The subsea sector still supports around 45,000 jobs in the UK, despite the recent downturn in oil and gas, according to Subsea UK’s latest business activity review.
The oil price crash, and subsequent downturn, led to the deferral or cancellation of major subsea projects, particularly in deepwater, and cost around 8,000 jobs, Subsea UK Chief Executive Neil Gordon said in an organization statement.
“However, the subsea sector appears to have weathered the storm by increasing exports and diversifying, particularly into offshore wind, where the skills and technology are eminently transferable,” Gordon said.
Subsea UK’s latest review revealed that the industry is generating annual revenues of $10 billion (GBP 7.5 billion), compared to $11.9 billion (GBP 8.9billion) in 2014.
Exports account for over half (55 percent) of annual revenues, while sales in offshore wind have risen from $1 billion (GBP 770 million) in 2014 to $1.7 billion (GBP 1.3 billion) today, the review showed. Sales in renewables are also forecast to increase with around a quarter of large companies anticipating more than 20 percent growth in this sector.
The review highlights that the largest export markets for tier 1 subsea companies – such as Subsea 7 and Technip - are Scandinavia, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. For SMEs, South East Asia is the primary export market, followed by the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle-east, Scandinavia and West Africa.
Around 80 percent of large companies are expecting to grow exports in the next three years, with a third expecting export sales to increase by between 10 percent and 20 percent and a fifth by over 20 percent.
Sixty-five percent of SMEs believe they will increase exports, with the majority anticipating growth of between 10 percent and 20 percent and over a fifth anticipating more than 20 percent growth in international sales.
“Since the eighties, Britain has pioneered subsea technology and expertise and become recognized as the global-leader in subsea,” Gordon said in an organization statement.
“I’m confident we can still claim to lead the way around the world but we still need greater recognition of subsea as one of the UK’s best performing industry sectors to help attract investment and talent and to work collaboratively with government on diversification, internationalization, innovation and skills,” he added.
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