Spotlight on How North-East Englandís Subsea Cluster Can Survive

Source: 1/11/2021, Location: Europe

Subsea UK is spearheading a drive to showcase the capabilities of, and opportunities for, the underwater engineering sector in the North-east of England.

Working with the Subsea North-east Group, Subsea UK will be actively promoting the regionís subsea credentials in design, engineering, and manufacturing nationally and internationally.

At the same time, the industry body will be helping the regionís subsea companies capitalise on the opportunities opening up as a result of the energy transition and the growth in the blue economy.

A series of webinars, which will kick-off on January 26th, will provide market intelligence and shared learnings that will help these companies survive and thrive, safe-guarding and creating skilled engineering and manufacturing jobs.

This first webinar will set the scene highlighting the regionís energy strategy and how it will contribute to the Governmentís energy targets for the UK.

Andrew Clark, energy programme lead for the North East Local Energy Partnership (NELEP), said: "The North East of England is home to a suite of energy demonstration, testing and innovation which feeds into the cutting-edge of energy science and research. As the UK transitions to clean growth, responds to new consumer demands, and emerging energy challenges, our region can play a crucial role in de-risking and commercialising new technologies.

"Through our Energy for Growth programme, we work with partners to develop activity that positively impacts regional GVA and creates more and better jobs. We are therefore thrilled to collaborate with Subsea UK in raising the profile of our sector outwith the region and supporting our subsea companies.Ē

The regionís subsea sector, the largest cluster of underwater engineering and manufacturing for the offshore wind and oil and gas industries in England, comprises around 50 supply chain companies and supports 15,000 jobs. It is firmly embedded in the energy sector which is central to the regionís economy.

Mr Clark will be joined on this first webinar by Andy Williamson, Business Development Manager at the Port of Blyth, who will talk about opportunities for offshore energy focussed companies; James Young, Chief Technology Officer from JDR Cables, who will discuss the "Northern PowerhouseĒ and collaborative working; and Steven Rossiter, CTO of Tekmar Group, who will speak about delivering engineering analysis workloads at scale. The webinar will run from 3-5p.m.

Mike Jones, chair of Subsea North-east and chief executive of SMD, said: "Our region boasts an unrivalled expertise in underwater engineered products and services that are driving innovative solutions in offshore wind and oil and gas. Working with the national body for our industry, we want to make sure that our regionís capabilities are recognised and our companies supported through specific measures that provide the market intelligence and shared learnings needed to help them through this period of unprecedented turmoil.Ē

The second webinar in the Subsea UK-led series takes place on January 28th from 2.30-4.30p.m. It will feature presentations from Luke Barnes, Commercial Manager at Modus Seabed Intervention Limited, talking about hybrid AUVs and how they present game-changing productivity in offshore wind construction and O&M; Mike Jones, chairman of the Subsea North East Exec Group and CEO of SMD, on how to make a robot suitable for un-crewed offshore operations; Andy Lovell, Sales & Commercial Director at Benbecula Group, who will describe how the company supports the North-east supply chain.

Colin Russells, Product Line Manager at Baker Hughes, will discuss how a composite flexible pipe solution currently being developed in Baker Hughesí Newcastle innovation centre will help overcome the challenges of ultra-deepwater operations.

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, added: "With a rich heritage in design, engineering and manufacturing, the North-east of England has unmatched expertise in subsea robotics as well as the design and fabrication of underwater components such as pipelines, umbilicals and wind turbine foundations.

"It is of strategic importance to the UKís underwater engineering sector in terms of accelerating the energy transition and maximising our export potential. The innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship evident in the North-east of Englandís subsea cluster will help drive the green recovery and it is incumbent on Subsea UK, Subsea North-east, along with other partners, to ensure it is recognised and supported.Ē

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