UK-based TechnipFMC has targeting additional market opportunities in the energy transition with a “strategic investment” for a minority stake in marine mineral explorer Loke Marine Minerals.

TechnipFMC confirmed it was joining forces with Loke to develop enabling technologies for the extraction of seabed minerals, which it claims will help drive the energy transition.

It noted the World Bank, World Economic Forum, and International Energy Agency had all identified marine minerals as a potential solution to meet the increasing demand for metals used in electric vehicle batteries, clean energy technologies, and consumer electronics.

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TechnipFMC revealed that it was already working with Loke to develop an autonomous subsea production system, which will aim to have minimal impact on the environment.

It claimed the production system would also position it for potential offshore licensing for seabed minerals on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) and internationally.

Norway is looking to take a leading role in seabed mineral exploration, with the Nordic nation one of the only countries to have formalised marine mineral legislation.

The NCS is known to have copper, zinc, cobalt, and other rare earth elements and the Norwegian government is expected to make a final decision on licensing approval for deep-sea mining exploration and production in 2023.

“We are pleased to partner with Loke in the development of this important resource,” TechnipFMC subsea president Jonathan Landes said.

“Our culture of collaboration, integration, and innovation, along with our expertise in subsea robotics and extensive history on the NCS can help meet the rising demand for new technologies and resources that are driving the energy transition.”

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TechnipFMC was not the only company to take an interest in partnering with Loke, revealing global maritime industry group Wilhelmsen Holding and NorSea Group have also taken an ownership stake in Loke. Wilhelmsen also holds a majority 74% shareholding in NorSea.

“We are very excited and pleased to get these first class and top choice companies to join on the owner side of Loke,” said Loke chief executive Walter Sognnes.

“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 with common overlap is an ideal match with our ambition of becoming an international leading marine minerals company.”