North East centre to test deep sea technology

An "extreme" engineering centre will be built in Newcastle to help develop subsea technology.

The £7 million Neptune National Centre will be created on the River Tyne in the city.

The centre was unveiled by the Business Secretary Vince Cable as part of a new oil and gas strategy.

The centre will be built on the north bank of the river on Neptune Energy Park, part of Shepherd Offshore.

It is billed by Newcastle University, which is providing funds for the scheme, as a centrepiece for economic revival.

The project, also supported by Newcastle City Council, includes plans for a hyperbaric chamber capable of testing technology and materials at temperatures and pressures equivalent to those found at the deepest ocean depths.

"The UK's oil and gas sector is crucial to the economy, so we've worked closely with the sector on today's industrial strategy. But its future success relies on it being underpinned by the latest science and technology.

"This cutting-edge new facility will help put our academic community and industry at the centre of subsea and offshore engineering research. It will drive up skills and develop the innovations needed to fuel growth in the North Sea."

– Vince Cable, Business Secretary

"The Neptune Centre will create a unique facility that will significantly enhance research capacity, not just at Newcastle University but in the UK as a whole, providing a focus for the development of both new technology and academic-industry relationships that underpin future growth."

– Professor Nick Wright, Project lead

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