Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and billionaire co-founder Larry Page have teamed up with “Avatar” director James Cameron and other investors to back an ambitious space exploration and natural resources venture, details of which will be unveiled this week.
The fledgling company, called Planetary Resources, will be unveiled at a Tuesday news conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, according to a press release issued this week.
Aside from naming some of the company’s high-profile backers, the press release disclosed tantalisingly few details, saying only that the company will combine the sectors of “space exploration and natural resources” in a venture that could add “trillions of dollars to the global GDP.”
U.S. Oil and Gas (PLUS:USOP) has told investors that it has reached an agreement in principle in relation to its suspension on the PLUS markets exchange.
The group’s shares were suspended in August.
USOP says it has had several talks with PLUS to discuss its ‘profound concerns’ regarding the continuing suspension of US Oil and Gas shares. The most recent meeting took place on Friday January 27.
The firm says an agreement has now been reached in principle, with a PLUS Markets corporate advisor. The details of the agreement will be announced subject to the lifting of the suspension, it said.
“The company would prefer to inform shareholders of the full details of this meeting, but PLUS has insisted that publishing such detail would not be helpful,” the company said in a statement.
“US Oil regrets the anxiety caused to shareholders by the suspension and by the company’s continuing inability to communicate details of its discussions with PLUS.”
More than $800,000 in federal and provincial funding will help the Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC) and the University of Regina study innovative recovery methods for oil and gas production, while reducing their environmental impact.
The federal and provincial governments are each contributing about $404,000 for three initiatives through the Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA), a cost-shared, four-year, $50-million agreement to “strengthen economic activity and improve quality of life in western Canadian communities.”
With the funding, the U of R will purchase and install laboratory equipment to develop new membranes and filtration systems to decontaminate produced water, a by-product of oil and gas production.
The PTRC will refurbish a separator unit and construct field test trailer units to sample produced water in field locations for reclamation and reuse, potentially in agricultural irrigation or other industries.
The PTRC will also undertake a broad evaluation of organic nutrient sources in Saskatchewan, leading to further research on microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) technologies.
Ray Boughen, MP for Palliser, representing Lynne Yelich, minister of state for Western Economic Diversification, said the federal government is keen to invest in innovative technologies and processes that enable companies to more efficiently and sustainably develop our oil and gas resources.
“We will continue to support research and technology commercialization that helps increase productivity, create jobs and spur sustained economic growth,” Boughen said in a press release Friday.Government Services Minister Laura Ross, speaking on behalf of Enterprise Minister Jeremy Harrison, said developing hitech innovations to extract natural resources, while protecting the environment, is a “win-win for our province.”
“We are pleased to support our research parks and universities in developing cutting edge technology that address local challenges and have a potential for commercialization to an international market,” Ross said in the release.Malcolm Wilson, CEO of the PTRC, noted that one of the most pressing concerns in the western Canadian oilpatch is the amount of produced water during oil recovery. “It is particularly difficult for smaller companies in the field because of the costs associated with clean up, so developing cost effective methods is critical,” Wilson said.
Vianne Timmons, president of the U of R, said the funding committed by the federal and provincial government demonstrates the value of government, industry and academic collaborations in finding solutions to meet challenges in the energy industry.