AUV Specialist Argeo Partners Up With Marine Seismic Giant Shearwater GeoServices

SW Bell Credit: Shearwater GeoServices
SW Bell Credit: Shearwater GeoServices

Argeo, a provider of robotic and digital solutions for the ocean space, and Shearwater GeoServices, a global provider of geophysical marine seismic acquisition and processing services, have entered a strategic alliance for innovating and pioneering new technology and products across the subsea and marine seismic markets. 

The alliance said it aimed to drive innovation across all relevant sectors and markets, including the development of new robotic solutions for OBN seismic.

The collaboration also targets the development of new integrated methods and service offerings for the growing CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage) market by including Argeo’s Superior AUV solutions, as well as providing unique and advanced products supported by frontier digital solutions with Argeo SCOPE. Argeo and Shearwater may also jointly explore multi-client opportunities based on a holistic approach and new data products, the companies said.

"Argeo and Shearwater aim to jointly transform the subsea and ocean bottom node (OBN) seismic service sectors through the application of state-of-the-art patented technology and continuous operational excellence to accelerate efficiency gains across core markets," the companies said.

Argeo, which operates a fleet of high-capacity autonomous underwater vehicles, also said it had entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to acquire Sheawater GeoServices' seismic vessel SW Bell (Ulstein SX124 X-BOW) for $6 million in cash plus 20,123,625 shares in Argeo.

The vessel (to be renamed) will be converted from a towed streamer seismic vessel to a full subsea Inspection, Maintenance, and Repair (IMR) vessel.

Following the vessel acquisition, which is expected to be completed in October, Shearwater will nominate one board member to Argeo’s Board of Directors. The vessel will be converted to a IMR vessel optimized for Argeo’s AUV and subsea operations, as well as being an efficient platform for supporting potential future Shearwater OBN projects.

Argeo has received an indicative outline for bank loan financing of USD 12 million, where use of proceeds is USD 10 million allocated to the purchase and conversion of the vessel and USD 2 million as a credit facility

Argeo and Shearwater have also signed a letter of intent (LOI) for a long-term capacity agreement, which will enable Shearwater to hire vessel capacity from Argeo for Shearwater’s OBN operations.

Under the capacity agreement, Argeo agrees to provide vessels, crew and equipment to Shearwater or its affiliates from time to time and when available, for the purpose of conducting marine OBN seismic surveys, subject to the agreed terms.

The companies said they share the ambition of jointly developing projects and clients within carbon capture, marine minerals and offshore renewables.

Trond Figenschou Crantz, the CEO of Argeo, comments; "We leverage our vessels and equipment to provide greenfield exploration, inspection and maintenance services and comprehensive ultra-deep-water surveys at a global scale. This alliance with Shearwater, combined with the previously announced expansion of our Hugin Superior fleet, ensures a substantial increase in capacity and our ability to drive future growth. We expect the Capacity Agreement with Shearwater to provide increased utilisation and open for further expansion into new markets.”

Irene Waage Basili, the CEO of Shearwater, says: “We are excited about teaming up with Argeo in this unique alliance between marine seismic and subsea to push the boundaries of the rapidly growing OBN market. Argeo is a strong and respected partner with unique technology and competences which will help accelerate the development of new OBN deployment vehicles and methods. The alliance has significant strategic potential, and we look forward to exploring synergies in our respective markets together with the experienced Argeo team in the coming years.”
 
Argeo CEO added:"We aim to deliver substantial economies of scale by sharing assets and vessel capacities throughout the value chain, thereby increasing utilisation and driving further market growth. Argeo will be able to include its AUV products and technologies onboard Shearwater’s vessels, and Shearwater will have the benefit of hiring Argeo’s subsea vessels for their OBN operation.”

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