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Epi-V backs global expansion of Norwegian well tool firm

Specialist private equity fund Epi-V has invested 4.5 million in the only independent supplier of advanced well intervention tools to the global oil industry.

Stavanger-based Petrotools AS develops and manufactures advanced coiled tubing, wireline intervention and drilling tools used in the well production process.

The business supplies major international service companies such as Schlumberger, Expro, Seawell, Baker, Aker Solution and QServ. It is also preferred supplier to a number of international operators working in the North Sea, including StatoilHydro, Total, Talisman and ConocoPhillips.

Petrotools was established in 2007 to commercialise a suite of technology which had been successfully developed and field tested by Leading Edge Technology Park, a Norwegian business incubator focused on developing early stage oil and gas technology.

In its first 12 months of full commercial trading the company has generated significant revenues and the business recently opened an office and service facility in Aberdeen.

To aid Petrotools with its next phase of international growth, management has secured 4.5 million of investment from Epi-V for a significant interest in the business.

The deal will provide Petrotools with the strategic expertise and growth capital required to broaden its product portfolio, move into equipment rental and servicing and market its products in the USA, the Middle East and Asia.

Nigel Leggett, the Epi-V partner who led the investment, said: 'Petrotools is recognised as one of the foremost engineering and technology businesses in Norway and has earned a reputation of supplying tools that provide outstanding performance and quality.

'With global adoption of new technology increasing, well intervention has become one of the fastest expanding service sectors in the oil industry, experiencing 18 per cent year-on-year growth.

'The drilling and fishing tools market is also experiencing a compounded annual growth rate of 13 per cent so Petrotools is perfectly positioned to capitalise on these trends.

'We'll be working closely with Petrotools' dynamic management team to ensure they can access the funding, expertise and contacts which will enable them to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.'

Per Gunnar Vigre, CEO of Leading Edge Technology Park, said: 'In the early stages we focused on developing a suite of innovative tools for major oilfield service companies.

'After successfully commercialising and proving the model in the first year, the time was right to bring on board an investor capable of providing the next step in the global expansion of the business.

'Despite having numerous approaches, we secured Epi-V's backing because it has the knowledge, experience, track record and management-focused investment style which closely match the needs of Petrotools at its current stage.'

Stein Danielsen, Managing Director of PetroTools, said: 'We've worked hard to develop superior quality tools and to ensure the initial commercialisation of this technology has been a success.

'We now need to build on this strong track record by effectively positioning the business to fully capitalise on the huge potential for our products.

'The management and engineering teams at Petrotools are looking forward to working with Epi-V which has proven itself as a partner which understands our business, the market and who shares our ambition.'

The 50 million Epi-V fund was launched in August 2007 with the aim of making equity investments of between 2 million and 10 million in emerging technology and service companies within the upstream services sector. LDC is the sole institutional investor in the fund.

The deal with Petrotools quickly follows Epi-V's 5 million investment in Guardian Global Technology, a business which designs and manufactures specialist down-hole hydrocarbon logging tools and associated services.

Epi-V also recently made an undisclosed investmen

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