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Ward Hadaway welcomes news on offshore centre of excellence

LAW firm Ward Hadaway has hailed news of a £7m centre of excellence for offshore engineering research in the North East as a major boost for the region's burgeoning oil and gas sector.

The Government has thrown its weight behind the Newcastle University-led research centre, which aims to capitalise on the North-East’s sought-after expertise in the fast-growing offshore industries.

The centre on the banks of the River Tyne will work with firms to develop equipment and machines able to withstand some of the world’s toughest environments and will be the UK’s lead research centre in the sector.

It forms part of the Government’s oil and gas strategy that aims to secure thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment.

Ward Hadaway works with many of the region’s leading players in the oil and gas sector and related industries, offering a wide range of services from commercial contract advice to joint ventures and international agreements.

Mark Whitehead, Partner and Head of the Energy and Utilities team at Ward Hadaway, said: “This announcement is excellent news for the region and further confirmation of the North-East’s position at the forefront of research and development in the oil and gas sector, particularly in the sub-sea arena.

“Companies in the region have been leading the way, not just nationally but internationally, for some time and this development will hopefully help to reinforce and grow that reputation for many years to come.”

As well as advising companies working in the offshore industries, Ward Hadaway also plays an active part in the sector’s advancement.

Colin Hewitt, Partner and Head of Commercial at the UK Top 100 law firm, is a long-standing director at NOF Energy, which represents over 400 companies within the oil, gas, nuclear and offshore renewables sectors in the North East.

Colin said: “This announcement is very significant as it singles out the North East above all the other regions in the UK for its established excellence in a field which is growing in importance and influence every year.

“The combination of the cutting edge research coming out of our universities and the manufacturing know-how from our companies is a very powerful one and this centre will bring all that together under one roof.”

The Neptune National Centre for Subsea and Offshore Engineering will feature facilities capable of testing technologies and materials at temperatures and pressures equivalent to those found at the very deepest ocean depths.

Its establishment is being backed by NOF Energy and by the Subsea North-East Consortium of companies.

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