MTEM Takes Technology into North Sea

The revolutionary technology developed by Edinburgh-based MTEM to map offshore and onshore hydrocarbon deposits is to be deployed in the North Sea for the first time, in a tie-up between the fast-expanding company and operators Venture Production Plc.

The contract represents the biggest single deal for the company since it began commercial operation of its pioneering logging before drilling system.

MTEM (multi-transient electromagnetic) is to carry out work on a 24km stretch of a Venture-owned exploration block in the UKCS, having successfully completed offshore tests of its adapted R-Land system. The technology can determine, without the need for drilling, whether deep underground reservoirs contain oil and gas reserves.

MTEM has already successfully deployed the system onshore in projects in India.

Leon Walker, Chief Executive of MTEM, said: "This is an exciting stage in the development of our company. We have already shown the practical benefits of the technology in land-based surveying, and now we are about to put it to use in one of the harshest offshore environments in the world.

"It is a major step forward for the team at MTEM, one which we are looking forward to immensely and one which we believe will be keenly observed by the offshore oil and gas industry in its entirety. I am delighted to work with the team at Venture Production Plc and look forward to delivering our data to help them deliver their objectives."

Venture Production Plc's New Oil Asset Manager, Mike Travis, said: "Innovation is one of the keys to the future of the UKCS, and we are pleased to be associated with a company operating at the cutting edge of the industry as we look for new ways to develop our North Sea assets cost effectively. The technology is being applied to one of our most exciting potential field developments."

MTEM believes its technology will radically reduce drilling risk and potentially save the oil industry billions of dollars per year. Industry experts estimate the potential market for MTEM at around £500 million annually and the rapidly expanding Edinburgh-headquartered company established its first regional office in Houston in 2006 to meet the demand for its services in North and South America.

Electromagnetic surveys are designed to provide a measure of changes in subsurface resistivity with depth below ground. This information can be useful in locating recoverable oil and gas since hydrocarbons are more resistive to electrical current than the water typically found at similar depths.

The potential to use electromagnetic surveying has been known by industry for some time but limited in application. The advent of modern receiving instruments, computing power and analysis methods combined with techniques developed in recent years has lead to the development of Multi-Transient electromagnetic surveying applications for reservoirs both onshore and in shallow marine applications.

MTEM received funding of £7.4 million in November 2004 from a syndicate of venture capitalists made up of Stavanger-based Energy Ventures and HitecVision and Scottish Equity Partners from Glasgow.

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