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!)
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!
The first app we’d like to mention is an old staple: Dropbox.
For 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 production 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”…
Many 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…
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!