The University of Houston (UH) has announced it will lead one of two new offshore energy research centres in Texas, US.

The Subsea Systems Institute will serve as a national research centre for subsea engineering and other offshore energy development issues.

"Penalties from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 will help fund the institute."

Penalties from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 will help fund the institute, which aims to reduce the risk of offshore accidents, oil spills and other deepwater incidents.

BP is expected to face a fine of up to $13.7bn after a US judge recently ruled that the company discharged 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The British oil and gas firm paid hundreds of millions of dollars to alleged victims of the spill through multiple businesses between August 2012 and October 2013.

As well as its technical work, the centre will focus on issues associated to training future subsea engineers to work at depths and temperatures that have yet to be explored.

UH will lead the institute, working in collaboration with Rice University, the Johnson Space Center, Texas Southern University, Houston Community College and Lone Star College.

UH president Renu Khator said: "We envision our Subsea Systems Institute as serving to ensure that technologies, policies, regulations and standards needed for safe and environmentally responsible operations in the energy industry are developed and shared."

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will lead the second centre.