HomeWorld RegionsAustralasiaWoodside invests in Ocean Power Technologies

Woodside invests in Ocean Power Technologies

PENNINGTON, N.J., Jan. 3, 2001 (BUSINESS WIRE)à‚–Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. today announced with Australia’s largest independent energy group, Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (ASX:WPL), that Woodside has purchased a five percent stake in the U.S.-based wave power generation company, Ocean Power Technologies, Inc.

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (OPT) is a developer of wave energy power systems, which use the energy in ocean wave motion to produce electricity via their modular, buoy-like structures, called PowerBuoysà¢â€ž¢.

The agreement also gives Woodside the option to purchase, by 2012, half a million tonnes of carbon credits (CO2 equivalent credits) from OPT at a discount to prevailing market prices and a further option to acquire a 40% equity stake in OPT’s Australian-based subsidiary, Ocean Power Technologies (Australasia) Pty Ltd. OPT-Australasia has the rights to OPT’s intellectual property for commercial applications in the Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific islands. OPT-Australasia is in the process of installing a PowerBuoyà¢â€ž¢ unit off the coast of Portland, Victoria for Powercor Australia Ltd., in conjunction with the Australian Greenhouse Office.

Woodside’s Director, Business Development, Richard Beresford, said this was Woodside’s first major investment in a renewable energy technology.

“As well as being a sound commercial investment based on a demonstrated technology, it complements Woodside’s other investments in new energy technologies such as fuel cells, our research into natural gas hydrates as a storage and transport medium, our West Kimberley and Esperance power proposals in Western Australia and our recently announced joint venture with the Oil Mallee Company ,” Mr. Beresford said.

“We are building a portfolio of technologies and services from which we can select the right mix to meet cost-effectively the needs of a growing number of energy consumers who want to demonstrate environmental leadership. OPT fits in well with this portfolio.”

Dr. George W. Taylor, CEO and founding President of OPT, said: “We are delighted with Woodside’s investment and believe that a close association with Australia’s largest independent energy company will enable OPT to grow its business in the Australasian region very quickly. Woodside’s regional links will complement the U.S., Japanese and European business connections already established by OPT.”

With a market capitalization of around U.S. $5 billion, Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL:ASX) is Australia’s largest independent oil and gas explorer and producer as well as operator of the North West Shelf Venture, Australia’s largest resources project. In addition, Woodside manages an increasing portfolio of Australian and international exploration and production investments. It also has a growing number of new energy technology investments including a stake in Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited, an Australian solid oxide fuel cell developer. Woodside’s largest shareholder is Shell with a 34% interest.

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. is a privately-held New Jersey company commercializing its proprietary technology for the generation of electrical power using the energy of ocean waves. OPT’s wave energy systems are based on modular, buoy-like structures, called PowerBuoysà¢â€ž¢. The Company’s systems have the potential to provide low-cost, clean electrical power on a large scale. In addition to grid and remote power, specific applications include hydrogen generation for fuel cells, water treatment, desalination and natural resource processing. In addition to the strategic alliances which OPT has forged with the electric utility Powercor Australia Ltd. and Penta-Ocean Construction Co., Ltd. (Japan’s leading ocean engineering and construction company), OPT has received critical support in the development of its wave power technology from the U.S. Government and the U.S. Navy under the Small Business Innovation Research Program of the Office of Naval Research.