Subsea UK and Scottish Enterprise launch £15m R&D funding call

(L to R) David Rennie, head of oil and gas at Scottish Enterprise and Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK.

Subsea UK and Scottish Enterprise launch £15m R&D funding call

Subsea UK and Scottish Enterprise have teamed up to announce an R&D funding call for innovation projects that will drive forward research and development between Scotland and Japan to help solve the industry’s most complex challenges.

The project forms part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed between Scottish Enterprise and Japanese philanthropic organisation, The Nippon Foundation, at SPE Offshore Europe in September.

The agreement aims to help both countries capitalise on opportunities in the growing subsea sector. Subsea UK and Scottish Enterprise will provide equal funding, totalling approximately £15m to support joint projects between the two countries.

The two bodies, with support from NSRI and ITF, will coordinate and pioneer a programme of research and development activities to accelerate the introduction and adoption of new and disruptive technologies.

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 the following themes:

• Subsea digital oilfield technologies (real-time underwater communication, inspection, monitoring and control, subsea sensors, robotics and artificial intelligence)

• Subsea oil and gas innovation (well productivity and intervention, well design, low-cost drilling, decommissioning, subsea factory, remote monetisation and challenging field development)

The extensive collaboration work with Japan will make a strong contribution to the delivery of the Subsea Engineering Action Plan, launched by Scottish Enterprise earlier this year, with the aim capturing an even bigger slice of the £50bn global subsea market by Scottish companies.

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK commented: “Scotland already accounts for 14% of the global subsea market, with approximately 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.

“We have worked closely with Scottish Enterprise over the past three years to help nurture the relationship and build trust between Japan and Scotland. This has been achieved by supporting Scottish Enterprise and its international arm SDI on trade missions to Japan which included numerous high-profile meetings and presentations with key Japanese organisations including the Nippon Foundation.

“We are very much looking forward to strengthening these ties, working with the sector’s leading organisations to tackle the technological challenges to the benefit of the whole industry.”

David Rennie, head of oil and gas at Scottish Enterprise, added: “We have worked closely with Subsea UK and NSRI over the past three years to pull this initiative together and it’s extremely encouraging to finally see our efforts come to fruition. This is a major deal that will see Scotland and Japan work collaboratively to pioneer the technology needed to overcome even the most complex of challenges faced by the subsea industry, now and for decades to come.”