A recently launched initiative aiming to coordinate research and development activities within the UK’s subsea oil and gas sector has appointed a chairman and project director. Well-known industry figure, Peter Blake, has taken up the role of chairman of the National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI) and Dr Gordon Drummond has joined as project director. Mr Blake is Subsea Systems Manager at Chevron’s Energy Technology Company and Dr Drummond is Technology Manager at Subsea 7.
NSRI has been set up to ensure the UK’s subsea technology needs are understood and met within the country’s increasingly complex and competitive technology strategies and associated funding landscape. Under the aegis of industry body, Subsea UK, the NSRI will benefit from already established and effective links with the whole industry.
Subsea UK chairman, Bill Edgar, said: “The board of Subsea UK, as the managing member of NSRI, is greatly encouraged to see so many high calibre, experienced individuals willing to serve on the NSRI board and be part of the organisation.”
Commenting on the appointments, NSRI Steering Group leader John Mair, who has been working with Subsea UK to drive the initiative forward, said: “There is a genuine need for meaningful engagement between industry, government and academia and it is crucial that our team has experience in developing technology and an understanding of the intricacies involved in funding such work. Peter and Gordon have extensive backgrounds in working to advance technology and know full well the difficulties those in this field can face. We are exceptionally pleased to have two such experienced people on board to drive the initiative forward.”
Mr Blake will chair the NSRI board whose other members have also been confirmed today. They are Neil Gordon - Subsea UK, Paul White – GE Oil & Gas, Paul Charlton - PDL Solutions, Jason Tisdale - Fugro, Professor Albert Roger - University of Aberdeen and John Mair. With more than 25 years’ industry experience, Mr Blake is subsea systems manager with Chevron Energy Technology Company where he is responsible for supporting subsea projects and operations worldwide, developing and deploying new technology. Mr Blake was instrumental in the setting up of Chevron’s Global Technology Centre in Aberdeen and also holds a position on the board of industry body Subsea UK.
As project director, Dr Drummond will advise business, technology developers, universities and academics as they look for support in bringing new innovations to market that can push the UK energy industry forward for years to come. With a PhD in Condition Monitoring, Dr Drummond has been seconded to the NSRI role from his current position as Technology Manager at Subsea 7. He has been involved in the subsea sector since 1994, initially working on diving vessels before taking on more engineering based roles. In recent years, Mr Drummond has participated in several technology development programmes including the Subsea 7 technology team engaged in many high value enabling technologies with worldwide application.
Initial three-year funding for the NSRI, which is a not-for-profit organisation, has been secured from Scottish Enterprise, Subsea UK and industry with further industry funding expected in the coming months.
Mr Blake said: “It is critical that the UK industry and government continues to invest in subsea technology to ensure we remain at the forefront of the industry. Countries like Norway and Brazil are placing a major focus in areas such as deepwater research and we will only stay ahead of the game by improving the knowledge transfer between our industry and academia. This is where NSRI can play a major role by bringing all the relevant organisations together to keep the UK as the global leader in the subsea sector.”