Major milestone in National Subsea Centre development

By Jack Stott - 13 May 2021

RGU’s multimillion-pound partnership with The Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) to deliver a world-class subsea research and development hub in Aberdeen has hit a major milestone with the appointment of its Director.

Chris Pearson joins RGU to lead the National Subsea Centre’s (NSC) drive to tackle current and future challenges in subsea engineering.

The NSC represents a massive investment by the partners to deliver cost effective, faster, smarter and cleaner technology through industrial-led academic research which will be developed with, and deployed across, the industry.

Chris joins RGU from the OGTC, where he led a team focused on identifying and introducing new technologies and techniques to reduce the cost of marginal field development, improve hydrocarbon recovery and unlock small undeveloped discoveries. In addition, he led the integrated energy strategy in his group, combining offshore renewable energy with oil and gas to facilitate energy transition and decarbonisation.

Chris commented: “I am delighted to be joining RGU at a time when we are at a pivotal stage in the NSC’s development. We are currently shaping the vision and the sense of direction of travel, looking at the blue economy, blue carbon, and new ways of engineering and thinking.

“In the first instance it’s about establishing sustainability, developing funding streams, and building collaborative relationships with industrial partners, including oil and gas companies, offshore marine renewable companies, and other organisations which are involved in the ocean space.

“Really key to us right now is to get those relationships established and allow them to help build and shape the activity which we will be involved in.”

Drawing on the university’s academic talent, tailored research and expert facilitation, the development of the NSC aims to build capacity and capability in subsea research and anchor that in the north-east of Scotland.

Linking industry demand and expertise with academic capability and skills, the NSC will support and nurture a collaborative approach to problem solving in areas involving communications, data, energy integration, remote monitoring and underwater robotics.

Chris continues: “The NSC provides us with a great opportunity to build on RGU’s reputation. We will be utilising the expertise from the many different disciplines and I’m very keen to involve all the schools here - it’s not just about engineering, it’s about business, it’s about design, it’s about sustainable operations.”

Professor Paul Hagan, VP for Research, added: “The appointment of Chris as Director marks a significant milestone in the development of the National Subsea Centre.

“Chris brings with him a wealth of experience in technology development for industry and will now work to strengthen the already very strong ties RGU has with industry to deliver world-class subsea research and development.”

Imagery by Oceaneering.

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