UK submarine sector ‘could hit £45bn’ by 2035

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The UK’s underwater sector, which currently accounts for £8billion in revenue, has the potential to grow to £45billion by 2035, in line with a booming global market – and aquaculture helps stimulate this demand.

So says the Global Underwater Hub (GUH), a new trade and marketing body officially launched this week at the Subsea Expo in Aberdeen. GUH, the successor to former Subsea UK, has released a white paper setting out what it sees as a huge opportunity to tap into a global market set to grow from £50 billion to £140 billion.

Demand for subsea technologies and services comes from the energy industry – both oil and gas and renewables – as well as defence, marine mineral mining, surveillance science and aquaculture, the white paper, The Blue Opportunitysaid.

If the UK can retain its large share – estimated at around a third of the global market – then, according to GUH, underwater technology and services could create £20 billion in exports and 180,000 new jobs.

GUH CEO Neil Gordon said at the launch: “The exponential growth of the blue economy presents an unprecedented scale of opportunity on which the UK’s world-renowned underwater industry can capitalize.

“As the industry emerges from the uncertain and challenging pandemic period with optimism fueled by the opportunities of the energy transition and the blue economy, the GUH will provide market-specific insights and support to help companies make informed decisions on markets and sectors with the objective of bringing about a radical change in growth.

The GUH is funded to the tune of £13 million by the UK and Scottish Governments, but led and managed by industry. Its role will be to disseminate market information, provide access for companies looking to grow, and connect players from different sectors of industry, including academia.

The GUH currently employs 15 people in Aberdeen, with a view to reaching approximately 30 people in total across the organization. Two further centers in the south and north of England are to be launched over the next 12 months to ensure specialist, sector-specific support is available across the country.

Neil Gordon said, “The GUH will play a pivotal role in driving transformational change and exponential growth in this extremely important industry. Unlocking the depth of opportunities under the oceans is essential to respond to the long-term transition to a low-carbon society and the sustainable use of ocean resources and, in turn, to create income, jobs, significant additional technologies and exports for the UK. ”

Neil Gordon, CEO Global Underwater Hub

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