Scotland and Japan have unveiled a new strategic partnership aimed at helping both countries capitalise on opportunities in the growing subsea technology sector. The partnership was announced at Offshore Europe on Tuesday September 5.
Scottish Enterprise and The Nippon Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will see both organisations work together to invest in research and development projects around subsea technology challenges. Economy Secretary Keith Brown and Japanese Ambassador Koji Tsuruoka were present at the meeting.
The projects will address challenges identified by Japanese industry in consultation with Scotland, and will involve collaboration with Scottish companies to use their knowledge and expertise of the marine environment to develop solutions.
Scottish Enterprise Director of Energy Maggie McGinlay signed the MOU on behalf of the organisation. She said:
“We’ve built up our expertise in subsea engineering in the harsh environment of the North Sea, and many of the technologies developed here in Scotland have revolutionised the worldwide oil and gas industry. As a result, Scotland already accounts for 14% of the global subsea market, with approximately 370 companies generating an estimated annual turnover of £7.5 billion.
“This experience and reputation means we are ideally positioned to work with The Nippon Foundation and to support it’s ambitions for the sector in Japan.”
Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, Yohei Sasakawa, added:
“Offshore development is a huge frontier and this is where Scottish Enterprise and The Nippon Foundation will pioneer together… The programme will serve to incubate new seeds of ocean innovation. World-leading experts from both countries will be teaming up to help these seeds bud and bloom into innovative offshore technology.”
Economy Secretary Keith Brown also commented on the agreement, saying:
“Scotland already has a strong and innovative supply chain with expertise in subsea engineering, and is a world renowned hub, with potential for strong growth in international markets. By working together, we expect both countries to maximise their subsea technologies at a greater rate, and to increase our respective shares of the sector accordingly – which is worth some £50 billion annually.
“The MOU should also consolidate the strong economic and diplomatic bonds which exist between our two nations.”
The partnership has also seen the launch of a new Nippon Foundation capacity building programme for the subsea industry at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Following the signing of the agreement, a number of Scottish companies will attend a seminar at OffShore Europe on the opportunities of the subsea technology sector in Japan. Representatives from both countries will be present to provide information and share their experiences in offshore development.
The partnership with Japan is intended to make a strong contribution to the delivery of the Subsea Engineering Action Plan, launched by Scottish Enterprise earlier this year. The plan aims to help Scottish companies capture an even bigger slice of the £50 billion global subsea market.