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Subsea Expo

The voice of the UK subsea industry

Global Underwater Hub to Propel UK to the Top of the 'Blue Economy'

Global Underwater Hub to Propel UK to the Top of the 'Blue Economy'

03 May 2019

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

Bringing together underwater technologies from both industry and academia from up and down the country, the planned Global Underwater 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 UK already has a 40 per cent share of the global market in underwater engineering and is in prime position to capitalise 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.

Neil Gordon, Chief Executive of industry body Subsea UK said: "Subsea UK is delighted the Prime Minister has announced the UK Government’s support for a Global Underwater Hub in Aberdeen. The UK leads the world in underwater engineering and technology, with more than 1,000 companies and 45,000 jobs across the country.

"While Aberdeen is home to the majority of underwater engineering and technology companies, there are significant clusters across the UK, including Scotland’s central belt, the North-East England and South of England, supporting a range of sectors from marine renewables to oil and gas to defence.

"As the industry body for the UK underwater industry, Subsea UK represents more than 300 industry members. We have been central to the development of the Hub concept, working in partnership with industry, governments and academia, and we’ll continue to drive it forward.

The UK has the competitive edge and has a wonderful opportunity to gain a larger share of this growing market. "Today’s announcement recognises the tremendous scale and potential of underwater engineering and technology as a valuable, standalone industry sector. By creating a world-class Hub, we can ensure the UK remains the global centre of expertise.”

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.”

Trevor Garlick, industry champion said: "The Hub will help UK companies win more business overseas, attract inward investment and develop the skills and technologies needed to increase our share – currently £8 billion – of a growing global market with a gross annual spend expected to reach c.£100 billion by 2035.

"The multi-sector Hub will connect companies, universities and R&D institutions across the UK to leverage the collective strength of the UK’s underwater industries – from offshore renewables and oil and gas, to marine science and defence."

"We look forward to continuing to work closely with underwater engineering and technology companies, trade associations, academia, governments and regional agencies to develop a strong business case to take this exciting project forward.”