Britain’s Subsea companies are set to grow by 20% or even more in 2013, with some companies even expected to see a 50% expansion, according to a new study conducted by Subsea UK.

The survey conducted among Subsea UK members showed that all firms are anticipating robust growth in the next 12 months, while nearly half of the companies are expected to expand by 30% and a third by more than 50%.

Around 90% of companies experienced turnover and jump in profits in 2012, while more than half reported growth of 20% and a fifth reported in excess of 50% growth.

According to the survey, sustained high oil prices, an increase in global demand and the introduction of new technology and innovation will form the main drivers of growth going forward.

Inspection, repair and maintenance, integrity and reliability, decommissioning and offshore wind have been identified as the fastest growing segments in the subsea industry.

The report revealed that the subsea industry generates nearly £6bn in revenues and supports more than 50,000 jobs.

Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon said that subsea is the unrecognised jewel in the crown of UK industry.

"The sector is one of, if not the, fastest growing in the country and these findings will come as no surprise to the oil and gas industry as whole," Gordon added.

"Several respondents anticipate growing by over 75% in 2013 and many of our small, entrepreneurial companies focused on niche products and services are set to double or treble in size."

Around 88% of the respondents said that recruiting and retaining skilled people is the biggest challenge facing the sector, while 15% cited factors such as access to finance, working capital, finding suitable premises, controlling costs and managing growth as other impediments.

"The survey conducted among Subsea UK members showed that all firms are anticipating robust growth."

Nearly 80% felt that the UK continues to be the world-leader in subsea, while 12% said that countries such as Norway and the US are providing tough competition to the UK.

Respondents also revealed that Britain’s position in the subsea market is being seriously challenged due to the government’s lack of support and investment in the development of new technology.

Norway, Brazil, US, south-east Asia, Australia, West Africa and the Middle-east have been identified as the main international markets for UK subsea companies.

Around 25% of respondents ranked Norway as their top priority for overseas markets, 24% ranked US, 20% ranked Brazil, while only 12% ranked UK North Sea as a priority, as per the survey.

"However, there is a stark warning in the survey from members increasingly concerned about the UK’s competitive edge. With other countries receiving significant support and funding from their governments for the development of new technology, we risk losing out," Gordon added.

Image: Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon.