3i & Lime Rock Strengthen Position With £10.6m Deal

3i and Lime Rock Partners have enhanced their position in Norway with the announcement of a £10.6m (130m Krone) backing of Oslo-based seismic offshore company Terra Seismic Services AS (TSS).

The deal, which represents a financial input of £5.3m (64.8m Krone) each by 3i and Lime Rock, is 3i¹s first investment in a Norwegian oil and gas service sector company and follows on from 3i¹s, £12.5m (153.4m Krone) backing of Norwegian exploration and production firm Revus Energy last year.

Terra Seismic Services is a start-up company and will operate in the seismic offshore market, introducing a unique Four Component (4C) data acquisition system and innovative in-sea systems handling techniques which will allow the oil and gas companies to acquire enhanced quality seismic data at economically attractive rates which Terra Seismic Services believe will stimulate the growth of the 4C market. 4C, which represents a major step change in the seismic industry, uses ocean bottom measurements to deliver improved image resolution of subsurface structures and provide essential additional information about the properties of reservoir rock and the nature of the fluids held within.

The funding will be used to acquire a ground breaking redeployable seabed data acquisition system, VectorSeis Ocean, developed by a leading provider of seismic equipment, Houston-based Input/Output, Inc. This new recording and communication technology will be combined with Terra Seismic Services' advanced data acquisition methods to maximize operational efficiency.

3i investment manager for Norwegian oil and gas Hans Middelthon said: "In our recent sector report 'The Prospects for North Sea Oil and Gas' we highlighted the need for technological innovation as a vital element in sustaining the life of the basin, and Terra Seismic Services is at the forefront of that technological advance.

"An assessment of all oil and gas fields, producing or under development, on the Norwegian and UK continental shelves, indicates that over 60 percent would benefit from 4C seismic. All of these fields could be prospects for Terra Seismic Services¹ enhanced quality 4C services.

"The international oil and gas industry has also recognized the benefits and value of 4C seismic data and this is expected to be a high growth market over the next few years. We believe Terra Seismic Services' prospects to be excellent and we would anticipate considerable growth for the company over the next few years.

"The deal with Terra Seismic Services presented us with an opportunity to back the leading independent management team within the offshore seismic industry. We strongly believe their unique product offering will promote real changes in the delivery of optimum reservoir management."

Tom Bates, Managing Director of Lime Rock Partners and a newly appointed member of the Terra Seismic Services Board of Directors, said: 'Lime Rock is keen to use its extensive industry experience and network to support Terra Seismic Services' delivery of this game changing technology in what is a rapidly growing market. The potential within Terra Seismic Services suggests that it can develop and retain a market leading position within this field for years to come.'

Terra Seismic Services CEO Michael Scott said; "We plan to drive the 4C ocean bottom cable (OBC) market by enabling our oil company customers to obtain the imaging benefits that result when seismic data is acquired from the seabed at economically attractive rates, both in the North Sea and elsewhere in the world.

"Our two financial partners, 3i and Lime Rock, were convinced of the potential for this new approach in seismic acquisition from the seabed and have committed significant funds to acquire this ground-breaking technology. We look forward to delivering significant returns on their investment."