Today marked the start of the Subsea Expo at the P&J Live in Aberdeen, the world's largest subsea exhibition and conference. Thousands have descended on Aberdeen for what promises to be a superb (in-person!) event, organised by Global Underwater Hub (GUH).

The Subsea Expo brings together many of the best and brightest minds from different underwater sectors, showcasing the latest in new products, services and cutting-edge technologies. The Expo really highlights the breadth and depth of the UK subsea industry's huge potential to operate across many different sectors and make an impact in many new markets.

With the rise of the 'Blue Economy' around the world, and the acceleration of the energy transition, the UK subsea industry is being presented with unprecedented levels of opportunity. While it is one thing having this opportunity, it is another thing for it to be realised. Therefore, it is a goal of the Subsea Expo to provide an excellent opportunity for companies and individuals to get together to discuss how these opportunities may be realised, with the Expo focusing on: the need for more skilled companies and individuals with renewables expertise; how investment and development in these skills can help the UK realise the goal of being net-zero; helping the UK to competitively develop and deliver the technology and services to support the acceleration of the energy transition; cementing the UK as a world-leader in low-carbon; and creating the jobs and exports of the future.

The Expo was kicked off this morning with a plenary session led by GUH, and included presentations from both Neil Gordon, Chief Executive of GUH, and Ivan McKee, Minister of Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise for the Scottish Government. This was followed with a panel session, with experts including Rear Admiral Paul Halton OBE (Director of Submarine Support for the Royal Navy), Sian Lloyd Rees (UK Managing Director of Aker Offshore Wind, Richard Arnold (Policy Director of the Marine Energy Council) and Hamish MacDonell (Director of Strategic Engagement for Salmon Scotland). The theme of the plenary session was 'Oceans of Opportunity', with the presentations and panel of experts highlighting the opportunities in the rapidly-growing underwater market and how these opportunities may be grasped.

One of the key messages of the plenary session was to highlight the different market sectors in which great subsea opportunities are presented. Sectors such as offshore energy (including oil and gas, offshore wind, decommissioning carbon capture and storage, tidal & wave and hydrogen), aquaculture (including fishing, shellfish and mariculture), defence (including submarines and naval) and other areas such as telecoms and subsea mining were all shown to present huge opportunities for the UK subsea sector. This was emphasised by the great breadth of knowledge of the panel members of the session.

The global subsea sector is currently worth around £50 billion, and is set to grow to £145 billion by 2035; an estimated 190% growth in a mere 13 years. The GUH has emphasised that it is well within the capabilities of the UK to have a third of this market share, with UK's current market share of the global subsea sector being worth around £8 billion. As countries seek to be a part of this growth, it is understandable that the UK is keen to solidify its place as a market leader in such a rapidly growing sector.

While sharing of knowledge and ideas between sectors will be key to the advancement and realisation of all of the opportunities that are being presented, understanding and protecting your intellectual property (IP) will ensure your business maximises its opportunity to be part of this potentially huge growth within the subsea sector. Understanding the types of IP your business has and how these may be protected is key to getting the most out of your ideas and brands, and will help you to be part of one of the most exciting global market expansions in UK history. Protecting your IP and being advised strategically by IP specialists can also help you gain the 'first-mover advantage', ensuring that you are not attempting to move into market areas that are potentially already over-saturated.

Marks & Clerk is keenly following all events at the Subsea Expo, and will continue to provide thoughts throughout the conference.

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