Energy Voice | Does the UKs subsea industry actually belong to the UK?

I dont like spin. Never have and never will. Consequently I get really annoyed when people talk about the success of the UK subsea industry. Brits seem to have a thing about claiming ownership of something simply because its based here. Its a bit like Ford motor cars. We not me obviously think of it as British because its been here since the 1930s or maybe earlier. It isnt. Its American. Always has been, always will be.

When I first came into the subsea industry in 1974 I worked for an Anglo French company operating manned submersibles. I joined them because a) I spoke French and b) they had some great ideas. The only UK company operating subs struck me as being more like an offshoot of the civil service. Not my cup of tea. Anyway, the French food was better and they wanted to send me to Florida for familiarisation training. Whats not to like!

Was I concerned about working with the French? Not at all. In fact to this day I am good friends and in regular contact with a lot of my old French colleagues. Some even send me humorous e-mails about moving back over there when Brexit kicks in. Its an interesting idea.

As the industry evolved and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) were developed, who was doing what began to change. Our first ROV was built by a Canadian company but the very big player proved to be American, namely the defence contractor Amatek Straza who built the highly successful and ubiquitous Scorpio ROV.

The UK though had one major advantage, or so we thought. By the ....

read more from