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Fotech Raises First Round

Fotech, a UK-based developer of monitoring and surveillance solutions for oil and gas wells and pipelines, has raised Gbp6.5 million in VC funding. Participants include Scottish Equity Partners, Energy Ventures and Shoaibi Group (Saudi Arabia).


Energy technology company Fotech has secured Gbp6.5 million venture funding from Scottish Equity Partners, Energy Ventures and Saudi Arabia-based Shoaibi Group to commercialise its pioneering solutions for the monitoring and surveillance of oil and gas wells and pipelines.

Fotech, which is headed by Chief Executive Douglas Gibson, has developed optical fibre-based acoustic monitoring systems with a wide range of applications. These include the oil and gas industry which requires high-performance systems to detect pipeline leaks and other problems.

Fotech will use the funds to further develop and field test its monitoring systems and for the commercial launch of its products which will initially be targeted at the oil and gas market.

The funds will also be used to finance the acquisition of a spinout from the University of Surrey which has developed fibre-optic sensing technologies.

Douglas Gibson, Chief Executive of Fotech, said: We are delighted to have secured funding from SEP, Energy Ventures and the Shoaibi Group who are all highly-respected investors. The oil and gas industry has seen great benefits from the use of fibre optic sensing technologies in the well bore. Fotech is creating new and innovative solutions which will deliver even better understanding of the entire upstream, midstream and downstream processes.

Gary LeSueur, a Partner at SEP said: Fotech fits our strategy of identifying energy technology businesses with disruptive technologies and significant global opportunities. The management team is highly experienced and we are confident they can make strong inroads into the $3 billion per year oil and gas instrumentation and sensor market.

Anoop Poddar, an Investment Manager at Energy Ventures in Aberdeen added: Fotech's proprietary fibre optics sensing technology will create substantial value for its customers. We are excited about backing such a pioneering technology and a management team that has a proven track record of building sucessful businesses. We look forward to supporting the Fotech management through our industry knowledge, network and expertise.

Faisal Al Shoaibi, Director at Shoaibi Group said: Shoaibi Group is very pleased to be making this strategic investment in Fotech given the strength of management and its investing partners, and looks forward to directly supporting the development of the business across the Middle East and North Africa.


About Fotech Solutions Limited:

Fotech was founded in 2006 by Douglas Gibson and fellow director Alan Piesse to commercialise fibre optic sensing technology. The company specialises in Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) which allows a standard optical fibre cable to act as a microphone over significant distances, using acoustic data and sophisticated software to identify leaks and other problems in pipelines and wells. Gibson and Piesse have many decades of experience in the oil and gas sector. Gibson worked with Halliburton and then built and sold his own oilfield service company, which was a partner of Sensa in South America. He also headed Vibtech, an oilfield services company which was sold to CGG Sercel. Piesse has 30 years experience in oilfield sales and previously worked with Sensa, a fibre optic sensing specialist which was acquired by Schlumberger. Fotech will establish a new base in Hampshire and recruit technical and sales staff in the next 12 months.

About Scottish Equity Partners (SEP)

SEP is a leading European venture capital firm with offices in Glasgow and London. It helps entrepreneurs to build world class companies in the information technology, healthcare and energy-related technology sectors. SEP, recently named Venture Capital Firm of the Year, has a strong track record in the energy sector. It co-invested with Energy Ventures in energy services company MTEM which was sold in 2007 for $275 million to Petroleum Geo-Services (ASA:PGS) (OSE and NYSE: PGS). The MTEM deal was named Venture Capital Technology Exit of the Year. SEP's portfolio includes a number of leading-edge companies in the energy sector including geophysical survey specialist ArkEx, battery technology firm Atraverda, and Casings Technologies which delivers major benefits in the construction of oil and gas wells.

About Energy Ventures

Energy Ventures is a leading venture capital firm providing competent capital to high growth oil and gas technology companies. Energy Ventures manages and advises three oil and gas venture funds with a combined capital base in excess of US$400 million. Energy Ventures is headquartered in Stavanger in Norway, with offices in Aberdeen and Houston. Energy Ventures professionals have extensive industry, investment, transaction and stewardship experience as well as a wide-ranging network in the oil and gas industry.

About Shoaibi Group

The Shoaibi Group which has its headquarters in Al-Khobar (Saudi Arabia), was established over 30 years ago to develop and carry out industrial and commercial activities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East. It has established a reputation for excellence and reliability in the oil & gas sector. Shoaibi is active in the upstream and downstream oil & gas construction, services and supply sectors on its own account and in partnership with others, including, Alderley, Axens, DrilQuip, EMGS, Expro, FMC, Halliburton, Mc Dermott, MIS, Petrovalves, Pride, Sensornet, Swellfix, Technip, Tesco, Topaz, Velosi, Tenaris and Welltec. The Shoaibi Group is a leading investor in early and growth stage oil & gas technology companies globally as well as undertaking broader private equity investments.