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Japan, Scotland subsea research funding call launched

OE Staff Monday, 04 December 2017 10:15

UK subsea industry body Subsea UK is working with Scottish Enterprise to promote research and development projects between Japan and Scotland, aimed at solving complex subsea challenges, particularly through use of digital technologies. 

The body has opened a research and development funding call for innovation projects as part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed between Scottish Enterprise and Japan's The Nippon Foundation, at SPE Offshore Europe in September.

The strategic agreement aims to help both countries capitalize on opportunities in the growing subsea sector. The two parties will provide equal funding, totalling about £15 million, to support joint projects between the two countries that maximize the use and development of digital technologies and challenge conventional industry methods and techniques.

Subsea UK, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, with support from the National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI) and the Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF) will coordinate and pioneer a program of research and development activities to accelerate the introduction and adoption of new and disruptive technologies that address challenges identified by industry.

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)

Companies can submit an expression of interest via the Subsea UK website up until March 2018, with full proposal applications due by June 2018.

A Subsea Engineering Action Plan was launched by Scottish Enterprise earlier this year, with the aim capturing an even bigger slice of the £50 billion global subsea market by Scottish companies. 

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK said: “Scotland already accounts for 14% of the global subsea market, with approximately 370 companies generating an estimated annual turnover

of £7.5 billion. Our experience and reputation means we are ideally positioned to work with Scottish Enterprise and The Nippon Foundation supporting there 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.”

ITF will provide additional expertise and specialist knowledge to support the technical management of the call process. As the industry expert in this area, ITF has many years of experience in conducting technology R&D calls for the oil and gas industry and has put in place a support mechanism with Subsea UK to ensure the learning and knowledge from the organisation can be brought to each project.

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.”

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2018-11-17 09:34:27am