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STL Urges Subsea Sector to Promote its Capabilities around the UK

STL Urges Subsea Sector to Promote its Capabilities around the UK

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18 July 2014

The Managing Director of Subsea Technologies Limited (STL), Drummond Lawson, has urged subsea businesses in the North East to do more to raise the profile of the industry across the UK.

He made the remarks during a visit by Lord Provost George Adam and Subsea UK Chief Executive, Neil Gordon, to STL’s premises.

The Lord Provost George Adam with Subsea UK Chief Executive, Neil Gordon, at STL’s premises.

The visit marks an assessment day by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Following a lengthy submission process, in which the whole business was evaluated, STL has been recognised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for its business processes and innovations.
The company has been shortlisted for the Best SME Award at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Manufacturing Excellence Awards. Of the 21 finalists in all categories, STL is the only firm based in Scotland and one of two operating in the global oil and gas sector.
The assessment day served to evaluate STL’s performance in order to judge whether the subsea well intervention and well control specialist is the overall winner in its category.

Mr Lawson said, "STL’s management team – Chairman, Mark Vorenkamp, Technical Director, Dave McKay and I – are delighted that STL is the only Scottish business to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award. As members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers it is an honour to be recognised for our products and processes.

"However, we know that there is a wealth of technical and engineering capability in the North East of Scotland and we’d like to use this opportunity to raise awareness of this expertise across the UK.

"The oil and gas sector is one of the UK’s biggest manufacturing success stories. The majority of the UK oil and gas sector’s technology and infrastructure is designed and manufactured in the UK and a great deal of industry talent is developed here too. As a result, many oil and gas rich areas around the world look to the UK for support from its technologies and personnel.

"This year marks the launch of a new, streamlined online process for the Institution’s Manufacturing Excellence Awards and it couldn’t come at a better time. In recent years manufacturing has been portrayed as a dwindling contributor to the UK economy, so it’s been good to see record growth rates in the past eight months.

"The Manufacturing Excellence Awards are raising the profile of manufacturing in all sectors across the UK. However, more can still be done to raise awareness of the contribution the oil and gas sector has made to the increase in the UK’s manufacturing rates and it’s up to politicians, businesses and industry bodies like the Institution and Subsea UK to work together to make it happen.”

Mr Lawson also believes that if individuals and businesses across the UK had a better understanding of the skills and talent the industry requires, it might be possible to improve the skills shortage it faces.

Mr Lawson said, "At STL, we regularly find it difficult to recruit the engineering talent we require. The skills gap is a very real issue for our business and greater awareness of the sector as a whole, across a wider geographical area and multiple demographics, could help to alleviate this.

"In particular, oil and gas businesses need to build stronger connections with educational institutions, like schools and universities. If young people across the UK understand the complexity of the industry and the exciting opportunities it presents at an early stage, they will be better placed to make decisions about their course choices and university place, if they do wish to join the sector.”

Neil Gordon, Chief Executive at Subsea UK, said, "The British subsea sector is world renowned for its innovation, technology, and skillset which has formed a crucial part of oil and gas extraction for over forty years in the UK Continental Shelf. The North Sea was the test-bed for a host of technologies that continue to dominate the market to this day. Some of the most sophisticated and successful technology has been developed by UK firms and the size of our industry, coupled with our diversification and willingness to embrace new challenges, means that we rightly deserve our position as a world-leader. Subsea Technologies represents the vision that sets our industry apart and I congratulate them on being shortlisted for this prestigious award.

"At £8.9 billion, the British subsea industry captures almost half the global market share and enjoys healthy overseas sales; UK exports are valued at £4.3 billion, equivalent to 48% of the total value of the UK sector. If we continue to grow at this rate, the sector could be worth a staggering £11billion by 2016. However, as Mr Lawson points out, there needs to be a concerted and joined up approach across academia, government and industry if we are to achieve that goal.”

The Lord Provost and Neil Gordon were given a demonstration of STL’s award-winning SLIC connector during the visit.

Christopher Simpson, Chairman of the Manufacturing Excellence Awards Executive, said, "The work of STL demonstrates the huge skills, innovation and success in UK manufacturing.
"Apart from the opportunity to win a prestigious MX Award, it is also great to see STL taking advantage of the free expert advice and benchmarking provided as part of the MX business improvement programme.”