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Market town welcomes subsea investment

Posted to On the waterfront (by on October 20, 2009

A north Somerset market town has welcomed investment in a dedicated R&D centre

A small town in north Somerset is fast becoming major name in the European subsea oil and gas industry. 

Although Nailsea is not yet tripping as easily off the tongue as Aberdeen or Great Yarmouth, this little town that’s seven miles to the south west of Bristol and 11 miles from the coast has attracted the type of investment that many local councils can only dream of. 

As a rather ordinary market town that has more of a reputation for low-level crime and charity shops, Nailsea has gratefully received the $5 million in funding from GE Oil & Gas to establish its new ‘SmartCentre’ in the town. Its aim is to operate a state-of-the-art research and development facility that can support its drilling and production business across the UK and across Europe. 

Ove Magne Kallestad, Vice President of Subsea Technology & Operations, officially opened the centre this week and made it clear that the expectation of the facility will benefit the industry as a whole. Mr Kallestad said, "The SmartCenter will help shape the future of the global subsea drilling and production industry, enabling oil companies to drive optimum performance and efficiency, and helping maintain world-class standards in environmental, health and safety management.”

For the people of Nailsea, the centre is bringing with it the possibility of employment, a resource in scarce supply in the town, made worse by the global economic downturn. There are still some administrative and support positions available. However, the majority of the recruitment possibilities are for highly trained engineering and subsea experts, which are likely to be filled from people outside the region.

A local council representative told On The Waterfront, "Any investment is good for the town, but this is especially positive as it brings with it a future potential to development the town as an expert in the subsea oil and gas industry. There are also employment opportunities at a time when a number of employers are making redundancies. It's a great development for the town of Nailsea."

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