StatoilHydro has assigned the management of its technology corporate venture activities to a special purpose company, Energy Capital Management AS. The new management company will be led by Arne Froiland, former vice president of StatoilHydro Corporate Venture.
This move represents a further focus on venture capital as a tool to access new technology to support StatoilHydro's technology strategy and to capitalize on today's ownership positions within the venture business.
The new management company and its portfolio will benefit from close ties to StatoilHydro through the StatoilHydro technology implementation board, with representatives from the Technology & New Energy (TNE), Exploration & Production Norway (EPN), Manufacturing & Marketing (M&M) and Exploration & Production International (INT) business areas. Morten Loktu, senior vice president of the TNE R&D business cluster will be chair of this board.
"StatoilHydro will combine continued in-house technology commercialization efforts with relations to the venture fund as additional tools for technology positioning," said Loktu.
The management company will be owned by management and StatoilHydro. The existing portfolio, Fund I, will be fully owned by StatoilHydro and led by the management company with a clear focus on realising both the strategic and financial value. New investments into the energy sector will be made from a new Fund II which is to be established by inviting a limited number of key investors.
"The new management company will benefit from the StatoilHydro relationship through opportunities for both pilot projects and increased deal flow," said Arne Froyland. "The management company will also be a preferred partner to StatoilHydro for venture fund investments."
The new management company will immediately start the process of bringing in investors, establishing a fund for future investments (Fund II), aiming for a StatoilHydro ownership of some 25-40%.
"The target size of the new fund will be between NOK 0.5-1.0 billion," said Froiland. "We will invite a few high-quality investors to participate. The management agreement for this fund would be on standard venture industry terms."
StatoilHydro will continue its strong in-house focus on industrial development through the LOOP program and other direct strategic technology investments.
"The strategic thinking is to strengthen the capacity of Venture as a wider "radar" of external innovation to tap into promising and relevant technologies to support our research and business development within the whole energy sector," said Loktu.
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