Organisers of Subsea Expo have hailed this year’s event in Aberdeen a resounding success.
The annual three-day showcase of the UK’s £8billion underwater industry, organised by the sector’s leading trade and development body Global Underwater Hub, welcomed in excess of 6,000 visitors over its three-day run. Highlighting the global appeal of Subsea Expo, more than 60 countries were represented on the list of attendees.
Over 150 companies and organisations from across the industry supply chain exhibited at the event, including some from Australia, Holland and the United States. While a packed conference programme with 14 sessions and around 85 speakers saw discussions on major industry talking points, including marine renewables, data and digital, subsea production systems and robotics and autonomous operations.
Underlining the view that Subsea Expo is an event where business is done, many exhibitors reported having excellent, positive conversations with attendees, while some noted serious enquiries for their products and services.
Free-to-attend, this year’s event took the theme of ‘Into the Blue’. It looked to emphasise the scale of the economic opportunity offered by the underwater industry, which includes oil and gas, offshore renewables, decommissioning, defence, aquaculture, marine science, telecoms and cabling.
Key industry topics were debated during Subsea Expo, with energy security, energy transition and offshore wind featuring prominently. The subject of security of underwater infrastructure was also explored both in the conference sessions and on the exhibition floor.
Incidents in 2022 underlined the importance of underwater cables and pipelines to the global economy and local communities, and the need to protect such assets. One such incident was the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline. At Subsea Expo, Subsea Commercial Services displayed Blueye Robotics’ remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that captured the first footage of the damage, alongside shrapnel from the pipeline.
Subsea Expo also saw the UK Government launch its Global Upstream Decommissioning Export Strategy, a document that the energy industry had requested. The recommendations contained in it provide a blueprint for the future as the sector seeks to capitalise on two decades of experience removing and recycling redundant platforms and infrastructure in the North Sea and exporting those skills and knowledge around the world.
Aiming to inspire the next generation into the energy and underwater industries, the final day of Subsea Expo saw around 120 school children and students visit the event to take part in the foreSEA Your Future programme. Alongside an inspirational presentation from space scientist, engineer and broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, the pupils and students heard from a panel of young industry professionals discussing working in the underwater industry and their career journeys to date. There was also an opportunity to tour the exhibition arena and speak to companies working in the sector, with some setting pupils challenges to complete.
Chief executive of Global Underwater Hub, Neil Gordon, said: “Subsea Expo 2023 featured a packed three-day programme and had a real buzz about it, which was great to see. The feedback from exhibitors has been very positive, with some reporting queues of people waiting to speak to them on their stands and others noting serious enquiries from visitors. What struck me was the international flavour that ran through the whole event. It shows the regard with which UK companies are held globally and the value people place in attending live events. Nothing beats meeting people face to face.
“There is a bright future ahead for the underwater industry around the world, with lots of opportunities for cross-sector collaboration – something that was a feature of many discussions I had during Subsea Expo. It reflects the decision we took to widen our remit and become Global Underwater Hub, enhancing the support offered to member companies as they diversify their businesses, skills and knowledge into multiple underwater sectors.
“Harnessing the potential of the opportunity that is available to us is crucial, and Global Underwater Hub will be seeking to do just that in the year ahead.”
Subsea Expo 2023 was supported by Argentex, C-Kore Systems, Fugro, Knight Optical, Ocean Installer, Panolin, TechnipFMC, Viper Innovations and Wood. The three-day event will return in February 2024. Further information on Subsea Expo can be found at www.subseaexpo.com.
Independent reliability engineering consultancy Astrimar was among the exhibitors at Subsea Expo. Director Caroline Roberts-Hartinov, said: “We really enjoyed the buzz of this year’s Subsea Expo. Day one got off to a great start, connecting with people we’ve been looking forward to seeing, combined with opportunities to meet new people and make new connections, while day two seemed even busier. The conference sessions were also well attended – I presented in the data and digital session to a packed and attentive audience.”
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