The largest oil and natural gas producer in the EU, the United Kingdom retains proven crude oil reserves of around 4 billion barrels and proven natural gas reserves of some 18.8 Tcf as of 2006. Containing the bulk of domestic reserves and an extensive network of subsea pipelines and infrastructure, the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is the most active offshore region for the UK's oil and gas sector, and industry giants Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total all explore and produce there. The third largest global energy company and headquartered in the UK, BP is operator of such major offshore UK producers as the Foinaven and Forties fields.
Subsea Engineering deals with the design and analysis of underwater structures for oil and gas fields in which the production wellhead is on the seabed. Subsea engineers specialize in systems made up of risers, umbilicals, and flowlines for these fields located offshore. Designing tools and equipment to be used on the ocean floor requires a working knowledge of underwater procedures, reliability of materials in the presence of corrosion due to sea water, and more.