News

News

EVENT: IIoT and Digital Solutions in Oil and Gas 2017

Paul Vickery, Executive Chairman, will be presenting Silicon Microgravity at the conference “IIoT and Digital Solutions for Oil and Gas” on 8 June in Amsterdam where he will explain how SMG is providing enhanced oil recovery with borehole gravity.

IIoT and Digital Solutions in Oil and Gas 2017

EVENT: MEMS and Sensors Technical Conference

Paul Vickery, Executive Chairman, on 10 May presented SMG to the MEMS and Sensors Technical Conference at Stanford University where he explained the wide-ranging potential uses of gravity data in applications as diverse as tunnel detection, monitoring of groundwater, early warning of landslides, carbon storage monitoring and navigation.

EVENT: OTC in Houston

Paul Vickery, Executive Chairman, on 1 May presented to the start-up roundup at the OTC in Houston announcing the intention to raise $5m in a series A fund raising

Silion Microgravity feature in Semiconductor Times

"Silicon MicroGravity (SMG) was spun out of University of Cambridge in September 2014 to commercialize a novel sensor technology used by oil companies to enhance oil recovery. The company has received initial funding of $3 million from Imperial Innovations Group and Cambridge Enterprise, together with grant funding from the UK government. The company has raised £1.5m to date and plans to seek up to £5m in additional capital in Q2’17.

Gravity sensing is a well-established surface exploration technology; however, it is not easily available in the borehole. SMG’s sensors, developed in partnership with BP, are sensitive enough to measure one billionth the level of Earth’s gravity and are small and robust enough to be sent deep into boreholes to distinguish oil from water. SMG estimates that the technology could improve yields on conventional reservoirs by up to 2%, representing significant increases in production and revenues.

The sensors are based on MEMS technology. The Company’s MEMS technology uses a highly sensitive resonant frequency sensing methodology, which provides improved performance at low frequencies relative to other MEMS seismic sensors based on capacitive or optical sensing. The sensing methodology provides breakthrough sensitivities compared to commercial MEMS accelerometers, enabling high-resolution gravity measurements. MicroG LaCoste has a borehole gravity system; however, SMG argues that its MEMS-based solution offers numerous advantages. A team of Cambridge scientists, led by Dr. Ashwin Seshia, of the University’s Department of Engineering, has been working with BP to develop the sensors. Design work began in 2010 and has resulted in several generations of prototypes. A successful test was conducted in 2012 prompting BP to fund a follow-on project to address further optimization and pursue large-scale manufacture of the sensors. The first field trial in a production well is scheduled for 2017..."

BP and SMG deepen their relationship

Silicon Microgravity Ltd, the spin out from Cambridge University manufacturing gravity sensors have formed an advisory board with BP Ventures, the corporate venture division of   BP plc., to explore future cooperation around borehole microgravity logging technology for use in oil and gas exploration. The advisory board comprises Luis Alcoser and Robin Wye from BP and Paul Vickery and Francis Neill from SMG.
Luis Alcoser from BP Ventures, said: “BP has a strong track record of developing differentiated technologies and we see the SMG borehole gravity technology as a key enabling technology with potential applications across the BP global portfolio.  That’s why BP Ventures is pleased to further strengthen the collaborative relationship with SMG through this relationship.”

“The BP support  is intended to enable SMG to develop a greater understanding of operator requirements  and also the ability to deploy the technology in a range of applications.”

Paul Vickery, CEO from SMG said:
“We are delighted to be working with BP Ventures to deliver a structured qualification process for SMG’s patented gravity sensors.  

“We believe our new proprietary, patented borehole microgravity logging technology, based on a unique approach, will present a disruptive approach to the  measurement of water flood fronts in major conventional reservoirs.”

“Our phase density technology has the potential to enable operators to secure significant increases in strategic value through 1) improved sweep efficiency & recovery through better Enhanced Oil Recovery management (flood front prediction, coning and sanding risk), 2) better thin bed detection in resource assessment, and 3) enable superior bypassed pay identification.”                                                                

About BP Ventures

BP Ventures is a core component of BP’s innovation ecosystem, focusing on the capture of strategic value from the co-development and deployment of new, cutting-edge technologies. BP is identifying and investing in private, high growth, game-changing technology companies, accelerating cutting edge innovations across the energy spectrum. The investment portfolio is primarily focused on emerging technologies in oil and gas exploration and production and downstream conversion processes. BP Ventures also partners with entrepreneurial companies specialising in biotech, water, advanced materials, and digital technology.

About Silicon Microgravity

Silicon MicroGravity (SMG), a newly-formed University of Cambridge spin-out that has developed a novel sensor technology used by oil companies to enhance oil recovery, has received initial funding of $3 million from Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, ‘Innovations’) and Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, together with grant funding from the UK government. SMG’s sensors, developed in collaboration with BP, are sensitive enough to measure one billionth the level of Earth’s gravity and are small and robust enough to be sent deep into boreholes to distinguish oil from water. Once the position of water is established and tracked, reservoir engineers can mitigate the potentially damaging results of water reaching a production well. SMG estimates that the technology could markedly improve yields on conventional reservoirs, representing significant increases in production and revenues.

Cambridge Enterprise press release - click here to view on www.enterprise.cam.ac.uk

University of Cambridge spin-out secures $3 million investment to improve the efficiency of oil recovery
CAMBRIDGE, UK 29 February, 2016 -- Silicon MicroGravity (SMG), a newly-formed University of Cambridge spin-out that has developed a novel sensor technology used by oil companies to enhance oil recovery, has received initial funding of $3 million from Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, ‘Innovations’) and Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, together with grant funding from the UK government.

SMG’s sensors, developed in partnership with BP, are sensitive enough to measure one billionth the level of Earth’s gravity and are small and robust enough to be sent deep into boreholes to distinguish oil from water.
Once the position of water is established and tracked, reservoir engineers can mitigate the potentially damaging results of water reaching a production well. SMG estimates that the technology could improve yields on conventional reservoirs by up to 2 percent, representing significant increases in production and revenues.

A team of Cambridge scientists, led by Dr Ashwin Seshia, of the University’s Department of Engineering, has been working closely with BP to develop the sensors. Design work began in 2010 and has resulted in several generations of prototypes providing experimental validation of the underlying device approach. A successful test of the technology was conducted in 2012 prompting BP to fund a follow-on project to address further optimisation and pursue large-scale manufacture of the sensors.

SMG was formed in 2014 to accelerate the development of the product and develop a service that can capture and analyse data on behalf of oil companies. The first field trial in a production well is scheduled for 2017.

Innovations led the funding round alongside Cambridge Enterprise, which also invested and licensed the technology to SMG. SMG is also being supported through the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Stephenson Fund, a private investor, InnovateUK and NERC, which have awarded a substantial grant.

SMG’s advisory board includes Kevin Dodds, General Manager of ANLEC in Australia, and Professor Roger Howe from Stanford University.
Dr Ashwin Seshia, co-founder of Silicon Microgravity, said: “The SMG devices advance the frontiers of gravity sensor technology building upon several years of University research and innovation. SMG brings together a leading international team of experts to address the next phase of technology translation and we are looking forward to working collaboratively with our partners to deploy these tools widely.”
Paul Vickery, Chairman and co-founder of Silicon Microgravity, said: “I am very excited to form this new company based on a long standing collaboration between Cambridge University and BP. We have created a compelling business plan, raised a sizable initial investment and formed a credible global team to launch the company. I look forward to building a business that can help oil companies enhance oil recovery from their major assets.”
Robert Bahns from Imperial Innovations said: “SMG has an outstanding technology developed at Cambridge University that has been significantly de-risked through a longstanding partnership with BP. The company has all the key ingredients in place to demonstrate the commercial value of the technology, and we are very pleased to be able to lead this funding round to take them through this stage and beyond.”
Julian Peck from Cambridge Enterprise said: “We are delighted that Dr Seshia’s unique technology is being commercialised by SMG. We are very excited by the market opportunity and we are keen to support future progress.”
Akira Kirton from BP Ventures said: “Water management is an increasingly important issue for BP and the whole industry, so we are excited about the potential for SMG’s technology to help us pinpoint where water is within a reservoir and enable us to take mitigating action. This collaboration fits perfectly with BP Ventures’ strategy of investing in new technologies that can be rapidly field tested and deployed.”
Stephen Tetlow MBE, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “We are excited to be supporting such an exciting and cutting-edge technology. The Institution’s Stephenson Fund aims to fulfil the Institution’s original purpose to give an impulse to invention and also help companies overcome the investment hurdle between Research and Development and bringing a product to market. This innovation could revolutionise oil well recovery and is an example of exactly the sort of innovation we are committed to supporting.”


About Cambridge Enterprise - www.enterprise.cam.ac.uk
Cambridge Enterprise Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge, responsible for the commercialisation of University intellectual property. Activities include management and licensing of intellectual property and patents, proof of concept funding and support for University staff and research groups wishing to provide expert advice or facilities to public and private sector organisations. Cambridge Enterprise provides access to angel and early stage capital through the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds, University of Cambridge Enterprise Funds, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners, and offers business planning, mentoring, and other related programmes.

About Imperial Innovations - www.imperialinnovations.co.uk
Imperial Innovations Group plc (“Innovations”) creates, builds and invests in pioneering technology companies and licensing opportunities developed from outstanding scientific research from the 'Golden Triangle', the geographical region broadly bounded by London, Cambridge and Oxford. This area has an unrivalled cluster of outstanding academic research and technology businesses, and is home to four of the world’s top 10 universities, as well as leading research institutions, the cream of the UK’s science and technology businesses and many of its leading investors.
Innovations supports scientists and entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas, through the licensing of intellectual property, by leading the formation of new companies, by recruiting high-calibre management teams and by providing investment and encouraging co-investment. Innovations remains an active investor over the life of its portfolio companies, with the majority of Innovations’ investment going into businesses in which it is already a shareholder.

Since becoming a public company in 2006, Innovations has raised more than £434.0 million of equity from investors, which has enabled it to invest in some of the most exciting spin-outs to come out of UK academic research. In addition, the Group has agreed £80.0 million in loan facilities from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Between Innovations’ admission to AIM (August 2006) and 31 July 2015, Innovations has invested a total of £236.8 million across its portfolio companies, which have raised collectively investment of £1.3 billion.

About BP Ventures
BP Ventures identifies and invests in private, high growth, game-changing technology companies, accelerating cutting edge innovations across the entire energy spectrum. The Investment portfolio is primarily focused on emerging technologies in oil and gas exploration and production and downstream conversion processes. BP Ventures also partners with entrepreneurial companies specialising in biotech, water, advanced materials, and digital technology.
About the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847 and has some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books. It is one of the fastest growing professional engineering institutions. Headquartered in London, we have operations around the world and over 113,000 members in more than 140 countries working at the heart of the most important and dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Stephenson LP fund aims to help companies overcome the investment hurdle between Research and Development and bringing a product to market. The fund, initially worth a total of £2 million, is in line with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ original statement of purpose set out by founder George Stephenson in 1847 to “give an impulse to invention likely to be useful to the world.” The Stephenson LP Fund is independently managed by specialist venture capital company Midven Ltd. and aims to invest in innovative companies engaged in mechanical engineering over the next few years.

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SMG website is launched today. More news and a press release to follow shortly...