DuPont and Statoil today signed an agreement to form a joint venture to further develop the business involving the world's only methane-based fermentation production facility.
Norferm, a Statoil subsidiary, has for several years developed a bio-based technology. The company is currently producing protein products under the brand BioProtein® for the aquaculture market at its methane-based fermentation facility in Tjeldbergodden, Norway, which it sells to EWOS. DuPont has developed advanced bio-based technologies at its Central Research & Development facilities in Wilmington, Delaware, that use methane as a raw material for high-value products.
As part of the joint venture, Statoil will contribute the operations of its Norferm production facility. DuPont will support research to further develop high-value products that can be produced at the Tjeldbergodden plant. The joint venture, to be called Norferm AS, will focus on developing new, high-value products for the animal feed markets and fermentation industry. DuPont will provide sales and marketing leadership in the joint venture
Norferm AS will be based in Stavanger, Norway, with research and development facilities located in Odense, Denmark, and Wilmington. The joint venture expects to be operational in the second quarter of 2003, subject to customary European Union approvals.
DuPont and Statoil officials said the agreement would combine the broad strengths of DuPont science capabilities, including its leading position in modern biology, with Statoil's demonstrated operational capabilities at its innovative facility in Norway.
"We are pleased to form this joint venture with Statoil," said DuPont Bio-Based Materials Business Director Bill Frey. "The complementary strengths of our two businesses will allow us to accelerate our development and growth efforts in this area. Statoil brings its one-of-a-kind facility and DuPont brings its science capabilities for further development opportunities."
"This agreement will help strengthen Norferm considerably as a company with cutting-edge expertise in biotechnology," said Norferm Chairman Martin Sigmundstad. "DuPont carries considerable weight on the research side of biotechnology, while we can contribute knowledge of production technology. Through the partnership with DuPont, our goal is to further expand the market basis for technology and products within methane-based fermentation."