Global oil and gas company Shell is banking on emerging technology by setting aside significant funds for investment.
Shell will begin investing in smarter exploration processes and enhanced extraction techniques through its new Shell Technology Ventures arm.
The investments, which will be worth ‘several hundred million dollars’, will be made over the next six to eight years.
The move to set up corporate venture arm Shell Technology Ventures follows on from the continued work of Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1.
The fund, which was set up in 1998, was spun-off in 2007 when Kenda Capital took over as its manager. Investments made through the Kenda Capital-managed fund include Scotland-based AWS Ocean Energy, US-headquartered Xtreme Coil Drilling and Dutch engineering firm Twister.
According to Shell, its new fund will be differentiated from Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1 by virtue of the fact that it will be 100 per cent owned and managed by Shell. To begin with, Shell Technology Ventures will have a focus on the European and American markets.
Geert ven de Wouw, Shell Technology Ventures director, comments, ‘We are looking to develop long-term mutually beneficial partnerships with emerging technology companies, venture capital firms and corporate venturing organisations.
‘A good example of where this is already working is our investment in GlassPoint Solar. Their pilot plant in the Middle East taps heat from the sun to generate steam for enhanced recovery. Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) contracted GlassPoint to build the plant, which is currently being tested.’
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As a technology partner, Shell says, the organisation works ‘closely’ with universities, incubators, early-stage technology companies and independent venture capital firms. In 2012, Shell allocated $1.3 million for research and development work.
Gerald Schotman, executive vice president innovation, R&D and Shell chief technology officer, adds, ‘Ideas from outside the organisation are critical to our open innovation research to R&D.
‘We want to enable the brightest and the best to develop their ideas, and benefit from Shell’s expertise and global reach, so that we can get these technologies up and running in our projects as fast as we can.’