CSL's warning for subsea sector

Jan. 28, 2006
Britain risks losing competitive edge in subsea sector, says design consultant CSL, with resources switching increasingly to less mature offshore provinces

Offshore staff

(UK) - Subsea consultants CSL have urged the UK oil industry to make better use of its subsea capability. At a recent SPE meeting in Aberdeen, the company's CEO, Ciaran O'Donnell pointed out that 77% of North Sea development projects approved over the past three years were subsea, while 71% of field start-ups in 2005 also came into this category.

O'Donnell attributed the subsea sector's boom in the UK to the fact that discovery sizes are getting smaller. At the same time, the market is fluid with assets constantly changing ownership. Also, new and smaller players are becoming increasingly dominant.

He warned, however, that the picture could change as the North Sea declines. For the UK to retain its capability as a "global center of subsea excellence", he added, "we must keep the vessels we need working here, and we must consider smart ways of keeping going over the winter, instead of remaining a seasonal industry…"

Statistics from Strategic Offshore Research in Aberdeen underline the tightness of the vessel market, with flowline installation spreads in some cases booked as far ahead as 2008. "We can't afford to falter in the UK, and allow our valuable resources to be attracted away to West Africa or Mexico or China," he commented.