New funding set up for subsea R&D innovation

Subsea UK and Scottish Enterprise have today unveiled a research and development funding initiative for innovative projects to drive R&D between Scotland and Japan to tackle the industry's most complex challenges.

David Rennie and Neil Gordon.

The project is part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Scottish Enterprise and Japanese philanthropic organisation, The Nippon Foundation, at SPE Offshore Europe in September.

The collaboration aims to help both countries capitalise on opportunities in the growing subsea sector, with Scottish Enterprise and The Nippon Foundation providing equal funding totalling £15 million. The money will support joint projects between the two countries that maximise the use and development of digital technologies and “challenge conventional industry methods and techniques”.

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Subsea UK, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, will coordinate the R&D to “accelerate the introduction and adoption of new and disruptive technologies”.

The sector is worth £50 billion a year, and the project is aimed to increase Scotland and Japan’s share of it. Organisations are being asked to step forward for support by identifying how their ideas, products and services meet the needs of the evolving subsea sector.

Applications are being sought under themes including subsea digital oilfield technologies (real-time underwater communication, subsea sensors, robotics and artificial intelligence); subsea oil and gas innovation (well productivity and intervention, well design, decommissioning).

Companies can submit an expression of interest via the Subsea UK website up until March 2018. Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, commented: “Scotland already accounts for 14 per cent of the global subsea market, with 370 companies generating an estimated annual turnover of £7.5bn.

“Our experience and reputation means we are ideally positioned to work with Scottish Enterprise and The Nippon Foundation supporting their ambitions for the sector.”