Energy Voice | Tech start-ups selected for OGTC’s pioneer programme

The Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) has unveiled a new cohort for its TechX Pioneer programme.

Underwater mini robots and an “alarm” for suspended oil and gas wells were among the ten selected for this year’s scheme, launching in May.

Almost 200 applications from more than 35 countries were made for the 16-week programme, with the ten selected receiving up to £100,000 each to develop their business.

The OGTC said their work will help maximise economic recovery from the North Sea, as well as aid the transition to a low-carbon economy.

As well as funding, the firms will receive expert advice and access to development partners within the industry.

It follows an inaugural TechX programme last year.

David Millar, TechX director said:  “The quality of applications was exceptional and it’s been challenging to shortlist from such a strong field.  We’ve selected the top 5% from a global pool to join our Pioneer Programme.

“We’ve also taken a huge amount of learning from the first cohort and reflected this in a simpler but more rigorous selection process, ensuring the right balance of technology, skills and ambition.

“The 10 Pioneers we’ve chosen truly embrace these qualities and we look forward to helping them achieve their full potential and deliver clear value to the UK Continental Shelf and beyond.”

After graduating, the start-ups will have the chance to join a 12-month incubator called TechX, with the top two firms receiving an additional award of up to £130,000 from energy giant BP, which is partnering with the Centre for the project.

All funding is retained by the selected firms, with no payback or equity.

David Gilmour, Vice President of BP Ventures said:  “We are delighted to continue as a strategic partner of TechX, building on the success from last year.

“The programme has already seen several technologies develop from early stage concept through to successful prototype, including RAB Microfluidics, who secured BP’s Technology Award for their ground-breaking ‘lab on a chip’ – which diagnoses the early signs of equipment failure.

“We look forward to accelerating the development of these companies in cohort 2, including an exciting number of cleantech solutions that will help deliver the industry’s focus on secure, sustainable energy while advancing a low carbon future.”

The companies selected are:

  • Vita Inclinata Technologies: hoisting technology that increases the operating envelop for both cranes and helicopters, reducing downtime associated with weather while improving safety.
  • Resolute Energy Solutions: micro-polymers designed to fill unwanted gaps in well equipment, cements and the formation rock, fully blocking permeability and preventing the unwanted flow of subsurface fluids.
  • Sedwell Limited: low-power, low-cost wireless condition monitoring technology that provides real-time data to prevent hydrocarbon releases, increasing safety and reliability.
  • Hydromea: mini underwater autonomous robots that collect and harvest data in a subsea environment using high speed underwater communication and transfer.
  • Mocean Energy: an autonomous, unmanned offshore renewable energy station to power ocean sensors, communication equipment and recharge sea-surface, underwater, and air drones.
  • Sentinel Subsea: non-invasive, environmentally friendly, no power alarm that monitors the integrity of suspended and abandoned oil and gas wells.
  • The Big Swing Company: multi-phase separator to de-bottleneck and increase production from marginal fields.
  • Print3dWell: a combination of additive manufacturing and 3D printed slickline tools for replacing expensive well intervention methods, harnessing the use of CO2 as a downhole power source.
  • Green Mesa: software that enables emission profiling of assets, allowing informed decisions to be made for compliance reporting and fleet utilisation.
  • AI Exploration: a multi-phase system for enabling real-time surveillance of single wells across the entire oil field, to adjust and automate production and reduce unscheduled downtime.

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