UK Could Have its Own Subsea Test Center Following Study

The UK could soon have its own, dedicated subsea test center thanks to Subsea UK. Scottish Enterprise and ONE North East are providing Subsea UK with financial support towards a major study to determine the requirement for a National Subsea Test Center which would help bring new subsea technology to market more effectively and bring forward new subsea developments.

"The need for a wide-ranging subsea test center has been the subject of debate for many years," says David Pridden. "Thanks to Scottish Enterprise and ONE North East we now have the opportunity to assess the requirement in a structured and open manner. I firmly believe that our sector would benefit from both an onshore and offshore test center to fully test new technology and enable us to bring that technology to market more quickly and compete more effectively with our counterparts in the US, Norway and Brazil."

The study will provide a strong regional and national picture of the UK's subsea business clusters and their current and future test requirements. If there is a positive recommendation to establish a National Subsea Test Center, the primary deliverable from the study will be to produce an outline specification of what is required. Further work will be undertaken to select the best location for the center, identify and communicate with key stakeholders and associate organisations, and put together a preliminary budget. All of this information will then be used to prepare a business plan for setting up the center.

After competitive tender, OTM/Westwood Associates were appointed to undertake the study which is expected to take three months to complete. Results from the study will be made available to members of Subsea UK.

Chris Dudgeon, managing director of OTM says: "A key part of confirming the absolute need for a National Subsea Test Center is finding out what subsea testing is required by the industry and where it can be performed currently. By reviewing current testing capabilities and comparing this to current and future industry testing needs, our study will ensure that the grounds for a National Subsea Test Center are well founded."

Set up by the DTI and Scottish Enterprise to champion the subsea sector which contributes £4 billion to the UK economy and employs 30,000, Subsea UK promotes the UK's expertise and helps companies in the sector find and exploit new opportunities. The organisation currently represents 100 companies operating in the subsea sector, accounting for approximately 12,000 employees.

The industry body is the focal point for the UK subsea sector and aims to increase its impact on the economy by working with its members to improve communication, provide networking opportunities, encourage collaboration, facilitate commercialisation of new technology and assist with diversification into new markets.