Category Archives: Productivity

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!

 

SPCC plans, well history files, work over information, (and why we intentionally left them out of GreaseBook)

Many, many operators have asked us to implement some sort of file repository into the GreaseBook app. What types of documents do these engineers, owners, and ops managers want to attach to their wells? Well completion reports, work over info, and any other well history document they may find helpful when out of their office, and away from their desktop.

We always tout how good we are at not only listening to our clients’ recommendations, but also quickly implementing these suggestions into the GreaseBook app. So, what did we do with this particular request? Nothing. Why? Because we only work in the best interests of our clients — let us explain:

The beauty of GreaseBook is that our users can intuitively understand 80-90% of the app’s functionality in about 2 minutes. No manual. No detailed instructions. No professional certification.

Simple is very, very hard — but if we can master it, we know the enthusiasm that oil & gas operators and their pumpers have displayed for the app will continue…

Enter Dropbox. What is Dropbox? Basically, Dropbox allows you to “drop” any file that sits on your desktop computer into a repository in the cloud, and share that file with your engineer, operations manager, or anyone else. The cloud stores this file, just like your desktop would, however it allows you to access it from your iPad, smartphone, or any other desktop in the world. Also, anytime you make a change to your file or document, the change is reflected across all your devices.

Oh yeah, lest we forget to mention: it’s free.

Check out this video…

Basically, Dropbox means no more planning ahead (ha!). You’ll always have your files, when and where you need them. Think about it… you can store:

  • Assignments & contracts
  • Sales receipts
  • Geologic & engineering data
  • Government forms (ex: tax forms, or mechanical integrity tests)
  • Annual inspections

No more bringing paper well history files with you. No more emailing these files back and forth to yourself or your associates.

Now, in addition to the historical production data for every production asset that GreaseBook offers you, you’ll also have your well history documentation to boot.

Access to the data of any well, anytime, anyplace, all from your iPad… pretty cool, right? Our clients seem to think so!

*Note: to get started using Dropbox on your desktop and iPads, you’ll need to download the software… to download the Dropbox app for your iPad, all you need to do is go to the App Store. However, to sync those well history files from your computer to your iPad, you’ll need to download the software to your desktop first.

Check out this link, these guys do a great job at walking you through the 2 minute process:

http://jajodia-saket.sjbn.co/2011/02/how-to-setup-dropbox-on-your-computer/

 

Oil Software: How to run your army of pumpers like a well-oiled machine (Part 2 of 2)

In the second installment on great free Oil Software to increase our production, we’d like to introduce the iMessage app.

oil software

(side note: If you missed it, be sure to go back and read the first installment of our exposé on Oil Software: How to run your army of pumpers like a well-oiled machine (Part 1 of 2))

Why is this app so well suited for the oil & gas operator?

Folks, a picture from the oil field really is worth a thousand words. For example, we know a lot of operators with some serious “hands-on” experience in the field… many owners and foremen grew up pumping wells in their teens and twenties, and now own or manage very successful production companies.

And, from what these pumpers-turned-owners have told us, there is a BIG difference between a “pumper” and a “gauger”. (yeah, we were confused too… continue reading…)

Basically, a “gauger” is someone who goes out and measures oil, gas, and water production at the lease and reports back to HQ if anything has gone awry in the field.

So how is a “pumper” any different? 

“Pumpers” are very handy. Essentially, they’re true mechanics. If a pumper finds something wrong in the field, he’s going to try and fix it.

So how does any of this tie into iMessages and photos between gaugers and HQ?

By taking photos of problems in the field, operating companies that employ gaugers (not pumpers) save thousands of dollars every year by avoiding “service calls”. Through messaged pictures and video taking place over the iPad, a foreman or engineer can visually engage with his assets without ever leaving his office (… or truck … or duck blind … or pool-side chair).

This is just the tip of the iceberg friends. Here’s some copy we swiped from the Apple website, with a sprinkling of GreaseBook thrown in for good measure…

Messages

oil software

Introducing iMessage.
Exchange words. Or photos.

iMessage lets you send messages back and forth with your Pumpers. Send a message to check in. Make sure everyone is aware of a new rule or directive. Heck, your Pumpers can even send you photos. It’s unlimited. So text all you want.

Text one. Text all.

Send a message to one Pumper or to many Pumpers at once — along with photos or links you think are important. When someone replies, everyone sees it. With iMessage, as soon as your message appears on a Pumper’s iPad, you’ll get a delivery receipt letting you know it went through. You can enable read receipts for a visual “copy that.” And see when someone is in the middle of typing out a reply. iMessages are securely encrypted, so everything remains between company walls.

oil software

Wanna know how to set it up? We thought you did. Click here and get crackin’ immediately…

Have you come across another great app for the oilfield? Post it in the comments below!!

‘Til next time,

– GreaseBook

 

Oil Software: How to run your army of pumpers like a well-oiled machine (Part 1 of 2)

Pump smart, or manage tough. Are you aware that there is a lot of oil software (read: free apps) on the iPad and iPhone that are engineered as perfect complements to the oil & gas operator’s business?

Each one of these apps takes about 10 minutes to set-up, and have the potential to yield days in productivity increases from your operations manager and pumpers every year…

oil software

For example, Pumpers generally have a “task list” of things they need to do on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to keep your leases running in top form. A popular question many oil & gas operators ask us is whether GreaseBook accounts for these “to-dos”…

Now, we could charge our clients a premium for building this feature into our daily oil & gas reporting application…

However, why would we do that when some of the best developers in the world (ie programmers at Apple, Inc.) have already built this for us?

By forming pumper message groups in Apple’s “Reminder” application (which comes standard on every iPad and iPhone), oil & gas operators have a very low cost (read: free), extremely efficient way of delivering daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists (ex: drop soap sticks, pump maintenance, chemical schedules, gas chart calibration, etc).

oil software

Reminders 

The best way to do to-dos. Organize your operations and Pumpers in to-do lists. Or to-fix lists. Or to-inspect lists. Reminders on iPad helps your company remember everything you have to do. And makes sure you get it all done.

To-dos that do a lot.
No matter what your Pumpers have going on, here’s an easy way for them to remember it all. Organize everything they have to do by deadline, priority, location, or custom-made lists. And as a due date gets closer, Reminders sends each Pumper an alert so he stays on track.

Make one list, and share it with all your Pumpers.
Sharing a Reminders list is a streamlined process that is sure to come in handy for both you and your Pumpers. To start, you will need to log in to your iCloud account from your computer by visiting iCloud.com (http://icloud.com/) and navigate to your calendar. Follow the rest of the steps below to begin sharing a Reminders list.

For those of you that do have an iPad and wanna get started, we’ve got you covered. Click here, we’ll show you how to set it up.

By keeping the GreaseBook app simple, we avoid “feature creep” and continue to provide a easy-to-learn app.

Look, if you don’t have an iPad or an iPhone, GreaseBook wants to let you know that (1) we think you’re working too hard, and (2) we’re looking out for the best interests of our clients (it doesn’t get any better than free, folks!)

Know of any other good oil-field related apps? Post them the comments below!