The UK government has agreed to support industry plans for a new underwater engineering hub in Aberdeen.


Image: UK plans to build new underwater engineering base to diversify its oil and gas sector. Photo: Image by C Morrison from Pixabay.

The proposed multi-million-pound Global Underwater Engineering Hub is intended to help diversify the UK’s oil and gas sector and support the country’s shift from fossil fuels towards renewables.

The new subsea hub is expected to bring together underwater technologies from both industry and academia to build on UK expertise in subsea robotics, remotely-operated underwater vehicles and maritime support vessels.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Today I can announce that the UK government is backing plans for a new Global Underwater Hub in Aberdeen, helping established businesses thrive and creating new opportunities as the world makes the shift towards clean growth.

“Cementing Aberdeen’s place as an energy hub for offshore and renewables, the new hub would bring together areas of excellence in underwater technology under a single commercial vision. It would support industry, generate new skilled jobs and help us in the fight against climate change.

The government is now encouraging industry to develop a business case for the proposed research hub. The business case will be later reviewed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

UK government Business Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “As the UK continues to transition towards a low-carbon economy, the Global Underwater Engineering Hub can help the region rise to the challenge of this transition, helping to anchor the UK’s expert engineering supply chain here in the north east of Scotland.”

The UK, which is claimed to have 40% share of the global market in underwater engineering, seeks to capitalize on the industry which is estimated to be worth more than £100bn globally by 2035, the government said.

Additionally, the hub is expected to help make Scotland a go-to destination for subsea engineering, creating jobs and business opportunities.

Industry body Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon said: “While Aberdeen is home to the majority of underwater engineering and technology companies, there are significant clusters across the UK, including Scotland’s central belt, the North-East England and South of England, supporting a range of sectors from marine renewables to oil and gas to defence.”