Annual Report

Chair: Richard Binks

2017-18

LSE had a good year, producing a respectable surplus. All events were in profit. We ran eight evening events, one City Subsea Awareness course, and four Lunch and Learns. We ended the year with an enjoyable summer BBQ on the HQS Wellington with a live band. In November we held our annual quiz night.

Seven evening events were held at Imperial College in London and one event in Woking.

Within the region we have two core interest groups. Firstly, what was the Subsea Engineering SIG. There is still considerable subsea engineering effort, headquartered in London and other hubs on the outskirts such as Woking. Generally, events with subsea engineering themes are better attended. The other core group is the City Insurance industry. This group is globally unique in the size and scope of what it insures. There is also a hunger from them to learn more about the products they are insuring so they can evaluate the risks. Dissemination of knowledge between these core areas is the fundamental of SUT LSE activity.

Throughout this year we have had had a much better understanding of our day-to-day accounts and this has enable us to present evening events on a wider range of topics away from core areas, even if these are more likely to be marginal financially.

This year saw the start of a South West Chapter lead by Brian Green. Currently a subchapter underneath SUT LSE, the SW chapter start-up has been helped by support of new corporate members, the Met Office in Exeter. There is a mix of subsea technologies in SW UK, though spread over a wide area from Falmouth to Bristol.

SUT+ have run a number of events and from January 2018 have an allocation of £1000 from LSE to help run their events and keep them free of charge.

Committee

The Executive committee is comprised of:
Richard Binks Chair
Keith Broughton Deputy Chair
Iain Knight Hon Treasurer
Arabella Walker Hon Secretary SUT+
Jacqui Adams SUT Events Manager
Brian Green Hon Secretary SW Chapter
Graham Taylor Hon Secretary

We are indebted to the regular help from other committee members notably Brian Jones, Joe Hulm, Geoff Lyons and SUT CEO Steve Hall. We have also had other welcome guests, Caroline Acton from Met Office and Rebecca Sykes from Lloyds Register, both will broaden the knowledge base of the committee.

Accounts

Included in this publication are the year-end event accounts for SUT. LSE evening events are generally sponsored at £300-500 per event. We need 40 attendees to break even at Imperial College. These numbers are only achieved once or twice a year, so event sponsorship is mandatory to run a profitable event. We do have to be careful, as companies may be reluctant to sponsor if attendee numbers are low. Clearly SSACs rapidly add to income. The LSE accounts are slightly weighted as we had two summer BBQs in the financial year. Lunch and Learn events are currently non-revenue earning.

Evening Events

September 2017 Innovation for Subsea Fields of the Future (Woking)
October 2017 Offshore Floating Wind Evolution or Revolution
November 2017 Subsea Boosting Systems
January 2018 Global Offshore Prospects
February 2018 Seiche and BMT Global
March 2018 Subsea Flowline Lateral Buckling Design
May 2018 Bouri (Libya) FSO Replacement
June 2018 Castrol Keeping the Subsea World Moving

The 28 June evening event was our last meeting at Imperial College as their rooms will only be available in holiday periods. Ideally, we want to keep the events in the West End and in a formal lecture theatre. Cheryl Ince has conducted a survey of potential rooms but most are expensive and or grubby. Best option would be to use the Charles Taylor’s, (Loss Adjusters) conference room, but have yet got any confirmation of viability. Ideally it would be best to be independent of hospitality of a single corporate member. IMarEST/ImechE has rooms in Bird Cage Walk. This has been discussed with David Loosely CEO Imarest. There is a 40-person attendee room FOC and other larger rooms available for a charge. We maybe able to get a discount on larger room hire through IMarEST.

We are looking at options, wine and cheese at the venue could be replaced by pie and beer at a nearby pub.

The Woking Christchurch venue would still be used for at least one event/year though our venue has increased prices to £12.50/ head so Woking events also require sponsorship.
Profits are not mandatory, but LSE has to cover loss making events and fund SUT+. Improving the rolling forecast helps to see the overall picture
We have been holding back on evening events for the autumn of 2018. Our first evening event of the financial year will be the Westwood Global Energy Prospects in January 2019. As numbers attending this event are high it will be cost effective to use one of the conference facilities at IMechE.

SUT+

Our SUT+ is an active group, running social and learning events to encourage younger interest in SUT LSE. Where possible events are free.

LSE gives SUT+ £1000 annual allocation. This was partly used (£293) to fund bar snacks at the SUT+ speed networking event.

Events

  • March 18 Women in Industry Panel session at Oceanology
  • May 18 Speed Networking event at Ye Olde Watling Pub. Only 13 from 28 booked attended but still a successful event. SUT+ used LSE budget to supply bar snacks.
  • May 18 East Anglia 1 Windfarm Geotechnics

We need to limit the amount of “no shows” at free events. A refundable deposit would cause too much admin. Better to have a nominal £5 cost that would be refunded against a free drink on arrival (or taken by SUT as an admin fee)

An SUT+ Linkedin account has been set up.

I have concerns on how to differentiate LSE events from SUT+ events given that the latter are free to attend and that anyone can attend (not just SUT+). A possible answer is to integrate two FOC SUT+ events per year within the calendar of normal evening events. The aim is for an LSE committee member to sit in on SUT+ meeting to provide guidance, if needed!

Lunch and Learn Events

Lunch and learn events are free to attend and normally held at the sponsors’ premises. The sponsors are city insurance companies but does not have to be so. As with SUT+ free events there seems to be a high level of no-shows. Sometimes this is inevitable if there is a crisis in the insurance world. However, having a nominal fee going to SUT would stop some no-shows and would provide income to SUT. At the moment events get full on the booking system so we are turning away people, but the actual event can be only 2/3 full.

Events run:

September 2017 Underwater Explosive Ordnance Risk Mitigation and Logistics
October 2017 Latest Developments in Electrical ROV Design
November 2017 Floating Tidal: Ahead of the Curve
January 2018 Global Offshore Prospect
April 2018 Decommissioning

City Subsea Awarenes Course and Unexploded Ordnance courses

A successful CSSAC was run in November. This was a one-day course presented by paid lecturer Bob Summers. Although well-received, it was felt that the course was too focussed on drilling techniques and that there were other topics not covered such as weather and windfarms. Weather factors have a major influence on claims. To try and focus on what the target audience wanted, a meeting was hosted by Keith Broughton on 12 June with three city loss adjusters. It makes sense to run the course in a modular way, similar to the SSAC courses in Aberdeen, with each module having different presenters. The presenters could/should come from SUT membership. Eight modules have been identified and could be run over a series of afternoons. This major revamp of the course will take time, but we are focussing on this rather than running another course with the current format.

The last SSAC benefited from cooperation with Lloyds U35, encouraging younger members in the City to attend and SUT+ members. We want to see this continuing, Lloyds U35 endorse the course and are mentioned on the flyer but make no financial contribution.

HQS Wellington is still seen as the ideal venue for these events.

It is still planned to run a longer (4 x ½ days) in 2019. This would be targeted at senior loss adjusters.

Unexploded Ordnance courses are a work in progress again for the City Insurance market, we are currently in conversation with lecturer Richard Batterick regarding these. We hope to run a UXO course in 2019.

Like elsewhere we are restricted by available effort to set up and run another course, though we have set up a working group to assist.

Greenwich Forum and Parliamentary Groups

SUT needs to promote itself better in other forums like Greenwich and UK Parliamentary groups and needs to have a permanent presence on Greenwich Forum. POST (Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology) is a civil service group that is worth interfacing with as POST briefs both Houses of Parliament. This is on-going; ideally an LSE representative would sit on both forums, and an LSE subgroup could be formed to coordinate parliamentary interface.

Summer BBQ 21 June Wellington

Financial year end BBQ was again held on the HQS Wellington this time with addition of “Risky Business”, a twelve-piece band from Insurance company Beazleys. Sonardyne again sponsored the event for £1500. As seen on the accounts, despite greater numbers attending, margins were lower than last year. Wellington had increased costs the costs of hiring their ship, but we could not increase ticket cost above the £87.50 that we charged last year. Its basically a BBQ on a great venue. Even after Jacqui Adams negotiated the Wellington rates down, we were still at breakeven, and relied on Sponsorship, to cover additional costs.

The ticket price was too expensive for most SUT+ members so we used sponsor money to offer 10 tickets to SUT+ members at £50 per head, to encourage younger members to attend. Only a couple of these were taken up.

The event was a great success, but where there are low margins, it adds stress, and takes up more time from Jacqui and LSE committee. Our preferred option is to run the event on the Wellington next year but will need confirmation of costs from Wellington, agreed sponsorship and some guaranteed corporate bookings, for the LSE committee to be comfortable. As a contingency, other venues are being considered.

SW Chapter Update

The chapter was stimulated by the enthusiasm of Brian Green, and the desire to hold events in SW England from companies involved in Subsea Technology. We were also helped by the Met Office. They have an outreach program as a result of their more independent status. They are prepared to host events, but these are under their terms ie they do not want to charge for events. They have other laudable desires to see more women in the industry, which we all do, but the current demographics will only show present gender balance at events.

Events

March 2018 Networking lunch at OI sponsored by Met Office
April 2018 Exeter Autonomous integrated technology lowering the cost of IRM
June 2018 Exeter SW Offshore Floating Wind design and Installation

The SW chapter has attracted other interest from industry and scientific community giving potential for joint events with other parties such as Plymouth Marine Learning Alliance.
Brian, now the Branch Honorary Secretary is keen to directly market corporates in the South West. We have had some issues with GDPR rules on use of the SUT database by non SUT staff (ie all volunteer committee members) but hopefully these will be resolved. It is essential both in the SW and elsewhere in the LSE region that we market ourselves better to our corporate members.

Subsea UK Partnership

This is a technical partnership between SUT and Subsea UK. The latter have full financial responsibility for running events, SUT endorses and helps with papers and technical content.
A one event took place Bristol on 10 July on “Life of Field” and another is scheduled in Woking for 22 November 2018. These are one-day seminars with costs £95 per head. SUT members will get a £10 discount.

The Woking Event is planned be held in the HG Wells centre. Woking’s theme, appropriate to the venue is “Back to the Future”.

Conclusion

2017-18 was a successful year for LSE. We have developed and structured SUT LSE better. We understand our support infrastructure from SUT HQ and have integrated the help from events manager Jacqui Adams in Aberdeen. We have expanded the SW group to a Chapter. We have successfully run our events and only cancelled one when it looked too marginal. We are starting to use the model of Perth branch, to use sub-committees or working groups. We have set up two, one for membership and one for the City SSAC. At the moment we are dividing the six active members into working groups of four. We do need to encourage more active committee members.

The issues that face us:

We need to reach a conclusion on the evening event venue in London. Without a venue, we are not performing our primary role of knowledge dissemination. The city has got ruthlessly expensive, even as a learned society and charity, the good deals are few and far between. With costs high, events have to be sponsored and our relationship with corporate members strengthened.

SUT LSE needs a defined list of the corporate members under its remit. We must look at all ways that companies support SUT either corporate membership or “support in kind”. Some City corporates will sponsor a “Lunch and Learn” but are not corporate members.

We need to target SUT-friendly people within companies that can help get buy-in to corporate membership. These people are not likely to be CEO level. All companies need a regular update of

SUT activities and benefits. At the moment we are not consistently connected and engaged with all our corporate members.

The City SSAC and UXO courses should eventually have a good revenue stream. The restructuring of the City SSAC and launching of the UXO just takes time but our working group will try and accelerate this.

As elsewhere in SUT we are aware that not all attendees of Special Interest Groups members of SUT. We need better control and encouragement to be SUT members

With lower margins on events we need to change what we are providing as far a hospitality maybe just food and no free alcohol.

We need to share events with other similar groups such as Hydrographic Society, IMCA, AMSI, Imarest etc. The joint seminars with HySoc in Aberdeen are good events and revenue earners.