Subsea UK Urges PM to Include Subsea in O&G Talks

Subsea UK is calling on the Prime Minister to involve the subsea sector in his talks with the oil and gas industry.

Chief executive of the industry body, David Pridden said, "With almost half of North Sea production now coming from subsea wells, the subsea sector has a significant role to play in more efficiently extracting the remaining hydrocarbons in the UKCS."

Subsea is a general term frequently used to refer to equipment, technology, and activities employed either directly on the seabed or in the water between the surface and the seabed for the extraction of oil and gas reserves that exist below the ocean floor.

The UK subsea industry currently employs about 40,000 people and last year generated £4.3 billion in revenues.

But Pridden warned that the Government had to do more to support this sector's ability to deliver the next generation of technologies to further exploit the remaining reserves. He said, "The future of the offshore oil and gas industry undoubtedly lies with subsea systems as these are ideal for developing new oil and gas reserves in deepwater as well as maximizing the recovery of oil and gas from old, so called mature fields in places like the North Sea where it is simply no longer economic to build or maintain the large offshore platforms built in the 1970's and 80's."

Pridden urges that, "Current technology still leaves a lot of hydrocarbons in the ground. We cannot keep relying on technologies developed 20 years ago and with an increasing level of investment in the industry today, we are seeing increasing levels of innovation and new technologies coming forward for the future. We must keep pushing the technological boundaries and find new ways of working to make even the most challenging deepwater and hostile environment projects a viable reality."

"I believe that new subsea technologies could give a further 10-15% of recoverable reserves from the UKCS in the next few years i.e. a further 2-3 billion barrels of oil equivalent," Pridden states.

The chief executive does not want his own industry body falling behind the times and makes an effort to prove that even though they are in the lead now, if they continue in that direction they will in fact lag behind. "Other countries such as Brazil and Norway are investing heavily in programs between industry, academia and government to develop new technology and get it to market more quickly. The UK subsea sector leads the world but we must meet the critical demand for suitably qualified engineers and bring new technology to market."

"Subsea UK recently announced the news that a subsea research center is to be created in Aberdeen and this clearly demonstrates the need to showcase the sector and attract the bright young minds of tomorrow and provide a platform for greater collaboration between industry, government and academia to facilitate the development of technology," said Pridden. "Such a center would ensure that we achieve our vision of being the dominant force in the global subsea sector with vibrant, technology-driven businesses generating revenues of $15 billion by 2015, employing the most talented, educated workforce in the world."

Subsea UK is holding a parliamentary reception on June 3, 2008 in the House of Commons where it hopes to provide politicians and parliamentarians with a greater understanding of the sector, its role in the future of hydrocarbon extraction and the support it requires to deliver and remain a global market leader.