Experts are advising the UK subsea industry to act now and take advantage of the energy transition, warning that the journey to net-zero is already underway and businesses must keep up with the required change of speed.

Subsea UK, the country’s subsea services industry association, will this week host a virtual event where industry leaders and government panelists will discuss how the subsea supply chain can maximize the potential of the energy transition.

Subsea UK sees opportunities for its members in the space of supporting the growth of the offshore wind market by assisting with turbine installation, offshore substation building, and transferring power back to shore using subsea cabling.  

Further opportunities for the sector exist in emerging technologies, Subsea UK said, such as green hydrogen, which could potentially be produced offshore and piped back to land, and in carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) which requires subsea infrastructure to transport it to depleted oil fields for storage once captured onshore.  

A recent report by Wood Mackenzie for the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), cited by Subsea UK, said that the growth in offshore renewables, hydrogen and CCUS could more than double the economic impact of the UKCS, contributing £2.5 trillion to the UK economy and creating over 200,000 new jobs.  

However, companies must act quickly to capitalize on the opportunities available, according to Tom Heggarty, principal analyst in Wood Mackenzie’s Energy Transition Practice.

He said: “Momentum has been gathering around decarbonization in the UK and globally over the past two years. The pressures to get to net-zero are only going to accelerate and the companies that will be best placed to capitalize will be the ones who are looking at what they can do now.  

“The energy transition is not something that’s going to need addressing in five to ten years’ time, we’re going to see more demand for developing technologies to support decarbonization and subsea companies, who are well-positioned to play an important role here, need to understand what’s coming and take advantage of it today.”

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK said: “The subsea industry, with its roots in oil and gas, a strong foothold in offshore wind and massive potential in other segments of the blue economy, has the capability to become one of the UK’s fastest-growing, high-value industries of the future, contributing not only to economic recovery but, crucially, to delivery of our net-zero targets.

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