Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV), the corporate venturing subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s eponymous oil producer, has invested an undisclosed amount into Sekal, a Norway-based oil and gas drilling software and services company. Noway state-owned oil major Statoil, alongside SåkorninVest, a seed fund managed by Procom Venture, have also backed Sekal, which is commercializing two software solutions, DrillScene and DrillTronics, used in drilling operations where rigs have real time data streaming capabilities. Both products were developed by the International Research Institute of Stavanger
with financial support from Statoil, oil peer BP, and Norwegian organisations Research Council of Norway and Demo 2000. Ibrahim Buainain, chief executive of SAEV, said: “Sekal’s technology is truly superior to competing alternatives in the market, and will have a significant impact in increasing efficiency, reducing downtime and reducing costs in Saudi Aramco’s drilling operations.” Last year, SAEV partnered with Energy Capital Management, a UK and Norway-based venture capital firm that was formerly Statoil’s corporate venturing unit, to invest in European deals.SAEV said it would also have someone in the UK so as to have a direct presence. SAEV said it would open satellite offices in “established and emerging technology hubs in Asia”. At the end of January, SAEV officially launched its US operations, Aramco Energy Ventures, headquartered in Houston, Texas. However, the office was initiated in the final three months of last year with the hire of Cory Steffek. At the time of the US launch, Buainain said: “The importance of the US venture community cannot be overstated and we see great potential for SAEV to work with start-ups throughout North America to support the development of new technologies and help them to access large and growing energy related markets in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”

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