Technology has no doubt transformed life in the oil patch for energy companies.

Operators and oilfield service companies are utilizing new drilling and completion techniques while incorporating digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics and virtual reality into their operations. So it’ll be interesting to see what the industry will do next, especially when players team up with start-up companies with fresh insight into addressing the industry’s challenges.

Eyes will likely be on a group of 10 start-up companies recently tapped by Equinor to participate in the company’s Techstars Energy Accelerator program.

The group includes a U.S.-based company called Ampaire that builds electric aircraft and a company out of Canada called Crux OCM that uses AI and real-time optimization to operate pipelines semi-autonomously, according to a news release. Then, there’s another company—also from Canada—named Interface Fluidics that conducts rapid lab testing to evaluate chemical performance using its proprietary nanofluidic platform.

Also among the group is U.S.-based Opus 12, which converts CO2 into fuel and other products, and Sensytec, a U.S. developer of a smart cement technology that monitors cement conditions in near real-time.

The program, according to Equinor, aims to help the entrepreneurs succeed and grow their companies by connecting them with experts, investors, community leaders, corporations, peers and others.

Rounding out the group of participating startups are DeepStream (U.K.), RatedPower (Spain), SafeEx (Denmark), Versor (Norway) and Voyager (U.S.).

“We in Equinor are proud of our technology leadership in the energy sector. But we also recognize that the pace of innovation is speeding up,” Al Cook, Equinor’s executive vice president for global strategy and business development, said in the news release announcing the selected companies. “Energy sources and markets are transforming—becoming smarter, cheaper and cleaner. That is why we look forward to learning from the best, brightest and boldest to test new ideas and find new solutions to the world’s energy needs.”

The startups chosen to participate in the 13-week program were selected from hundreds of applicants from 38 countries based on their potential to “disrupt our industry and shape energy platforms for the future.” Each participant has access to Equinor, McKinsey & Co. and KONGSBERG resources along with up to $120,000.

At the end of the program, scheduled for December, each startup will give presentations on their solutions to Equinor, partners and potential investors.

“This unique partnership between a leading energy company like Equinor and Techstars, together with partners KONGSBERG and McKinsey & Company, provides a great opportunity for companies that aspire to shape the future of energy,” Audun Abelsnes, managing director for Techstars Energy, said in the release. “These ten startups now get the opportunity to gain traction through deep mentor engagement, rapid iteration cycles and fundraising preparation. We are excited to get started and help more entrepreneurs succeed.”

The work of this diverse group of participating startups could certainly add exciting narrative to the energy industry’s unfolding tech story.

Velda Addison can be reached at