The subsea sector is on the crest of a wave of growth but is facing a dearth of funding into research and technology, the opening breakfast at Offshore Europe was told yesterday.
Speaking at the opening event of the Aberdeen oil show, Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon said the outlook for the sector in the north-east and across the UK was bright.
His views echoed comments by regional president for BP North Sea Trevor Garlick, who spoke earlier in the morning.
Speaking at the breakfast, Mr Gordon said the £5.9billion industry had already grown 37% in the last three years and a conservative estimate up to 2013 was 20% growth.
“We have had a very good period over the last three years and I imagine we are on the crest of a wave going forward,” said Mr Gordon.
However, he said the industry faced issues – from the need for skills and technology, to the perception of it by government and the public, right down to school children and teachers.
“Having a stable regime in the UK is also important for us and we need support from schools and colleges,” he said.
“We are also going to feel international pressure – there are other countries looking to the UK to build their expertise. We need to make sure we are number one going forward.”
From the audience there was also a warning not enough cash was being channelled into research.
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, principal and vice chancellor of Robert Gordon University, said: “There is a general problem channelling money into research.”
He said the National Subsea Research Institute, of which RGU is a member, was running out of funds.
“The problem needs to be addressed how to get funds channelled into this area,” he said. “The UK doesn’t seem to value subsea research. It will be a bad thing if the industry doesn’t receive any help in funding.”