The ground-breaking ceremony for NEL’s new Centre of Excellence (CoE) for subsea development took place in September. The spade-wielding honours were carried out by Michael Valente, CEO of TUV SUD UK’s overall business, Oliver Jacob, CEO Western Europe at TUV SUD, and Stephen Lewis, Managing Director of HFD Property Group, which is undertaking the work.
“Starting the building work of the CoE brings to life our mission to help industry optimise all aspects of production through accurate measurement,” says NEL Managing Director, Brian Millington. “It also supports Scotland’s international standing within the global oil and gas sector.”
Construction began in September and the base building is anticipated to be completed by April of next year. The extensive fit-out needed to complete the facility will then commence.
The cutting-edge performance of the equipment that will be installed in the building, means that the structure must have impressive performance capabilities. It will feature 100kN/m² high-load floors, 12m-high eaves, overhead cranes and a dedicated service yard.
At the heart of the new CoE will be a £1.45million, full production scale separator. This specialist pressure vessel is 33m long and 2.5m diameter with an operating weight of 270 tonnes. It will provide a range of test and research facilities with capabilities beyond anything available globally.
The start of the work on the new CoE has generated significant press coverage in both the Industry Press and on-line. Progress on the facility was also discussed at September’s Offshore Europe Exhibition, when Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish Government Minister for Business and Innovation, visited NEL’s stand (see associated article).
TUV SUD AG is investing £11.1 million in the project, which is the largest capital investment to date in the company’s UK business. This money is being provided alongside £4.9 million of research and development funding from Scottish Enterprise.
“This is a fantastic milestone in the Centre’s development,” says Linda Hanna, Managing Director of Strategy and Sectors at Scottish Enterprise. “It will enable Scotland to maximise its competitiveness in multiphase flow measurement and support the sector to take further advantage of opportunities in the £50 billion global subsea market.”
Designed to provide a new, best-in-class, high-pressure multiphase flow test facility, with a test range beyond anything currently available anywhere else in the world, the CoE is focussed predominantly on the £50-billion-per-annum global subsea sector. It will facilitate company-led industrial projects and product development, hands-on industry training and academic research. Creating at least 17 new jobs and safeguarding a further 82, the centre will futureproof the delivery of innovative technical services to the oil and gas production market for the next 25 years.