A Scottish firm whose technology was used to survey the wreck of the Deepwater Horizon rig and the Costa Concordia liner expects to achieve rapid growth after a Dutch oil services combine took a 50% stake in the business.

Adus, which made its name in the seabed salvage business with its sonar imaging techniques, is planning a big push in markets such as oil and gas after adding Deep Ocean to its shareholder list.

Mark Lawrence, a marine archaeologist who co-founded Adus, said the company expects the investment by Deep Ocean to give the company global access and the resources it needs to grow in the energy market.

Deep Ocean has said it will support a major research and development programme to further develop the visualisation software used by Adus.

"It will turn this company from what has been a small company into what could be quite a big company," said Mr Lawrence.

Details of the transaction have not been disclosed. However, the investment signals a big vote of confidence in a company which was spun out of St Andrews and Dundee universities five years ago.

Originally called Advanced Submarine Surveys, Adus combined sonar survey technology, developed by Mr Lawrence and Martin Dean at St Andrews university, with 3D visualisation techniques pioneered by Christopher Rowland at Dundee University.

The three men are listed as shareholders in the business, along with both universities and Frontier IP, in documents filed before the deal with Deep Ocean.

The resulting technology allowed users to produce detailed visualisations of wrecks that were lying thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean.

The team achieved renown in 2006 after producing images of the battleship the HMS Royal Oak, which was sunk with the loss of 833 lives at Scapa Flow in 1939 following a U-boat attack.

The Ministry of Defence commissioned the survey to see if the wreck was in danger of breaking up. At the time Mr Lawrence said the survey work showed the ship's hull was in surprisingly good condition.

The company produced detailed images of the Deepwater Horizon rig on the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico on a BP-operated licence. The rig sank in 2010 following an explosion which triggered a massive oil leak.

The images were used to assess whether there was fuel still on the rig.

In April last year Adus was employed by Titan Salvage to undertake a high resolution 3D sonar survey of the Costa Concordia off the Italian island of Giglio. Titan used the resulting 3D survey to help plan operations to refloat the vessel.

Mr Lawrence said the company will remain based in St Andrews following the investment by Deep Ocean. It expects to take on around 20 people in areas such as imaging technology and business development over the next four years.