The Australian Government has awarded Subsea Energy Australia AUD 1.4 million in grant funding that will be used to help small and medium enterprises (SME) become more internationally competitive, the Government of Western Australia (WA) reported Wednesday.

The funding will allow SEA, the leading body for subsea supply and services companies in Australia, and sister organization Subsea Innovation Cluster Australia to form a subsea export hub, the WA Government explained in a written statement. The state government added the hub will foster SME access to new international markets and global supply chains.

“This is a fantastic result, for Western Australia’s … powerhouse subsea industry,” WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston remarked. “Helping WA’s resources and energy sector SMEs access international supply chains will strengthen the already significant contribution these sectors make to our economy.”

The WA Government added that its overseas offices, along with Invest and Trade WA, will work with the subsea hub to pursue new export opportunities for the state.

“It’s great to see the state and federal governments working together to support our innovative, cutting-edge SMEs that support so many jobs across Perth and regional WA and make such a significant contribution to our economy,” commented Dave Kelly, WA’s minister for innovation and information and communications technology. “The WA Government is pleased to work collaboratively with successful hub proponents to ensure our state’s resources and energy sectors continue to be global leaders in innovation.”

In a separate written statement last week, SEA pointed out the hub will assist SMEs through international promotion, trade missions and developing export strategies based on Australian skills and technologies. The organization added the hub initiative will facilitate the Australian subsea industry’s business continuity and recovery efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A large proportion of the gas that has made Australia one of the biggest exporters of LNG in the world is extracted subsea; and when I say subsea, we’re talking some of the deepest, cyclone-prone and remote conditions in the world,” stated SEA Chairman Marius Martens. “The skills and technologies which make this possible are unique and can be exported internationally to bring further jobs to Australia.”

SICA Chairman Ross Waring also applauded the grant funding.

“SICA greatly welcomes the government’s support to establish Subsea Energy Australia as an export hub, directly supporting and accelerating our innovative and creative SMEs in promoting Australian-grown technologies and expertise across the world,” Waring concluded.