Hydro establishes new venture fund for energy technology

February 20, 2006, 09:00 CET

Hydro is to establish a Hydro Technology Ventures Fund II, totalling NOK 400 million. The fund will invest in companies developing innovative technology within the energy sector.

"The intention behind the fund is to contribute to Hydro maintaining its leading position technologically, both within oil and gas and new forms of energy. By participating actively in the market for technology companies, and through investing in the companies with greatest potential, we speed up the pace of our own technology utilization. At the same time, we aim to ensure returns on our investments, just like other venture companies," says Hydro's Head of Projects, Senior Vice President Morten Ruud, who is chairman of the board for the new venture fund.

The fund will invest in innovative techology within upstream oil and gas activities, as well as in renewable energy. The aim is to invest in three to four promising companies annually, for the next four years.

Within oil and gas, forms of technology which increase discovery rates and reduce drilling or operating costs will be prioritized, together with technological solutions that make possible more efficient operations, or operations in vulnerable areas, for instance in Arctic regions.

Within new, renewable energy, the fund will seek out technologies that further prove the viability of wind, hydrogen, biomass and solar power as competitive areas technologically.

Large investments

Hydro Technology Ventures is 100 per cent owned by Hydro. The unit – Hydro's venture capital vehicle within energy – already manages Hydro Technology Ventures Fund I, established in 2001 with a lump sum of NOK 350 million. This first fund has made nine investments. Together with the new Hydro Technology Ventures Fund II, Hydro's venture investment in developing new technology within energy will amount to NOK 750 million. In addition, Hydro spends around NOK 500 million annually on oil and energy related research.

"The close relationship we have with our research and operating environments represents a unique opportunity for technology companies to have Hydro as their first user, thereby cutting the time it takes to develop a commercializable product," says Richard Erskine, head of Hydro Technology Ventures.

Together with Hydro's unit Technology & Competence, the fund can offer expertise, funding and active ownership – from the earliest stages of technological development, to field tests, and then internationalization.

Hydro Technology Ventures works closely with other Norwegian and international venture funds. Investments are typically in the region of NOK 20-30 million. Through board membership, Hydro Technology Ventures works actively to provide access to Hydro's resources and network, thereby accelerating the commercialization process.