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Dalhousie Spin-Out Atlantic Motor Nabs $250K In Funding

Halifax-based Atlantic Motor Labs has received a $250,000 equity investment from Innovacorp to help develop its more durable motor for the oil and gas industry.

Founded by Braden Murphy, Atlantic Motor has developed a motor that combines features of piston and turbine motors to improve the efficiency in the drilling head. It offers a simpler, more robust and longer-lasting drill motor than those used in more than 70 per cent of the world’s drilling rigs.

Innovacorp said in a statement the innovation should reduce motor-related down-time while drilling by 30 per cent and save the oil and gas industry close to $1 billion per year.  Atlantic Motor will use the money to demonstrate and commercialize the down-hole motor technology.

“Today’s standard drill motors frequently break down due to degradation of the rubber seals, and there is growing concern as exploration and production pushes towards more challenging geological formations with deeper, more complex wells,” said Murphy in the statement. “Our motor is designed without rubber seals and will extend the period between motor failures and servicing.”

Murphy started Atlantic Motor Labs in 2013 as a spin-out of his award-winning undergrad and thesis work at Dalhousie University. He had previously founded a company called Scotia Motors, which aimed to use pneumatic motors in lawnmowers to reduce noise pollution.

Murphy also worked closely with Dalhousie’s Industry Liaison and Innovation office to secure funding for patents and prototype development.

Atlantic Motor was the runner-up in the Halifax region of the 1-3 Competition. The company previously raised close to $350,000 from private and public investors to support prototype development, patents and marketing to the drilling industry.

“The innovative hybrid piston-turbine motor design from Atlantic Motor Labs has potential in several different markets, with the global market for drill motors alone estimated at $1.5 billion,” said Michael Dennis, investment manager at Innovacorp. “The impact of Atlantic Motor Labs’ technology on reducing costs and non-productive rig time could change the entire drilling industry’s outlook on using down-hole components. We’re looking forward to being a part of their future success.”