Neptune Energy is partnering with a team of University of Aberdeen students, supporting their entry to a global engineering challenge to build a working remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and establishing new links between the operator, the university and the next generation of oil and gas professionals.

Neptune was approached by the university’s Electrical & Electronic Engineering Society (EEESoc) and agreed to become their primary sponsor, providing funds to help purchase parts for the ROV and to cover fabrication and construction costs, as well as direct access to Neptune’s senior engineering and projects team for their advice and expertise.

The EEESoc members are competing in a global competition run by the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center (MATE), a partnership of US-based organizations that aims to improve education around marine technology. They do this through the support of educational institutions, by compiling assessments of workforce needs and establishing guidelines for emerging oceanic industries.

The MATE ROV competition tasks teams with structuring themselves as companies then designing and building a work class ROV – a remotely operated vehicle, regularly used in the energy industry to inspect subsea infrastructure. The university’s Nautilus ROV team consists of eight technical and five administrative roles across nine departments. Each technical department has junior engineer positions, designed to aid the work of the technical heads and to provide training for future department heads.

This competition assesses many of the aspects of a large-scale engineering project including financial decisions, marketing, health and safety standards and the ability of each ROV to face a range of challenges. It tests students’ skills as engineers, project management abilities and develops “soft skills” associated with the modern engineering profession.

The ROV will be built at the University of Aberdeen and tested at local facilities.

The team faces a tough competition to be held in the US next year, pitching them against teams from around the world.

Alan Muirhead, Director of Projects & Engineering for Neptune in the UK said: “We’re excited to partner with the Nautilus ROV team. From the outset, we were impressed with their plans and strategic approach to the challenge of building a working ROV.

“We’re growing our business in the UK and globally, and meeting the challenges presented in the future requires new technologies, digital innovation and radical new approaches. The industry has a responsibility to support the next generation of energy industry professionals and we’re looking forward to developing strong, lasting links with the University and the EEESoc.”

Thomas Godfrey-Brown, project manager for the Nautilus ROV team said: “We greatly appreciate Neptune’s support and look forward to working with them for the ROV competition and future projects. It’s a great opportunity for the team to interact with oil and gas professionals, test their abilities and practically apply the learnings from their degree program.

“As well as creating a point of contact between students and the energy industry, we believe this can act as a platform for the students to showcase their talents and potential as skilled candidates for subsea and marine-oriented roles."

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