Launch of New Subsea Research Initiative

A major subsea research initiative has launched this month. The National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI) will be the focal point for the co-ordination of research and development activities for the UK’s subsea oil and gas sector.

As a direct link between the subsea community and academia as well as government, NSRI will facilitate the development of subsea technologies which enable increased recovery of hydrocarbons, prolonging the life of the UKCS as well as innovation which adds value to the UK’s subsea engineering base, helping to maintain the country’s position as a world-leader in subsea.

NSRI will play an influential role in making sure the UK’s subsea technology needs are understood and met within the increasingly complex and competitive technology strategy and associated funding landscape in the UK.

Subsea UK board member and NSRI Steering Group leader John Mair believes that within the current landscape, which includes the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre and the Oil & Gas Technology Strategy Board, there is a greater need for more meaningful engagement between industry and academia.

He said: "NSRI will become the single voice on subsea technology in the country. As the ‘go-to’ advisory body and knowledge centre for subsea technology, it will essentially broker the development of subsea technologies, rather than seek to fund R&D activity itself.”

Mr Mair added that with countries like Brazil and Norway continuing to invest significantly higher levels of funding into deepwater research than the UK, there is a more pressing need for an industry-led body in the UK that will build stronger links between industry and academia.

"NSRI will be the primary source of knowledge on subsea technology for technology developers, universities, academics and centre of excellence wishing to conduct research or research-related activities. It will engage with, influence and feed into the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre, the Scottish Funding Council and the Technology Strategy Board and other organisations. Like Subsea UK, the organisation will be able to operate across the entire UK in order to access and represent all the subsea companies and potential academic partners.”

Initial funding for the initiative over a three year period has been secured from Scottish Enterprise, Subsea UK and industry with further industry funding expected in the coming months. David Rennie, Sector Head, Oil and Gas/Thermal Generation and CCS at Scottish Enterprise, says as a not-for-profit independent organisation, the NSRI will be in a strong position to work closely with Subsea UK to champion subsea development.

"As the industry’s advisory body and interface for subsea R&D activities, NSRI will act as the conduit of knowledge transfer between industry and academia. For instance it will support and engage with the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre to build stronger links between the industry and the UK’s academic community, increasing subsea related research in the UK. The availability of this information to subsea companies throughout the UK will be a game changer by providing understanding and knowledge of subsea technology needs which will help grow and move forward this nascent and important industry.”