Launchpad, the business development branch of BP, has bought the majority stake in fibre optic innovation company Fotech.

Fotech was founded in 2008 and develops fibre optics products for transportation, smart cities, energy and the security sector. Its headquarters are in Fleet, UK.

It uses artificial intelligence and edge computing in its products, covering areas such as surveillance, transport management, cable monitoring and rail management.

Some of these relate directly to BP’s offshore business, including pipeline security software LivePipe and Helios Quasar, for monitoring oil and gas wells.

BP has previously used Fotech monitoring products to detect sand entering wells.

BP chief commercial officer of technology Steve Cook said: “Fotech’s technology has great potential in the security and smart cities sectors and will make a significant contribution in our efforts to advance the energy transition.”

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Fotech chief executive Chris Shannon said: “We are excited to have a new investor at this pivotal point in Fotech’s growth story.

“Fibre optic sensing solutions have proven themselves invaluable in protecting pipelines, perimeters and borders around the world. Fotech has established itself as a leader in its field and we look forward to accelerating our technology offer.”

BP Ventures first invested in Fotech in 2013. The business is the third to be acquired by Launchpad, following analytics business Lytt and seismic imaging company Stryde.

A spokesperson for Fotech told Offshore Technology: “Fotech is going to be hiring several new people, expanding the R&D team to complete the projects in our pipeline.

“We will also have access to greater financial resource, allowing us to build more comprehensive test facilities. Within Launchpad, Fotech will be working with our new colleagues at Lytt.”

“BP Launchpad wishes to support and accelerate our growth in sectors such as Smart Cities and Renewable Energy as well as our established markets such as Pipeline Monitoring.”

Launchpad is a subsidiary of BP looking to acquire five businesses “to tackle the dual eneregy challenge by 2025”, according to its website.

It includes employees non-BP employees from Google, Amazon, Bumble, Shazam and TechStars, and focusses on businesses with large potential growth.