Petroleum Geo-Services buys MTEM

An Edinburgh-based oil and gas technology firm that enables oil companies to find hidden oil and gas in mature producing fields as well as confirming new finds without the need for drilling has been bought by a Norwegian company.


An Edinburgh-based oil and gas technology firm that enables oil companies to find hidden oil and gas in mature producing fields as well as confirming new finds without the need for drilling has been bought by a Norwegian company.

An Edinburgh-based oil and gas technology firm that enables oil companies to find hidden oil and gas in mature producing fields as well as confirming new finds without the need for drilling has been bought by a Norwegian company.

Petroleum Geo-Services acquired Multi-Transient Electro-Magnetic (MTEM), a provider of electromagnetic surveys to detect the presence of hydrocarbons, for £138 million ($275 million) in cash and shares.

The company was sold by Energy Ventures, HitecVision, Scottish Equity Partners and the University of Edinburgh as well as MTEM’s management.

MTEM’s technology complements Petroleum Geo-Services’ own geophysical and electromagnetic technologies developments.

Petroleum Geo-Services’ Sverre Strandenes said this acquisition accelerates the company’s entry into the high growth electromagnetic market. “MTEM’s technology will help accelerate the development of our own towed electromagnetic technology, enabling Petroleum Geo-Services to offer a unique total service.”

MTEM’s chief executive, Leon Walker, remains with the company alongside its other managers, Anton Ziolkowski, Bruce Hobbs and David Wright.

Walker said a combined seismic and electromagnetic company will gain a stronger market position than as a stand-alone player. “Petroleum Geo-Services’ experience and size within land and offshore operations, marine rigging expertise, HSE track record, worldwide market organisation and presence and reputation will accelerate the commercialisation of MTEMs technology.”

MTEM was advised by DLA Piper Scotland, which has been working with the company for four years where it has helped steer it through two rounds of financing as well as ensuring it has robust IP protection.

The law firm’s team was led by head of corporate Simon Rae, who was supported by corporate and technology legal experts. The team worked in partnerships with the firm’s Oslo office.

“We have worked in partnership with MTEM from the outset, tailoring our approach to meet their needs,” Rae said. “It is very pleasing to see a pioneering Scottish company extend its reach and potential through this landmark deal. It demonstrates what talented Scottish businesses with a strong management team and committed investors can achieve. We look forward to their next venture.”

David Sneddon, partner and head of Energy at Scottish Equity Partners, said: “MTEM has been a fantastic success for all involved and is a testament to what can be achieved by management, universities and venture capital working well together. In 30 months the company has gone from University spin out with four staff to fully operational global service company with 67 employees. It is the best price ever achieved for an oil field technology sale to trade buyers outside the United States. We made more than nine times our money in 30 months.”

MTEM’s financial adviser in the transaction was Carnegie. The transaction was managed by Carnegie’s energy team based in Oslo and led by Petter Hagen.

MTEM has developed a cable-based patent protected electromagnetic technology that allows data to be accessed real-time.

The company was spun-out of the University of Edinburgh in 2004 and currently operates two onshore crews and one offshore crew. It has 67 employees and satellite offices in Houston, Calgary and Aberdeen.

Marc Barber

Raven Connelly

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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