Oil leader Chevron launches $100m tech fund

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The venture capital arm of oil giant Chevron on Monday announced the launch of a $100 million fund to invest in start-up companies developing technology in areas that will boost its core business areas, including refining.

The new fund, the second Chevron has launched, will focus on early to mid-stage companies and limited partnership funds, the unit said.

One such possibility for Chevron Technology Ventures` CTV II fund is investment in companies developing technologies to enable physical devices and information networks to interact, links that could make for more efficient infrastructure for oil refineries.

Chevron launched its venture unit in June 1999, and has committed 75% of its first fund`s capital allocation to nine start-ups and six venture capital funds.

The CTV I fund was financed with $60 million and steered clear of Internet start-ups, focusing instead on information technology, biotechnology and materials sciences investments, the company said.

"We had a very successful beginning with our first fund, and we exceeded our expectations despite a volatile period in the public markets," Donald Paul, CTV president and Chevron vice president of technology, said in a statement.

"With the creation of CTV II, Chevron demonstrates commitment to generating new revenue streams through venture capital investments in emerging technology companies," Paul said.

Chevron invested in San Diego, California-based Illumina while the company was still private to help it develop tools for analysing genetic variation and function. That same technology has applications for fuel processing plants, said Cliff Detz, a Chevron venture executive.

The new fund will focus on technologies that connect machinery with information networks because Chevron sees new efficiencies from applications such as sensors in fuel production networks that could alert monitors to problems or maintenance needs, Detz said.

Reuters News Service

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