Scottish £31m subsea centre of excellence to create 100 jobs

A £4.9m grant to enable oilfield services group, BHGE, to develop a £31m manufacturing campus has been announced by first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

The investment will enable the company to create a state-of-the art manufacturing subsea centre – image courtesy of BHGE.

Nicola Sturgeon today (30 May) announced £4.9m in funding as part of a £31m investment being made by Baker Hughes, a GE company in its manufacturing footprint in the North East of Scotland.

The funding package – provided to BHGE following an application to Scottish Enterprise – will support the transformation of an existing facility, creating an ambitious new Centre of Excellence (CoE) that will support the global oil and gas industry.

The first minister said that the government funding would directly support people training and R&D activity at the new CoE.

BHGE’s investment will fund infrastructure improvements, enabling the company to upgrade and expand its Montrose operations, creating a state-of-the art manufacturing ‘campus’.

Reportedly, subsea equipment designed and manufactured at this facility will support activity worldwide, from 10,000-ft water depths offshore West Africa and Australia, to the Gulf of Mexico and some of the world’s most remote oilfields, such as the Barents Sea off the coast of Norway.

The new campus will benefit from advanced manufacturing tools and processes, designed to improve efficiency and productivity, including:

  • Virtual reality tools to help technicians assemble equipment digitally and troubleshoot issues before construction begins;
  • Automation to boost efficiency on activities like welding, testing and material-handling;
  • Sensor-equipped machines that allow customers to view updates of manufacturing activities and equipment test results via an iPad in real-time. The sensors will also provide BHGE with critical data to improve operations and increase productivity;
  • 3D printers to help quickly develop fully-functional prototypes of components and highly complex structures, as well as actual production parts;
  • Laser measuring devices, including trackers and scanners, allowing engineers and designers to make better, faster measurements of components and improve equipment build accuracy.

According to BHGE, R&D activities will focus on bringing new technologies to market that reduce costs, enhance productivity and lower the carbon footprint of oil and gas operations in some of the world’s most demanding offshore and onshore environments, including ultra-deep water, and high pressure-high temperature subsea wells.

The first minister said: “Manufacturing, which employs more than 180,000 people in Scotland, is crucial to the success of our economy. Therefore, I welcome the ambitious plans by BHGE to create a world-leading subsea centre of excellence in Montrose, supported by Scottish Government funding.

“This facility will bring new jobs and investment to Scotland. And as one of the most advanced centres of its type in the world, it will underline our international reputation for oil and gas innovation, developing the products and services the industry needs for the future.”