Organisers or Subsea Expo 2022 have hailed the event as a major success after the three-day conference in Aberdeen came to a close.
More than 4,000 people attended the conference at the P&J Live, which featured more than 100 exhibitors showcasing their innovation and expertise.
Numbers were down slightly on 2020, the last time Subsea Expo was held, but exhibitors reported doing “real” business with strong interest in their products and services.
Organised by the Global Underwater Hub, it was the first major industry event to take place since the restrictions on large indoor events were lifted.
Themed on Oceans of Opportunity, the conference featured speakers from a wide variety of sectors.
They discussed the challenges facing the industry and how it can capitalise on the underwater segment of the global blue economy, forecast to grow from £50 billion to £140bn by 2035.
The centrepiece of the event was a gala dinner attended by nearly 400 people, which marked the return of the Subsea Expo Awards.
Richard Knox, managing director at Verlume, an exhibitor and sponsor of Subsea Expo, said said: “It was a busy show and we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much it felt like a pre-pandemic event; with the exception of masks, obviously. We had a lot of conversations and leads coming out of the two days and look forward to making these count.
“We’ve recently rebranded and the increased focus, at the event, on diversification ties well with where we are planning to go as a business. Traditionally, our client base was very oil and gas focused and we are excited to both help the sector decarbonise and branch out into defence and offshore wind.”
Andy Buchan, chief executive at Hiretech, added: “It’s been good to be out at an in-person exhibition once again. I’ve had many great conversations, and everyone seems interested and excited to be out and about. We were very fortunate that many of our customers were exhibitors and it was a great chance to catch up with them. We’ve had more leads at this show than at any other exhibition.
“Subsea Expo covers all our target markets – decommissioning, renewables, and oil and gas. As well as our traditional UK market, we are now looking at overseas expansion so the transitioning of the GUH comes at an excellent time. The great thing about subsea is that the skillsets developed in decommissioning and oil and gas can easily be translated for renewables. If it’s underwater, we’re interested.”
Global sales and commercial leader at Baker Hughes, Leonardo Solano said: “It’s been really refreshing to see so many people attending the exhibition just two years after the start of the pandemic.
“Subsea Expo is always a great opportunity for us to network, look for new technologies and think about how we can make the industry safer and more productive. We’ve had some really interesting conversations about how companies are maximising recovery with manageable investment over the last few days, it’s been great to be back.”
Brian Storie, managing director of Spectis Robotics, said: “We’ve been coming to Subsea Expo since 2010, and I have to admit that we were concerned about the attendance for this year, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised.
“We’ve been busy with enquiries, some from international companies, and have had some useful leads across a range of sectors including defence, oil and gas and renewables. I think there’s been a real need for the event this year and it’s been great to be a part of it.”
Sean Demanuele, UK office manager for Norwegian Offshore Rental (NOR), said: “This was our first time exhibiting ourselves at Subsea Expo. The first day was good and the second day was even better in terms of getting business leads and price enquiries for equipment.
“We opened our Aberdeen office in 2020 just before the pandemic, so Subsea Expo 2022 has given us a great opportunity to meet our customers in person rather than talking to them virtually. It definitely feels like the industry is getting back to normal given the attendance and the number of conversations taking place – we’ll be back next year for sure.”
Neil Gordon, chief executive of the GUH, added: “The timing of this event could not have been more pertinent, coming as it did at a pivotal time for the industry as we prepare for what we hope will be a post-pandemic future. We are on the cusp of a prolonged period of exponential growth and opportunity and for the first time in more than two years, industry professionals were able to get together, meeting in person to discuss the challenges which lie ahead and their solutions, to learn about new tools and technologies and to share ideas and expertise.
“To say that Subsea Expo 2022 had been eagerly anticipated would be an understatement. None of us could have predicted when we wrapped up Subsea Expo in 2020, the most successful in its 12-year history, that it would be almost two years before we would meet again. But we’re back and that alone created a vibrancy, and an enthusiasm and optimism for the future, generating meaningful industry discussion and creating a real appetite for the cross-sector collaboration that will open the doors to these new opportunities.”