Initiatives are in place to establish Oman as a centre for energy technologies and innovation in the region.
SparkLabs Energy’s inaugural Demo Day recently showcased the momentum gained by the “SparkLabs Energy Accelerator”, an initiative supported by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), Phaze Ventures and SparkLabs Global Venture, which was established in May 2018 to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies in the areas of Energy and Logistics within the Sultanate.
The conference, which was attended by over 250 delegates including international investors, corporates, media and entrepreneurs, was held under the auspices of HEEng. Salim bin Nasser Al Aufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas. It saw the six local and international startups which have been identified as part of the first cohort of the programme presenting their plans and groundbreaking technologies.
PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci, who gave the keynote speech at the event, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for Oman and we are committed to playing our full part in helping to position the Sultanate as a regional energy leader. We aim to provide a platform that attracts entrepreneurs from Oman as well as internationally to support knowledge transfer between start-ups, corporate partners and government alike in solving the future energy needs for Oman and beyond.”
The event also included panel discussions covering opportunities, challenges and the future outlook of corporate innovation in the Sultanate as well as the key enablers for establishing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Oman.
Speaking on the occasion, Abdullah Al Shaksy, Co-Founder and CEO of Phaze Ventures, Oman’s first privately funded venture capital firm, said: “This programme is a landmark accomplishment for the region’s shift to knowledge-based economies, attracting talent and investors from around the world and establishing the foundations of an Energy and Logistics hub of innovation. Together with PDO, SparkLabs Energy is a prime example of how Public Private Partnerships can accelerate success.”
The six start-ups selected are Interface Fluidics, Rihal, Acoustic Data, Sensytec, eMushrif, and Voyager. These companies are respectively working in the following fields: microfluidics for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), big data and information management, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), smart cement technology, passenger and vehicle management and workflow management solutions.
PDO is actively supporting this initiative by providing field trial opportunities to pilot and prove these technologies and new ways of working.
“SparkLabs Energy Accelerator” is an intensive six-month programme based around the development and deployment of pilot technologies in collaboration with corporate partners. It offers start-ups seed funding, co-working space and mentorship to help grow their businesses, and develop cutting-edge technologies.
“We specifically designed the Sparklabs Energy programme with PDO and Phaze Ventures to benefit from Oman’s drive to become a leading global technology hub for future energy needs and efficiencies,” said Eugene Kim SparkLabs Accelerator Partner.
The Energy Accelerator also offers access to a global network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and executives, as well as the opportunity to test the viability of early solutions within the real-world setting of PDO’s operations.
SparkLabs Global Ventures is the largest Pan-Asia accelerator group, with accelerators in Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United States of America, Australia and the Sultanate of Oman.
Oommen John P is the Deputy Editor for OGR & Dossier and Associate Editor for OER. A journalist since 1994, John has worked for newspapers and business magazines in India and Oman. He joined UMS in January 2014, where his work profile includes writing about the economy and banking, oil and gas sector, auto reviews on prominent brands besides features and articles on travel.