The UK sees potential for its underwater industry to grow from £ 8 billion today to £ 45 billion by 2035. With government funding, the Global Underwater Hub has been established to capitalise on opportunities in the energy transition and the underwater segment of the Blue Economy.

Officially launched at Subsea Expo on 22 February, Global Underwater Hub (GUH) is a new strategic, intelligence-led organisation that is to lead the transformation of the underwater industry to deliver one of the biggest opportunities for revenue generation and job creation in the UK’s sustainable recovery from the pandemic. The Blue Economy is estimated to be worth £ 140 billion by 2035. According to the GUH, this could already lead to an additional 8000 jobs in the next three years alone.

The GUH is backed by the Scottish and UK Governments with £ 13 million in funding, but led and governed by industry.

Capitalise on opportunities

‘The exponential growth of the Blue Economy presents an unprecedented scale of opportunity on which the UK’s world-renowned underwater industry can capitalise,’ says Neil Gordon, chief executive of the GUH. ‘As the industry emerges from the uncertain and challenging pandemic period with a degree of optimism fuelled by opportunities in the energy transition and Blue Economy, the GUH will provide the specific market intelligence and support to help companies make informed decisions on which markets and sectors to target to deliver a step-change in growth.’

Gordon sees opportunities in floating offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), hydrogen, aquaculture, oceanology, defence and the continuing evolution of the oil and gas sector. The hub is to strengthen the UK’s competitiveness, particularly with a view to countries like Norway, France, Canada, Japan and Brazil, which Gordon says are boosted by ‘significant public sector intervention and investment.’

The GUH seeks to achieve this ‘by bringing together existing skills and knowledge to develop technology and services for use in multiple sectors’. It will promote greater cross-sector collaboration to fast-track service and technological innovation that solve challenges in multiple underwater sectors. In addition, the hub will provide market intelligence to inform strategic decision-making.

Global Underwater Hub

The GUH currently employs fifteen staff in Aberdeen, with a view to reaching around thirty in total across the organisation. Two further hubs in the South and North of England are due to be launched in the next twelve months to ensure that specialist, sector specific support is available the length and breadth of the country.

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