TenzorGEO One Year On

  15 Apr, 2019

Just over a year ago the Oil and Gas Technology Centre announced the 10 Pioneers who had been selected as the first cohort in its exciting TechX accelerator programme.

Each start-up had been selected after a rigorous evaluation process because they had demonstrated the potential to develop technology which could transform the oil and gas industry.

They included Ivan Starostin’s company, TenzorGEO, which uses unique interpretation software and autonomous ocean bottom seismometers that he believes can deliver unprecedented accuracy in pinpointing oil and gas deposits and truly effect a step-change in exploration.

To a point, his story is typical of many entrepreneurs in the North Sea who have an exceptional idea and unwavering belief. For most it would be a three to five-year journey, with no revenue and significant costs, to achieve what TenzorGEO has achieved in little more than a year.

Statistics suggest that nine out of 10 start-ups which embark on such a journey fail to reach their destination, often because of a lack of revenue.

However, TenzorGEO’s technology has just undergone a field trial in the North Sea for an energy supermajor, supported by a global service company, and Ivan Starostin attributes his remarkable success so far to the OGTC, its TechX programme and Scottish Edge, which has also supported him.

Ivan said: “TechX helped us achieve, in 16-weeks, what otherwise might never have happened. We were given massive support and they did exactly what they promised – they accelerated us by perhaps three to five years.

“The funding we received has been vital for a fledgling company with no revenue, but perhaps as important are all the other aspects TechX offered.

“I was given immediate access to senior executives from the energy industry who I wouldn’t normally be able to reach, and who ultimately, made our first field trial possible.

“It was an intensive 16-weeks during which I had to present time after time again. When I first started, I had plenty passion and a myriad of things I wanted to say but didn’t deliver very well. Over the four months, they equipped me with an arsenal of tools to refine my value proposition and perfect my delivery.

“The success that TechX brought has been truly astonishing and I can’t thank my mentors enough, who have been available almost 24-7 throughout this whole process.”

David Millar, technology accelerator director at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said: “We are delighted with the success we are seeing from Ivan and the TenzorGEO team. Technologies like these will address specific industry challenges and if we can accelerate their development, including access to field trials, this will demonstrate their effectiveness and advance commercialisation.”

Chris Pearson, marginal developments solution centre manager at the OGTC explained that by mitigating risks and cost for small pool developments, this improves the likelihood of securing the funding.

“TenzorGEO is using low-frequency background seismic, which is a very low-cost approach and should allow an operating company to narrow the uncertainty on developments - including larger developments with multiple wells. Overall this represents a great opportunity for the industry to access marginal developments.

“We are already lining up a second field trial with another operator in order to demonstrate proof of technology, which will achieve wider acceptance from the industry.

“Achieving this milestone in just one year [from entry to the programme] is a good outcome and a great story for the OGTC.”

Evelyn McDonald, chief executive of Scottish Edge, said: “What we look for in Scottish Edge is innovation and high growth potential and we felt TenzorGEO offered both of those. Ivan is taking pre-existing technology and using it in an innovative way. If he can prove the technology works there is a large potential market so that is what drove us to support him.

“We also liked Ivan’s vision for the company because what he’s trying to do with this is to make it easier for oil companies to find resources and therefore there is a benefit to the taxpayer as well.”