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Bel Valves to develop subsea testing centre in Newcastle

A new subsea engineering facility is to be developed in Newcastle, UK, at an estimated cost of £10 million (€13.9 million).

The 'Neptune' technology centre development will deliver a centre of excellence for hyperbaric testing in the UK. Situated on the North bank of the River Tyne in Newcastle, the facility will be jointly owned by Bel Valves and Newcastle University. Housing six hyperbaric chambers which simulate water depths down to 4,500m, the facility will provide a mix of commercially available test facilities and a national centre for training and research for the industry.

'With the demise of 'easy oil' Operators, Vendors and Academics are now leading the way in developing technologies to shape the world's energy future.' Bel Valves said in a statement on its website. 'The joint challenge faced is one of developing safe, environmentally and economically viable subsea solutions for the frontier oil and gas challenges including ultra-deep water.'

Neil Kirkbride, CEO, Bel Valves, says: 'There is a known bottleneck in the industry due to the lack of easily available, large diameter, high pressure hyperbaric facilities, a trend which is set to continue with the move to deeper waters and advanced subsea processing.

This facility will improve our capabilities for research and development and provide access for others in the subsea community to world class development facilities in a timely and cost effective manner.'

Building work for the Neptune Test Centre is due to commence early in 2015 with staged commissioning of equipment to be completed by 2017.