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QinetiQ spin-out secures GBP6.6 million

29 Mar 2006

Stingray Geophysical plans to commercialize QinetiQ's fiber optic seismic monitoring technology, which can be deployed permanently on the seabed.

Stingray Geophysical, a recent spin-out from UK defense technology expert QinetiQ, has secured £6.6 million (US$11.5 million) to commercialize a fiber optic seismic monitoring system for the oil and gas industry. Dubbed OptaSeis, the technology requires no underwater electronics, which is said to make the unit smaller, less expensive and more reliable than competing systems.

"The OptaSeis system has been developed on the back of decades of leading-edge fibre optic sensing work by QinetiQ," said Stingray Geophysical's CEO, Martin Bett. "Stingray Geophysical allows us to build on this in a very focussed way and also attract investment and industry talent."

The set-up is designed to be permanently deployed on the seabed to help oil and gas companies map the distribution of hydrocarbons below. Currently, firms recover around 35% of reserves. However, the use of OptaSeis - a time lapse multicomponent sensing package - is expected to push this figure closer to 50%. To date, cost and reliability issues have limited the impact of such techniques on the industry.

According to QinetiQ, Stingray Geophysical has been founded by a team that blends venture building experience with oil and gas know-how and world leading fiber optic expertise. QinetiQ retains a 19.9% share in the spin-out and its OptaSeis system will be used under license.

The funding round was led by Energy Ventures (Norway), a venture capital company specializing in high growth oil and gas technology firms.

James Tyrrell is News Editor on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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