TECHNOLOGY companies have teamed up in an effort to apply lessons learned from nature to help slash the cost of North Sea operations amid the plunge in commodity prices triggered by the coronavirus.

Marine logistics specialist PlanSea has appointed Celerum to help it develop software that it is thought could significantly increase the efficiency of vessel operations.

READ MORE: Fresh warning on scale of challenge facing North Sea oil industry amid coronavirus crisis

Founded by Professor John McCall of Robert Gordon University, Celerum is a specialist in a technology known as nature-inspired-computing.

The RGU spin-out develops tools based on the behaviours of animals such as ants, which it says are extremely effective at finding the best routes to food sources.

Celerum is working with PlanSea Solutions to develop optimisation tools that will allow oil and gas firms to find the best routes for vessels to take to reduce the costs and environmental impacts of fleets.

In the case of marine logistics, Mr McCall said Celerum’s technology uses lessons learned from genetic evolution to try lots of different possible solutions and to bring the best ideas together in a final answer.

READ MORE: Scots fund management heavyweight to chair Oil and Gas Technology centre amid slump in North Sea

PlanSea won funding from the Oil and Gas Technology Centre in June to develop software it reckoned had the potential to cut oil and gas firms’ logistics bills by millions while reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The logistics optimisation software is being developed in partnership with oil giants BP, Equinor and CNOOC for use in the UK North Sea and overseas.

Technology commercialisation specialist Frontier IP increased its stake in Celerum to 33.8 per cent in February, from 10%.

READ MORE: Social distancing monitor developed by Edinburgh technology firm Reactec

Separately, members of the Archangels investment syndicate have provided £1.9 million total backing for medical devices firm Calcivis, biotechnology firm BDD and vibration monitoring specialist Reactec since the lockdown was imposed on March 23.