StormGeo, the biggest global provider of decision support solutions and services for weather-sensitive operations for the oil and gas, wind energy and shipping industries, is establishing a product development office in Vilnius. The office will comprise specialists in IT, mathematical modelling and meteorology, who will be working on every stage of product development for the company, which counts Shell, Statoil, ExxonMobil, BP, EoN and Dong Energy amongst its clients.
StormGeo creates and develops software for the collection and systematisation of meteorological data. The Norway-headquartered company utilises this data to provide detailed weather forecasts and innovative decision support tools for weather-sensitive operations. Most of StormGeo’s clients work in offshore, oil and gas extraction or wind energy, and use the analysis provided by StormGeo to ensure the effective operation of oil and gas platforms, wind power plants, offshore and shipping performance. The company’s data is also used in the aviation sector to support strategic planning and development.
Kent Zehetner, the CEO of StormGeo, explained that Lithuania has the right conditions for the highly-specialised, technically-complex analysis the company does: “Lithuania distinguishes itself by its ability to provide both high quality services and top specialists fluent in English. The work culture is very similar to ours, and it is geographically close to our head office in Norway. Moreover, it is clear that Lithuania is increasingly focused on scientific research and R&D. We have received a lot of support on the national level, and have met a number of talented IT, mathematical modelling and meteorology specialists. The combination of all these conditions is very promising for a company such as StormGeo.”
Mantas Katinas, general manager of Invest Lithuania – a foreign investment development agency – also believes Lithuania has significant potential for growth in R&D, thanks to its deep pool of highly-qualified specialists. And he notes that, whilst StormGeo is starting its activities in Lithuania with a small team of 6-8 researchers, this first step is already creating unique opportunities in Lithuania, and could lead to more. “This company is unique because of its research activities, which demand extremely high competencies in the fields of IT, statistics, meteorology, and mathematical modelling. It is the first investor in Lithuania to look for specialists in these areas, and the presence of one of the largest companies globally in this sector means universities and researchers are keen to cooperate.”
StormGeo works to continuously improve its processing of statistical data and to develop new mathematical models in order to provide the most accurate forecasts possible. The company, which has more than 350 experts working in 15 different countries, and 27 operation desks worldwide, allocates up to 20 per cent of its profits for scientific research and product development each year. Approximately 17 per cent of all StormGeo employees work in this field, with 20 per cent of these experts holding PhDs.
“Our activities depend directly on having well educated professionals capable of developing new products,” explains Mr Zehetner. “Therefore, we are planning to cooperate with Kaunas and Vilnius universities to train not only IT specialists, but also professionals in geophysics and mathematical modelling.”
StormGeo is currently assembling its Vilnius team, but the office is already working hard on global projects. Two software architects are currently developing a system for forecasting tropical hurricanes, and more high-quality programmers will join the team after Easter. One of the software architects working in the Vilnius office will also be a member of the global architectural strategy group.
According to Mr Zehetner, StormGeo’s team of experts in Lithuania will grow step by step: “When we organise a team, we want to make sure that every member has the ideal working environment. This is why we have chosen to apply a cautious and careful development policy. The degree to which we can take advantage of the opportunities Lithuania has to offer largely depends on the supply of specialists; but we see great potential.”
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