A technology spin-out company from the University of Southampton, Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping Ltd (OHM) is a provider of remote electromagnetic sensing services designed to detect the presence of offshore oil and gas.
The company is the result of a total of 30 years of research by the academics Professor Martin Sinha, Dr Lucy MacGregor and Jenny Rust, which started with the study of volcanic activity in mid ocean ridges and developed into applications for the oil industry. The company has grown to 23 members of staff, and now has two active ship-based field crews. One is currently at work in the southern Atlantic Ocean. OHM has recently moved to new offices in Aberdeen and is also working at the heart of the US oil industry in Houston, Texas.
With its growing international reputation, OHM retains strong links with the University of Southampton. Professor Martin Sinha heads the Marine Geophysics research group at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) and remains a Non Executive Director and consultant to the company. OHM is sponsoring two PhD students at the University and intends to build on research links with NOCS to develop students' work and offer them opportunities in the oil industry.
OHM was set up in June 2002 with support from business managers at the Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI) and from academic and external affairs at NOCS. Seedcorn investment was provided by specialist financier IP2IPO, and through the SULIS University Challenge fund. Funding for activities from the CEI is part of the monies given to universities through the DTI's enterprise funding, estimated to be around £350 million since 1999 and OHM’s current valuation is a full 14 percent of this total.
OHM demonstrates the real commercial value that we can create from our research and reinforces the strong entrepreneurial culture in our academic research community.