April 2014

Leading international geoscience businesses merge to create the Task-Fronterra Group with BGF funding

BGF’s latest investment in Scotland has supported the combination of two leading geoscience businesses, both focused on the oil and gas sector. Aberdeen-headquartered Task Geoscience and Houston-headquartered Fronterra Integrated Geosciences have joined forces to become a global geoscience consultancy – the Task-Fronterra Group. Task-Fronterra has received a financial injection of £3.8m of growth capital investment from BGF, which will take a minority stake.

Task Geoscience was founded in 2001, and Fronterra in 2003. Both are independent geological consultancies providing data processing, borehole interpretation and reservoir modelling services to the major operators in the oil & gas industry. The merger has created the largest independent geoscience company specialising in the use of borehole imaging and core integration, which allows it to improve clients’ understanding of oil and gas reservoirs through analysis of the well bore geology and surrounding faults and fractures. Task-Fronterra has a global footprint, with 10 offices across North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. The combined business benefits from the knowledge of more than 80 of the most experienced geoscientists in the field.

Task-Fronterra will be run by the founder and CEO of Task, Lawrence Bourke, who is supported by a senior management team from across both businesses. In addition two senior non-executives, Will Davie and John Forrest, have joined the board. Will Davie brings over 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry including geosciences, with numerous senior management positions within Schlumberger. John Forrest was previously MD of Talisman’s North Sea business, before which he held several senior roles at Mobil.

Geoscience analysis and interpretation is key to understanding oil and gas reservoirs, which in turn is critical in making extremely valuable decisions on how best to maximise the returns from exploration and production activity. Task and Fronterra are the two market leaders in the sector, and enjoy complementary skills and geographical coverage. Furthermore, the complementary expertise provides the opportunity to assist clients across the world with their understanding of mature reservoirs, carbonates, deep-water fields, and unconventional hydrocarbons. In particular the Integrated Shale Gas Workflow, driven from Task-Fronterra’s understanding of the relevance of fracture networks to productivity of shale gas wells, has been pioneering in the industry.

Task-Fronterra’s proprietary software, attitude, allows clients to analyse and visualise surfaces within and between wells in a unique and intuitive manner. The use of Task-Fronterra’s unique workflows, together with interwell analysis using attitude allows the identification of sub seismic faults and fault systems which can improve certainty in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and reduce the risk of poor well positioning with respect to faults. This is important in mature basins such as in the North Sea where poor EOR well placement can result in early water breakthrough.

CEO of the Task-Fronterra Group Lawrence Bourke, commented: “Task and Fronterra share the same culture of constantly leading our scientific field, and always putting our clients first. Task has driven innovation in borehole image analysis and in software tools for interpretation, while Fronterra is the leading presence in analysing shale gas well bores. The combined business will offer more opportunities for our people as well as providing a broader service to our clients and I’m excited about working to bring together two highly talented workforces and creating new jobs in the future as the company grows.”

“BGF has already invested considerable time visiting our US operations and brings a strong understanding of our business and vision. Its growth capital investment and intellectual capital provide a strong opportunity for our business.”

Mike Sibson, BGF’s Investment Director who has joined the Task-Fronterra Group board, said: “Both Task Geoscience and Fronterra Integrated Geosciences have excellent reputations in the industry, and this is a really exciting opportunity to back a powerful combination. The people in both businesses are market leading in their fields, Lawrence has grown and sold a similar business before, and with senior input from Will Davie and John Forrest we have a really strong board to help the team deliver on their plans.”