Subsea technology is being forced to raise the bar as a direct response to rising production costs and declining oil prices, according to Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon.
His remarks come ahead of next week’s Subsea Expo which will see 200 exhibitors showcase the latest innovation in technology.
The boss of Subsea UK admitted that last year’s celebration of huge growth is in stark contrast to the situation the industry finds itself in now.
He said: “A lot has happened in a year, last year at Subsea Expo we were celebrating a huge growth, predicting 100% growth in the next five years, talking about how many more people we needed within the industry.
“But about the middle of the year it became apparent that in the UKCS alone it was becoming a costly place for doing business.
“Some of the facts and figures that were coming out were that costs were going up year-on-year and production levels were falling down and production efficiency was falling.
“As that happened, the oil price about the start of July started to take its fall and carried on that trajectory so that compounded the scrutiny and urgency of looking at the cost base in the UK. With the oil price just bubbling around the $50 mark and we’re not sure how long it’s going to be here, the industry really now has a sense of absolute urgency to look at becoming more competitive not even just for now but for the future.”
From the 11-13th of February, more than 6,000 people from around the world will descend on Aberdeen to see some of the latest subsea technology in action.
As well as exhibitors, the Subsea Expo awards will commend the companies leading the way.
Last year, Bibby Offshore won the accolade sought after by firms in the sector.
Mr Gordon said: “What we have every year is our Subsea Expo event and that is our flagship event showcasing the expertise, technology and attracting the young talent for the future.
“It is our opportunity to talk to the world.
“This is a time for the industry to look at how we, the subsea sector, can play an important part in driving efficiency and our theme for the conference is driving efficiency through technology and innovation.”
This year will also see the launch of The National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI ), an industry body which looks at setting out the technology “roadmap” for the subsea sector.
While “game-changing technology”does take some time, Mr Gordon said the likes of NSRI would help to improve moving innovative technologies along with allowing them to discuss their ideas with the “right university or research institution” or partnering with the right operator who wants to develop the technology and encourage a new technology in the field.
He added: “There are already smarter uses of technology in ROV, in tooling, certainly in inspection. There are companies with high end cameras and using scanning systems which can actually penetrate through the pipe and scan the pipe and check through the pipe looking through from the outside.
“There are smarter technologies looking at giving a longer life to umbilical’s and cables because those can deteriorate over a period but then they can be rejuvenated. There are some smart little things that in the bigger picture when they’re all put together can actually improve cost. There are many smaller companies who are coming up with very smart technologies.”
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