“The US alone,” managing director, Gordon Stove enthuses, “represents the single largest geophysics space in the world, with a revenue generation of over $2.4 billion a year from geophysical survey services alone. This is just one of the reasons why we are so keen to expand into that part of the world.”
Until the turn of the year Adrok serviced the US market from its headquarters in Edinburgh, yet it has always known that having an indigenous base in the countries in which it operates would be of great benefit. The next logical step for the business was to open a base in the country, which it did in February 2013 with the opening of Houston, Texas, based Adrok Geosciences.
“One of the challenges we had before setting up this office,” Stove highlights, “was that we had a limited ability to promote ourselves and our technology to clients in the US. Americans do have a tendency to buy only from Americans or American based businesses, therefore it is strategically a great move for ourselves to have someone there now on the ground who can move around freely, set up meetings and attract new opportunities.”
Following a successful academic career within the Geography Department of the University of Aberdeen, technology founder and major shareholder of Adrok Ltd, Dr G Colin Stove went on to hold a number of high profile positions within his field of expertise, from leading Remote Sensing research at the Macaulay Institute for Soil Research to pioneering new radar research for a company set up to service UK Government and other commercial organisations.
Six years after establishing a new Ground Penetrating Rader business, Dr Stove sold the company to an international drilling firm. This presented him with the opportunity to establish a science business that would allow him to develop his ideas around Atomic Dielectric Resonance (ADR) technology.
Based in Edinburgh, Adrok combines leading scientists and engineers and has successfully commercialised the technology to the advantage of numerous industries, ranging from oil and gas to geophysical exploration and research.
“The first two years of our life,” Stove explains, “were spent applying for the intellectual property for the technology that my father invented. It was then in September 1999 that we set up the commercial company, before embarking on the long, arduous task of research and development in order to build up, test and improve the technology.”
After extensive research and development that lasted a number of years, Adrok successfully launched its first commercial service project in the spring of 2007. It was at this point that it set its stall out to become a leading geophysics and survey company, picking up work from several oil and mining businesses, going out to their respective properties and conducting a full survey of the land.
“In addition to deducing what the geology, hydrocarbons, minerals or rock types are actually in the ground,” Stove continues, “we also provide our clients with better intelligence of the subsurface, while also helping to de-risk their drilling programmes. That is what we as a company are all about, helping our clients with their drilling programmes by conducting a detailed, intense survey in order to map out the rock types in the ground. We do this before drilling commences, so we are at a stage that helps filter the drilling decision making processes of our clients so they can definitively state where to drill.”
Adrok uses advanced ADR technology to supply pioneering geophysical services for the location, identification, mapping and exploration of subsurface natural resources. A patented investigation technique, ADR works by taking images inside materials and subsequently classifying them. It does so by measuring and interpreting resonant energy responses of natural or synthetic materials while these interact with pulsed electromagnetic radio waves, microwaves, millimetric or sub-millimetric radio waves being passed through them.
“The major benefit our clients derive from using ADR technology comes in the form of significant cost savings,” Stove states. “We guarantee that by using the technology we can save the client up to 90 percent of the cost of physically drilling a hole, meaning that for the price of one drill hole we can provide as many as ten virtual bore holes.”
Other benefits include low energy use, the ability to operate at close or long range, the lightweight nature of the equipment that allows for greater accessibility and transportation, and its ability to function in all manner of environments and conditions. Furthermore it has significant environmental pluses, being a non-destructive technique that does not have any adverse effect on the land itself.
While the technology has the ability to function offshore, Adrok’s current focus revolves around land based targets, particularly those in Canada, the US and Australia, which are among the largest oil and gas, and mining rich parts of the world.
As the company has found on a number of occasions throughout its history, introducing any new product or service to the marketplace comes with its own challenges, not least the task of having to convince those who are sceptical. Adrok has discovered the best solution to this is simply for it to actively go out and showcase the technology is has and what it does for its users. In doing so it has been able to demonstrate up close the value the technology can bring to the table, something that has been greeted extremely positively.
“We are growing at such a fast rate that internally we have more projects than people in the company right now,” Stove says,” which is a good position to be in, but we do have to ensure that we remain capable of delivering strong, value added services to our clients. What we have been very good at doing is setting up internal quality systems, procedures and policies to make sure that our work flows are working efficiently and effectively throughout the business. Meanwhile, being awarded ISO:9001 accreditation was also quite a big windfall for us.”
Central to the next stage of the company’s growth is its ability to turn itself into a major geophysics services provider, something that it hopes can be achieved by further educating the market about its technology, demonstrating the added value it can bring and ultimately securing new clients.
“We have achieved such a great deal in the space of 15 years,” Stove concludes. “Since the day we commenced operations we have secured the intellectual properties to our technology, worked with universities and academics in order to prove it up, demonstrated the technique countless times, secured a number of major multinational clients and secured several rounds of investment along the way. That is a lot to have achieved in a relatively short space of time and is a growth story I certainly feel is worth sharing.”
Written by Will Daynes, research by James Boyle