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, says: "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 says: "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 maximising 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.
"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 (boe).
"Other countries such as Brazil and Norway are investing heavily in programmes 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 centre 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
"Such a centre 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 3rd of June in the House of Commons when 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.
Subsea UK, established as a focal point for all stakeholders to promote the sector and maximise its opportunities globally, champions the industry. With over 170 member companies, it provides a national forum for collaboration, diversification, commercialisation of technology and co-ordinated marketing at home and overseas.