which is the essential element required to drive evolution in the industry.

“Technology is the key to helping the industry come out of this transformational period as a more sustainable and effective oil & gas sector. The industry is genuinely looking at increased efficiencies that can be achieved through technological change more than just by addressing commercial structures.”

Hodgson added: “The subsea industry is also key to the economic future of the North East. In ten years it has not only helped put the region on the map for its technology-led solutions, it has become fundamental to the economic regeneration of the North East. The fact that subsea has been identified as one of the four smart specialisations within the North East’s economic plan, only serves to prove the value and importance of the sector to the region.”

George Rafferty, Chief Executive of NOF Energy, said: “The conference was a tremendously valuable opportunity to demonstrate the collaborative ethos that is growing across the industry and its supply chain.

“From bringing the region’s five universities together for the first time to engage with operators and subsea supply chain specialists through to lively sessions of networking in the exhibition area, the region’s subsea sector embodies the desire the industry requires to create a technology-led sustainable and efficient market.”

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