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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Wilhelmsen, NorSea Acquire Stake in Norwegian Deep-sea Mining Firm

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 12, 2021

From left: Wilhelmsen’s Jan Eyvin Wang (Executive VP New Energy) and Espen Gjerde (VP Strategy and M&A). Photo: Wilhelmsen Group/Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen.

From left: Wilhelmsen’s Jan Eyvin Wang (Executive VP New Energy) and Espen Gjerde (VP Strategy and M&A). Photo: Wilhelmsen Group/Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen.

Global maritime group Wilhelmsen and the Norwegian offshore supply base firm NorSea have together acquired an 18% stake in the Norwegian deep-sea mining company Loke Marine Minerals.

"As the energy transition continues to gather pace, we are actively looking at new projects and business areas, outside of the oil and gas industry, where NorSea’s unique port infrastructure and proven service and supply know-how can continue to be a key driver of success. The development of the seabed mineral industry in Norway is far from certain, but partnering with a frontrunner like Loke, which has such focus on developing new technologies and systems to safely and sustainably extract minerals from Norwegian waters puts us in an interesting position,” says John Stangeland, group CEO of NorSea.

Marine minerals have been identified by the World Bank, World Economic Forum, and International Energy Agency as one of the potential solutions to meet the increasing demand for the metals currently used in electric vehicle batteries, clean energy technologies, and consumer electronics.

Found in rock concentrations on the seabed and metallic layers that form on the sides of seamounts, Norway is utilizing its oil and gas industry expertise, and experiences to lead the way when it comes to outlining the potential of seabed minerals, for value creation and domestic employment, the companies said.

"Rich with in-demand metals, such as copper, zinc, cobalt, scandium, and additional rare earth elements, the minerals on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) alone are estimated, by an independent study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, to be worth a total of USD 100 billion and could support the creation of 20000 new jobs," the press statement by the duo reads.

NorSea Group and Wilhelmsen will be represented on the Loke Marine Minerals’ board by Wilhelmsen’s Espen Gjerde, VP Strategy and M&A.

Commenting on the deal, Jan Eyvin Wang, Executive Vice President of Wilhelmsen’s New Energy segment says: “We are focused on supporting the energy transition in the right way with the right partners throughout the ocean space. Bringing our global footprint and expertise into play in a new potential marine market, Loke Marine Minerals will now be able to benefit from our core maritime competencies, long-standing relationships, digital capabilities, and experience developing offshore wind and hydrogen services and decarbonized solutions.”    

The trio of veteran oil and gas industry experts behind Loke Marine Minerals recognized the opportunities offered by seabed minerals early on. They established the company in 2019 with the ambition to create an international leading marine minerals company.

Currently developing patent-pending technology, Loke’s ESG-focused, minimal impact technical solutions aim to position it at the front for the highly anticipated license application process for mineral mining on the NCS.

“We are very excited and pleased to get these first class and top choice companies to join on the owner side of Loke. We see great benefits for the exciting phase the company now is entering, from what they are bringing to the table, with regards to knowledge, experience, and culture. Their complementary business areas are an ideal match with our ambition of becoming an international leading marine minerals company,” says Walter Sognnes, CEO of Loke Marine Minerals.

Alongside NorSea and Wilhelmsen, the oilfield services giant TechnipFMC has also joined as a co-investor in Loke, with an ownership of 18%.

Norway is one of the only countries to have formalized marine mineral legislation with the Seabed Mineral Act in in 2019. Following a detailed public consultation earlier this year the Norwegian government is now preparing an in-depth environmental impact assessment, ahead of its final decision on licensing approval for exploration and production. The decision is expected in the second quarter of 2023.

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