Monthly Archives: May 2013

Oilfield Apps: GreaseBook, and other complementary oilfield apps for the (smart) independent operator

What do we do here at GreaseBook? Basically, we build toys for forward-thinking operators and their pumpers – oilfield apps for the iPad to be exact.

Although we can’t make your work play like a video game, we can help you better engage with your production properties (…a game of the best sort, where points scored is time saved and dollars earned!)

oilfield apps

In this post, we’ve compiled a list of apps (we’ve observed some of our clients using) that function as perfect companions to those who work in the oil & gas industry.

Complementary Oilfield Apps

Through building oil production software of our own, we’ve talked with and observed hundreds of operators. And, we’ve noticed a trend of oil apps that engineers, operations managers, and lease operators have begun to rally around.

**Fair warning folks**: the 3 apps listed below are nothing ‘new’. In fact, most of you are probably already familiar with them. However, we’re not interested in presenting you with ‘new apps’… we’re more interested in presenting you with new ways to use these apps

Our hope is that this post triggers you to think about how you could reposition many of the apps to facilitate your work flow.

Now on with the show!

Dropbox

The first app we’d like to mention is an old staple: Dropbox.

oilfield appsFor those of you who either (1) haven’t heard of app, or (2) have been living on the moon ;-), Dropbox is basically a free file sharing service. We’ve seen many executives and engineers use the app to store and deploy important documents like well completion reports, workover information, and any other well history document to the field…

Basically, Dropbox allows you to “drop” any file that sits on your desktop computer into a repository in the cloud (it’s just like any other folder you save on your desktop, only this folder saves to the cloud and can be accessed from any other computer or smart device w/ the proper log-in credentials…) This enables you to share that file with other engineers, your operations manager, your Pumpers — or yourself (!) — in the field.

Oilies like this app because their files are always on hand for those impromptu visits to a well site. And, allowing field supervisors, pumpers and other field service personnel to access to certain files cuts down on those unnecessary phone calls email chatter, too (which we all like 😉 ).

For you non-techy folk — don’t worry, we got you covered. Check out this short video for a better idea of how the app can help you in both your personal life and at work:

Apple’s Reminder App

When talking with our clients, most of them ask why GreaseBook doesn’t offer a task or “to-do” list function within our oilfield software app (we’ve gone into great detail about the reasons why in another post — if you’re interested, you can check it out by clicking here…)

The short of it is that there’s a wonderful (read: free) app developed by some of the best app designers and programmers in the world (read: Apple) that comes standard on every iPad. So why reinvent the wheel?

Without further adieu, let’s RE-introduce Apple’s “Reminder app”…

oilfield appsMany of you carry around this app on your iPhone or iPad and probably haven’t even realized it. Next time you break out your phone, be sure to check it out. Basically, by forming Pumper message groups in Apple’s Reminder app, oil and gas operators have an effective way to build and deliver daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists (e.g. drop soap sticks, pump maintenance, chemical schedules, gas chart calibration, etc).

Essentially, an operations manager can schedule a year’s worth of routine maintenance reminders, and walk away knowing that his pumpers are going to be reminded and held to these duties over the coming months…

Also, with the SPCC pumping out new regulations, it’s important to make sure your company stays compliant. How does the Reminder App help your company stay compliant?

For example, you may want a reminder to show up on the 1st of every month prompting your pumpers to do their monthly walk-arounds and inspections of each tank battery. Basically, by programming the app to flash specific tasks on set dates to your group of pumpers, your pumpers are notified (and held accountable) to these scheduled tasks.

**Side Note: Many pumpers on GreaseBook make a note in the app’s “lease comments” repository — which GreaseBook date & time stamps — documenting each of these instances to comply with the SPCC. Your pumpers can even attach photos to these comments for closer inspection by the folks back at headquarters**

Yeah, we know some of this oil field data collection work seems monotonous, but without documentation or the proper oil production report template, all your routinized work will turn into “exceptions” (and try explaining those exceptions to your local SPCC inspector…)

The Reminder App provides your people with the structure they need and with a written account of how to get the job done in the most efficient and effective way. It communicates to the new employees, as well as to the old, that there is a logic to the world in which they have chosen to work, that there is a technology by which results are produced.

The alternative is pick up the phone each month and dial your afternoon away reminding each pumper  to “note their inspections”… thanks, but no thanks — we’ll set and forget our reminder app and get back to our coffee and internet.

BTW, if you’re interested in how the Reminder app works, we show you how to set it all up here…

Camera

Sometimes, new directive is initiated from the field. Pumpers have been quick to realize that by using the camera function on their smart devices they are able to save their employers thousands of dollars every year. By taking photos or video of issues in the field and posting them to messaging applications, veteran engineers and managers can visually engage with their production assets. Where once issues could only be resolved through verbal descriptions over the telephone, companies are now able to visually troubleshoot problems from the office, thus avoiding costly onsite service calls.

Side note: more and more, pumpers working the Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico oil fields are of Spanish descent. Most of these guys do a hell of a job, but from time to time they may have difficulties communicating some of the more complex issues over the phone due to language limitations. In these particular cases, the camera function on the iPad really comes in handy… pumpers photograph the issue, send it over, and move on with the rest of their route. Through photos, engineers and experienced operations managers can visually interact with the oilfield, allowing you to scale your knowledge over your entire army of pumpers, all from HQ.

As we come across other oilfield apps that are well suited for the patch, we’ll do our best to keep you updated. Until then, and please feel free to post any other apps you’ve stumbled across in the comments below!

 

Lease Pumper Handbook: MWC's Lease Pumper's Handbook

We just wanted to throw out a BIG “thank you!” to the Oklahoma Marginal Well Commission for putting together the Lease Pumper Handbook for pumpers, gaugers, and well tenders everywhere…

handbook for pumpers and lease operators

For those of you unfamiliar with the Marginal Well Commission, their mission is to define, identify, and evaluate the economic and operational factors of marginally producing oil and natural gas wells, and to ensure that appropriate efforts are made to extend the life of these wells…

With 500 some-odd pages on the topic of “oil lease pumping”, the handbook is a great introduction for the beginner pumper — or, the one-off app company that’s breaking its back to make great software for operators and their pumpers 🙂

MWC has posted PDF hot-links to every chapter here

**UPDATE! As of 7/3/2013, links are broken… most likely due to MWC being absorbed by the OERB — anyways, we hate to see such a useful document go away, so until we hear something, we’ll post it here:

Lease Pumpers Handbook

Also, oilfield.com has scraped and re-posted the contents of the pumper’s handbook, which can be viewed by clicking here

Enjoy!! (… ’cause we certainly did!)

Oil and Gas Production Software: BIG mistakes to avoid with oil and gas production software

Last month, head engineer of IT Operations for one of the country’s largest operators called to inquire about GreaseBook (an iPad app designed explicitly for the independent operators and their pumpers).

His company has a net value of $20BB dollars, and operates close to 10,000 wells in the continental US. This engineer, who we’ll call Will, told us that he had fit every one of his production assets over a certain CAPEX with the latest in real-time optimization tools and sensors, and outfitted every man in his army of pumpers with a “dog bone” device — enabling his gaugers to drive up to any lease and immediately download its production data.

So, what the heck did he want with GreaseBook?

Will had a hunch (or, what some may classify as more of a sinking feeling…)

While the large independents and the supermajors had entrenched themselves in advanced analytics software, data repositories, and massive IT departments to oversee it all — when it comes to managing their production, they may have missed the mark (uggh).

Monitor your oil well with an app

Basically, what took some of these companies the better part of a decade to design and build, can now be replicated by the small independent operator, with better results, in less than a n afternoon. You see, Will’s company had been so concerned about systems design, that they had forgotten all about the human element of operating an oil & gas lease…

Will told us, “What you guys have done is blend the new with the old… where our Pumpers have virtually no interaction with our properties, your system forces pumpers to tune-in to the pulse of the well. This pays out dividends in time savings to engineers and operations managers, who no longer have to spend time micro managing their pumpers, and admin who no longer have to track down and file those greasy run tickets.”

Business is forever on the lookout for a technical whiz-bang that promises to automate away part of the work.

So, why do people focus on the technical rather than the human side of work?

Not because it’s more crucial – but because it’s easier to do. Building systems is easy. Dealing with people is difficult. However, for software to be successful, it must focus on the human elements, not the technical. And, companies that forget this are setting themselves up for failure…

You see, large companies (like Will’s) looked at oil and gas production software from the IT mindset – control and compartmentalize – ahead of the benefits the organization could gain by enabling its teams through a simple mobile app.

E&P Magazine, one of the most authoritative publications of the industry knows we’re on to something. In fact, they were kind enough to lend us the keys to their platform and allowed us to pen them an article entitled “The Consumerization of the Oil & Gas Enterprise”.

Why did they do this? Because just like Will, they recognized the potential time savings and production increases the independent operator stands to gain from iPads and iPhones.

Folks, there has never been such a power reversal in the history of oil & gas.

oil and gas production software
oil and gas production software

What do we mean by this?

Unlike the Majors, your company doesn’t have to design, build, and deploy its own field data collection system. Moreover, you don’t have to dedicate time to tracking down pumpers, organizing paperwork, and making sense of it all. You now have the opportunity to focus 100% of your efforts on what you do best: producing oil.

Now, how exactly how does your company become the envy of its larger, more “sophisticated” brethren?

For more on the GreaseBook App, go here: www.greasebook.com

Wanna read that E&P article? You can do so by clicking here…