As an independent oil & gas operator, it’s important to know what the EPA is doing and what they’re thinking.

In this post, we’re going to explore the good, the bad, and the savvy regarding tank emissions, how they jeopardize your oil & gas operations, and what exactly you need to do about them.

NSPS Subpart OOOO (for the Savvy Operator)

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.”

Winston Churchill, Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century.

The New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) — aka QuadO — is the most radical piece of legislation or rules to come down on the oil & gas industry. However, it’s not QuadO that scares us; it’s the thought of independent producers not understanding the rules that has us worried…

Operators in Oklahoma and Texas are getting a lot of misinformation from consultants. And, when slapped with a fine, a “but I didn’t know, Sir” ain’t gonna get you off the hook. Essentially, if you’re generating BOC (biogenic organic compounds) emissions of 6 tonnes or more per tank per year, which are C3+ (not methane or anything below), you’re required to reduce those emissions by 95%.

What in the world does 6 tonnes look like? (yah, we had no idea either…)

  • 33 lbs of emissions per day
  • 1 MCF per day coming off your tank (which is about 1300 BTU of gas…)
  • 1 bbl of condensate produced / day (40 API and above)
  • 20 bbls of oil produced/day
  • 2000 bbls of produced water/day (remember: produced water produces VOCs… so heads up you disposal site and water flood play owners!!)

So, if you’re making 20 bbls of oil per day, you’re more than likely making 6 tonnes of gas per year per tank.

So, when did all this happen??

August 23, 2011 is where the authorities draw their line in the sand. Essentially, anything coming online after August 23, 2011 falls squarely under QuadO. That being said, anything before August 23 isn’t affected…

Why aren’t our production assets with an earlier spud date affected? Because the EPA feels that these sites will generally be in decline and any emissions issues will resolve themselves — which actually makes pretty good sense.

However, if you go back in and rework a well from the late 1980s, that property will now fall square under the regulations of the EPA.

So, what happens if you do fall above the 6 tonne threshold?

We know some of the shiftier operators would like to say, “hell, we’ll just throw a few more tanks out there and simply fall into compliance with those SOBs…”

Which leads to an interesting question: 6 tones is great and all, but can we average tanks? 

It’s a good thought, and while the State rules take into account site wide emissions, the federal rules explicitly state 6 tonnes per year PER TANK.

Many consultants and trade associations say you can average tanks, but the EPA rules say you can’t. The EPA is effectively saying 6 tonnes per single facility or source.

Now, a lot of us have read about certain States are coming down heavy on companies who flare (high volumes of) gas because they see that as potential revenue going up in flames (Much Of North Dakota’s Natural Gas Is Going Up In Flames…)

It’s interesting to note that there are three essential areas of VOC creation:

  1. working losses (tank levels moving up and down from loading and offloading…)

  2. standing losses (temperature changes causes oil to expand and contract)

  3. flash (Bingo! 90% of our emissions happen here)

Why do 90% of the emissions happen from flash?

Two words: Live. Crude.

“Live Crude” is simply product that contains gas in the solution, and is still remains under pressure as it moves through the equipment of our tank batteries.

Flash happens because crude is dumped into atmospheric tanks — generally from a separator or heater with 30-50 PSI — that reside at an atmospheric level. It’s sort of like soda coming out of a can… when opened, all the gas wants to break out. And, this is exactly from where the majority of our emissions are coming…

Now that we know the source of 90% of our emissions, let’s approach this methodically. That first tank we’re flashing into from our separator or heater, we must take our VOC measurement from that tank.

**Fun Side Note: Here at GreaseBook, we hear all sorts of good stuff that we like to pass along. And while we never promote doing the wrong thing, we do like to make sure independents are as informed as possible so that they can make their own best decision…

That being said, the Savvy Operator knows that if you really want to tip-toe around the rules, you can set up your sites to ‘load parallel’ — essentially, load all your tanks evenly.

By doing this, you’d be sending a stern message to the EPA of ‘don’t tread on me / leave me alone…’ But, you may also invite unnecessary scrutiny from your inspector…

New Source Performance Standards

In this case, we think it’s easier to just play by the rules. The more quickly we understand the rules (and abide by them), the more quickly we can get back to the business at hand (ie producing oil).

Hey EPA! So, where do Stripper Well Operators fall in all this? 

Don’t worry — the EPA isn’t out to put us out of business.  If each source is below 4 tonnes per year, you can dodge the draft altogether as you aren’t required to have controls. We still gotta have our thief hatches etc — but no combustors, and definitely no VRUs.

Fear: The Great Motivator

Colorado has been in the news for having some pretty strict compliance rules. And, many of the 23 oil producing States (including Ohio, Utah, Wyoming…) are looking at the CO rule book as a blueprint. However, until these States pass similar regulations of their own, be aware that fear-mongering is a well-known tactic to sell you compliance equipment you may not need…

Just a few weeks ago, a VRU consultant told us in passing that if a “Colorado inspector sees visible emissions, hears hissing, smells gas, sees smoke off a flair, they’ll write you a fine on the spot. No negotiations. No notice. No bull.”

He went on to say, “You have two tank lids open left open by a purchaser or service co? Boom. Each one is $15K violation.”

We thought that was pretty strong…

Good thing Denise Onyskiw, P.E. (owner of Onyskiw Engineering out of Denver, CO) wrote in to clear a few things up for us…

Denise wrote in to say, “I used to work for Colorado in their oil and gas unit at the Air Pollution Control Division. The State of Colorado doesn’t have statutory authority to issue you a fine right on the spot if they find a violation. A Notice of Violation (NOV) will be issued and they go back to the office to prepare it.”

Denise went on to tell us, “There is an opportunity for negotiation. The State may not give in but you can try. There may be a situation such as you just bought the facility and are about to start getting everything in compliance… this may not get you off the hook but you can enter into a compliance plan.

The emissions ARE measured per tank. Any tank with a potential to emit of 6 tons or more is subject to Quad O (unless it was built and not modified before August 23, 2011). Rearranging your facility to avoid this situation may meet the letter of the law but still violates the spirit of the law. The same emissions that the regulation is trying to control end up not controlled. States may not allow you to permit a facility with a rearrangement to avoid a regulation.

It’s very frustrating to try to calculate the emissions inventory of a facility if the records are inadequate or missing. EVERYONE needs to keep accurate, complete records, even the small operators. This regulation applies to many small operators and states don’t want to hear excuses for poor recordkeeping. That’s also something that will get you an NOV.”

(Excellent insight, Denise! GreaseBook thanks you!!)

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. So, we recommend the carpenter’s rule: measure twice, cut once. Again, the idea is to know how many VOCs you’re producing before someone comes to tell you how many VOCs you’re producing!!

(Tank emissions detected with the FLIR GasFindIR infrared camera at an oil and gas storage facility located in Fayette County, Texas.)

How to Measure those VOCs

“What gets measured gets managed.”

Peter Drucker, Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation.

So, just how much gas is coming off each source / tank? Breathing and working loss emissions from produced water tanks can be determined using the current version of the TANKS program (the EPA’s free software), available for download here:

Again, it all comes back to knowing what you got. Figure out whether you need to act so that you can get on with the business of producing.

**Update: 10/6/2014**

Many of our readers made us aware that the EPA’s TANKS Program is defunct and no longer working. Shortly thereafter (leave it to private industry!), we were contacted by a Halker Consulting (Denver, CO) who has built a free tank emissions app which you can download straight to your iPhone.

Essentially,  the app helps estimate emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from fixed and floating roof liquid storage tanks. The user inputs the tank dimensions and conditions, ambient conditions, and component specifications, and the app calculates the estimated emissions from the specified type of tank.



EPA 101: One Class You Don’t Wanna Fail

Basically, there are two dates you need to get your homework in by…

Group 1: from August 23, 2012 to April 12, 2013 — any production coming online during this window, you must make a determination how many tonnes have been produced off. If you haven’t done this, you’re already out of compliance.

Basically, every well you had, emissions toneage had to be determined by October 15, 2013 and you had to notify either the State or the EPA by January 15, 2014. If you haven’t done this, you’re already out of compliance.

Group 2: April 12, 2013 to Today — these wells that have recently come online are in the EPA ‘system’. So, once the well has stabilize, you have 60 days to bring it into compliance. Basically, the feds give you 30 days to determine your emissions, and 30 more to get your controls onsite.

Finally, mark April 15, 2015 on your calendar (whoops!), as this was our ‘due by’ date to put any necessary controls onsite.

While none of us are Hot for Teacher when it comes to the EPA, some savvy operators have come up with some Cliff’s Notes which may help some of us get through the class that much easier…

In our next installment of this two part series, we’ll explore the Vapor Recovery Unit, the VRU tower, and why some industry consultants believe it’s the future of the oil & gas industry.

Did we get something wrong? Do you disagree with something we said?  Or, maybe you’re just a big Van Halen fan?? 

Whatever it is, other independents can benefit from your input.

So, your comments below, other independents would like to hear about it…

The earthquakes in Oklahoma has brought a lot of attention to the industry over the past few months. That being said, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has established some new rules for new & existing disposal wells.

Image Credit: EMSNews

For those of you with production in Oklahoma, more specifically production in the Arbuckle formation, heads up!

As of September 1st (2 days ago), disposal well operators injecting into the Arbuckle formation are required monitor daily volumes, casing pressure, surface injection pressure.

Remember, GreaseBook tracks daily cums, pressure, and casing. That being said, most of you are probably already doing this — which is great!

If not, please holler and we’ll be happy to get you set up immediately…

Let us be very clear: while you are required to monitor your wells, the submission of the information is only required upon request.

Essentially, you are not required to report it unless it is specifically requested by Commission staff or Oklahoma Geological Survey staff.

The commission is paying special attention to disposal wells within seven “areas of interest” in central and northern Oklahoma. The areas are near the epicenters of the 20 magnitude 4.0 or greater quakes the state has experienced over the past five years.

Oklahoma is dotted with nearly 12,000 water injection and disposal wells — that being said, it seems there are only 97 wells in which they are particularly interested…

For more background information, check out the article printed in the Sunday Oklahoman on August 24th, entitled “Quake Study Leads to Cooperation”:

Special thanks to Glenn Blumstein, President of GLB Exploration, Inc. and his team in Oklahoma City for tipping us off…

And, a BIG thank you to Brian Woodard (the OIPA’s former VP of Regulatory Affairs, now Director of EHS Regulatory Affairs at Chesapeake) for helping GreaseBook to clarify the new rules!!

Wanna take a look at the new rules for yourself?

You’ll find them attached below…

1.      Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC)

a.      Joint Advisory Subcommittee and Technical Rulemaking Conference Highlights

i.     OIPA representatives attended OCC’s Technical Rulemaking Conferences held on January 14th, January 29th, February 7th, February 19th, February 28th, in addition to the final, hearing en banc which was held before the Commissioners on March 13th. Substantive rulemaking items which were addressed, include:

 1.      OAC 165:10 – Oil and Gas Conservation Rules

a.      OAC 165:10-3-15 (A-E) Venting and Flaring

1.      Provides a 72-hour exemption period for conditioning producing wells and provides a 14-day exemption period for gas flared subsequent to initial flowback of a newly completed or recompleted well. Moreover, the rule provides for an additional 30-day period exemption if gas volumes flared are less than a rate of 300 mcf/d on a rolling average basis. The 14-day timeline commences following >50 mcf/d of combustible gas flow.

b.      OAC 165:10-3-17 (D) Required Lease Signs

1.      Requires API number and Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates on lease signs for wells completed following the effective date of the rulemaking (July, 2014).

c.      OAC 165:10-3-26 (A-D) Well Logs

1.      Revises all instances where “wireline logs” are referenced to be more robust through the inclusion of the verbage “geophysical formation evaluation type well logs.” Also, the final rule requires producers to submit sonic logs to the OCC and allows the Commission to request additional well logs.

d.      OAC 165:10-5-6 (D)(1)(A)Testing and Monitoring Requirements for Enhanced Recovery Injection Wells and Disposal Wells (D) Subsequent Mechanical Integrity Tests (MIT).

1.       Requires operators of non-commercial disposal wells permitted for injection at volumes equal to or greater than 20,000 barrels shall demonstrate mechanical integrity by using one of the following methods:

a.       Conduct a pressure test of the casing tubing annulus at least once every five years year according to the minimum testing standards of (3) of this subsection, or

b.      If a continuous pressure monitor is installed on the casing tubing annulus that will automatically notify the operator of a mechanical failure, then the well shall demonstrate mechanical integrity at least once every five years according to the minimumtesting standards of (3) of this subsection.

e.      OAC 165:10-5-7 (b) (3)(B)Monitoring and Reporting Requirements for Wells Covered by 165:10-5-1 – Required Monthly Monitoring

1.      On a daily basis, the operator of each well authorized for disposal into the Arbuckle formation shall monitor and record the volumes, the casing tubing annulus pressure and the surface injection pressure for the well. The operator must maintain the information required by this subparagraph for a minimum of three years. This information shall be produced upon request by an authorized representative of the Commission.

f.       Additional items concerning the concurrent development of horizontal and non-horizontal drilling and spacing units were a significant topic of discussion during these technical rulemaking hearings. The following was a significant provision adopted within the Ch. 5 and Ch. 10 rulemaking.

1.      OAC 165:10-3-28(e)(4) – upon the formation of a horizontal well unit that includes within the boundaries thereof one or more non-horizontal drilling and spacing units, the Commission may provide that such horizontal well unit supersedes one or more of such non horizontal drilling and spacing units or mayshall provide that such horizontal well unit exists concurrently with one or more of such non-horizontal drilling and spacing units, In the event the Commission provides for the concurrent existence of a horizontal well unit and a non horizontal drilling and spacing unit, as provided above, and each such unit may be concurrently developed.

Update! GreaseBook now reduces the number of ‘false anomalies’ and enables you to set much ‘tighter’ trending alarms in the monitoring of your Oil, Gas, and Water production levels.

Basically, as opposed to comparing the historical running average production against today’s production, we’ve changed the anomaly alarm structure by enabling you to compare the historical running average against the last several days of production.

How does this help you as an operator?

First, with the old way of oil well monitoring, many operators were experiencing ‘false anomalies’. Basically, they would be alerted to an issue when there was in fact, no issue at all.

This could’ve been due to a well cycling twice on some days and only once on others. Or, in some cases, a stripper well that may have produced nothing at all.

That’s now been addressed.

Please note, this ability to compare two sets of production numbers will enable you to configure a much tighter (potentially ‘truer’) trending alarm for those higher production flowing wells, too.

As a good rule of thumb, we recommend starting with a 20% variance for both Oil and Gas, a 30 day moving average count, all compared against 3 most recent average days

To get on board with our new trending alarm set-up, log in to your Exec Dash at

Go to ‘Administrator’ Tab > and click, ‘Company’. Once you’ve got your variances and days the way you want them, be sure to click ‘Save’.

Also, to be sure you’re set to receive these types of production alerts by clicking ‘Users’ > then ‘Executives’ (both of which fall beneath the ‘Administrator’ tab…)

Now, find your name, and check any of the following three alerts:

Oil: Production >X% Change

Water: Production >X% Change

Battery Sales Meter > X% Change

Once you have your anomalies set the way you like, click “Save” and then sit back and let GreaseBook alert you to any inconsistencies in your production!

As a kicker, GreaseBook will even display the % variance in your anomaly alerts…

Traditional paper gauge sheets and production reports got nothin’ on the GreaseBook!

Side note: once you’ve addressed the alert and the issue has been resolved, clearing the anomaly by clicking the red Authorize? button notifies your team that everything has been taken care of!

A BIG thanks to Nathaniel Harding, petroleum engineer and President of Harding|Shelton in Oklahoma City for such a great suggestion.

We look forward to your feedback n the comment section below…

One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.

— Bruce Lee

This isn’t an exhaustive post, rather a short treatise into the workflow of today’s independent oil field operator. More specifically, the daily oil production report!

It’s meant to be short, simple, concise. We’ll talk about some of the problems independent operators face as we try to work in a world of overwhelming complexity. And we’ll look at some simple ways to solve those problems.

daily production reporting

The key is itself simple: focus.

We must focus on key levers of the oilfield. It’s not that “less is more”, but that “less is better”. Focus eliminates the clutter, and in doing so, have more time for what’s really important to our businesses: managing assets more efficiently, and scaling our business more effectively.

Focus forces us to choose, and in doing so, stops the excesses that has led to a breakdown of communication between the office and the field, and ultimately, losses in production and opportunity for growth.

If you don’t know us, GreaseBook (an app that simplifies the daily oil production report process) wants you to be aware of some of the new practices many up and coming operators are applying to their businesses…

And, you’re right: there is nothing new under the sun. Therefore, let this serve as a reminder for the independents to free themselves from the tactical work of the oilfield. To focus on managing the system rather than doing the work. To engage ourselves in strategic work.

Through observing and working with hundreds of oil & gas professionals (engineers, pumpers, owners, admin, foremen — from the $20BB level down to the mom & pops), it’s become apparent that smaller, more nimble operators have a leg up in this brave new world of oil & gas.

Stated quite simply: there has never been such a power reversal away from the Majors in favor of the smaller independents in the history of oil & gas.

Independent operators, swing away while the Big Boys look on from the side lines…

Automating the Oil Production Report Process

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

— Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft, richest man in the world

Most of the majors are shifting their E&P primary focus away from “Exploration & Production” in favor of “Efficiency & Productivity”.

Why try and execute costly drilling campaigns when there is oil and money to gain by merely changing the way we operate? Quite simply, the best place to find oil is where it’s already been found. And, much like a factory, the operator who takes a long view on oil will be to eliminate as much overhead as possible while maintaining (or increasing) his hydrocarbon output. However, while “efficiency” may be today’s buzzword among the largest of operators, just how effective they are in achieving these efficiencies is up for debate.

Wall Street, more than ever before, is demanding greater capital discipline and increased financial returns from these larger companies and is placing increased pressure on management to improve their operational performance (read: a greater need to control costs…)

And, at the core of operational performance is process.

What’s this mean for the independent? Whether your goal is increasing the total number of properties you operate or just running your business as lean as possible, the future of oil will no longer tied to success in exploration, but to operating scale and greater efficiency in drilling and completion, as well as the daily operations of the company…

C-N-O-M-M-O-U-N-I-C-A-T-I (unscrambled = Communication)

The vision is really about empowering workers, giving them all the information about what’s going on so they can do a lot more than they’ve done in the past.

 — Bill Gates (you can tell we like this guy :-D)

One of the greatest impacts mobile devices can have on your company is the dissemination of information. Many savvy operators have realized that leveraging their field personnel is one of the most effective (and underutilized) methods to pump more oil, waste less time, and make more money (check out this post entitled: The ‘Perfect’ Oil Production Report (and the Magic of ‘Proper’ Pumper Management…)

Wait, what? Leverage our field guys? … What the hell do you think we pay these guys for?!

You’re right. It’s been said that any pumper or foreman worth his salt shouldn’t need a lot of supervision. A good employee should already know how to maximize a well’s production, while minimizing the costs of production. But, we’re not talking about cracking the whip on your lease operators — we’re talking about engaging your crew in a creative, inventive, and more proactive way…

Employees: If you’re an employee working for an operator, listen up! Integrating consumer frienly apps like Dropbox, Apple’s Reminder app, or even the simple smart device camera (all which we’ve written about here:  will increase your value and make it more painful for the company to fire you ;-P

Owners: If you’re an owner or actively participate in your company’s wells, you’re the direct beneficiary of increased productivity. The goal is to decrease the amount of work you do while ultimately achieving increased revenues. This sets the stage for replacing both yourself and members of your team with automation, enabling every counterpart to work on the business, not in it.

Empowering field personnel refers to being able to accomplish many tasks or make certain types of repairs without first obtaining permission or information. Being micromanaged (or micromanaging someone else) consume your company’s resources.

What mobile has done is blend the new with the old… where pumpers have virtually no interaction with our properties laced with SCADA and real-time sensors, manual data collection via mobile apps force pumpers to tune-in to the pulse of the well while still eliminating much of the work for the folks in-house. 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 😉

For field personnel, whether it be your head pumper or field supervisor, the goal is to have complete access to necessary info and as much independent decision-making ability as possible… for the savvy operator, the idea is to grant as much information and independent decision-making ability to his army of pumpers, consultants, and field personnel as he’s comfortable with… given the right information, you’d be surprised just how much your guys are able to take off your plate!

Teams are not machines, they are composed of people. Today, the Big Boys are eyeing smaller, more nimble operators with increasing envy… many aspects of the Major’s operations that took 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 an afternoon. In many respects, the sociological aspects that consumer tech is built upon can now deliver more than the hired expertise, or even the money that larger operators have always been able to deploy.

And, while the current systems may be too well stitched into the fibres of the Majors for them to abandon, your company is probably very different…

When consumer tech (smart phones & tablets) is invited into the company and takes over the computation and dissemination of information, people all the way down the line learn to be effective decision-makers. You don’t have to solve the production problem for the whole institution — if you can solve issues for your own people, you’ll be way ahead. And, if your group is more productive, that just proves you’re a better manager. Now, by blending consumer tech with the lessons learned from our Bigger Brothers, your piece of production can hop.

The Winchester 1873

Despite its promise of land and wealth, the American West was an unruly place for early pioneers. Gun-toting wanderers, cattle rustlers, and trigger-happy lawmen were all out to stake their claim.

The Industrial Revolution was running at full-steam, and further permeated the Western frontier with the building of the Union Pacific Railroad and invention of the Morse telegraph.

While there is no doubt that advancements in travel and communication brought progress and order, we’d like to attribute the taming of the West to a much cruder, more rudimentary advancement in technology: the Winchester 1873 Repeating Rifle.

Billy the Kid adopts new technology, sports his Winchester repeating rifle…

Popular with ranchers, lawmen, and outlaws alike, the Winchester 1873 gained notoriety due to its portability and effectiveness. The Industrial Revolution also introduced the scaling of precision machine parts, which reduced prices and made the lever-action rifle accessible to any man who desired one.

Winchester knew that fast loading times and ease of use would make this rifle a surefire hit, but its fame as “The Gun that Won the West” wasn’t solidified until inventor and rival industrialist Sam Colt made his decision to chamber his infamous “Peacemaker” revolver for the same size ammunition. The bearer of the Winchester rifle could now carry the same round for both his rifle and his pistol.

The Industrial Revolution opened new frontiers, which made for very exciting times. However, Billy the Kid and the Dalton Bros didn’t have all the fun… just look at all the advancements that are helping us to explore new “territory” in the oil & gas industry.

Enter Oil and Gas Apps

Much like the Winchester 1873, today’s mobile devices are portable, effective, fast, and affordable. Rival mobile device makers are quickly filling the space, which means nothing but good things for the mobile user.

And, while slow response times in the oil field won’t get us shot at a high-noon showdown, there is no arguing that mobile devices can reduce downtime in the field, increase production life spans of oil & gas wells, and deliver the necessary production data to the people who add value to your company.

Belle Star hangs tight to what she holds dear…

The taming of the oil field is long overdue. The power, accuracy, and handling abilities of today’s smart phones and tablet computers offer the independent producer an opportunity to realize greater efficiencies and time saving techniques in both the immediate and long-term.

GreaseBook is blazing a trail toward increased production and reduced downtime for the independent operator. This bandwagon is poised for the big win — and guess what?

We want you on it.

When it comes to oil production reporting software, did you know there are some oil companies that are resisting the call to mobilize their workers?

They’re saying ‘No’ to connectivity, putting restrictions of the use of employee owned tablets and smartphones, and limiting the apps and efficiencies that consumer technology can provide.

It’s crazy, but it’s true!

Before we talk about the cost or security of mobile, we must first consider the cost of not doing these things…

oil production reporting software

Cost comes in many forms. It comes in the form of attracting the right folks. It comes in the form of limiting decisions. It comes in the form of innovation that doesn’t happen and collaboration that’s forced and rigid.

Yes, change is tough – it seems nearly impossible some days – and the future is not as clear as we’d like it to be, especially in this mobile world in which we’ve found ourselves.

However, these can’t be excuses for doing nothing. The change we see is no longer optional. The change we see is not a passing fad. The change we see will disrupt, destroy, regrow, and redraw business for both new and old operators alike…

We agree: the ‘Great Crew Change’ in the industry is just another headline in a trade magazine – that is, until one of these ‘kids’ works for you.

Connectivity is a paramount to this new group – without it they’re not whole. They function at a different level than the pen and paper crowd (ahem!) and they thrive. Friends, this isn’t about multitasking or chatting on Facebook or Instagram. This is about true dissemination of data, no barriers to answers and zero tolerance for latency of information from the oilfield (all through a stupid simple oil and gas app…)

As we look to drive down the costs of our operations, we must look to enable, not restrict. Provide the tools, provide the connection, provide the trust and you’ll receive the results you’re after. Think like the results-based companies who based themselves on open access to data, resources, and sharing. It attracts the brightest who attract the best who attract the brightest.

So what about the price – someone needs to pay for this right?

Yep. There’s most definitely a price to be paid. You need to allow connectivity everywhere, you need to equip your pumpers and staff with the right tools, you need to secure those tools and then you need to manage it all without seeming to command and control. That’s the price that must be paid.

The thing is, this price pales in comparison to the price we pay should we choose not embrace this mobile revolution — viva la revolución! Viva GreaseBook!

What does the Bill of Rights have to do with Oil Production Software?

The Bill of Rights was written to protect people from a strong central government by specifically listing the rights of citizens.

When building a company around the GreaseBook app, we saw a lot of things we didn’t like about how other software companies treated their clients in the oil & gas community.

Minimum term commitments, excessive training, overcomplicated software, and experience with a crappy (even non existant?) help desk were all fresh in our minds…

Much like our forefathers, we wanted to guarantee certain basic rights and liberties we feel are important to independent oil & gas operator.

So, we came up with a ‘Bill of Rights’ of our own!

Not only are our clients happy to sign this document, we’re also proud to run our business this way.

Check it out below — we’ve posted it for all the world to see…

Bill of Rights

The following limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property of GreaseBook’s clients. The Articles guarantee a number of professional freedoms and prevent misconstruction and abuse of GreaseBook’s powers, while our Amendments establish some rights to ensure GreaseBook remains an ongoing entity and continues to serve the oil & gas community.

oil production software


Article 1: No operator shall be required to sign a minimum term commitment.

This amendment addresses your right to terminate your GreaseBook service at anytime, for any reason. Simply say “I quit”, square-up any outstanding debts, and walk away. (We couldn’t think of a more solid risk-reversal policy – if you can, let us know).


Article 2: Excessive training shall not be required, and no operator shall incur a training fee.

We felt from the get-go that if our software required training, we would have considered it failed software. Our product is intuitive. You’ll pick it up in seconds or minutes… not hours, days or weeks. We don’t sell you training because you don’t need it.


Article 3: No client shall incur fees for help desk calls.

At each of our client’s offices, we like to appoint one of your employees as in-house, resident expert. (We like to call them our GreaseBook “Bookies”). Your “Bookie” will serve as a liaison between GreaseBook and your company. Don’t worry: we give our Bookies lots of love (read: gifts)… they come to rather like their new title in their company.

Why don’t pumpers call GreaseBook direct? Because after about 2 weeks, your Bookie will have seen it all… there won’t be a need to call the helpline. We’ve found that most pumpers have the same questions, and by contacting your company’s Bookie–and having your Bookie contact us–your company automatically has an in-house resource from which the other pumpers with the SAME question can now call upon. This ultimately gives you faster response times, and allows GreaseBook to keep your (and your investors’) costs as low as possible!

So, what to do if a question pops up? Have your Bookie call 1-855-PUMP-OIL. Our help desk is free. We wanna help.

Your Bookie’s Name: __________________________________________

Your Bookie’s Phone: __________________________________________

Article 4: No client shall ever be compelled to seek a 3rd party product or service, but shall enjoy the right to a comprehensive stand-alone solution.

What does this mean? With the exception of Microsoft Excel, you will be free from the maintenance or set-up of any peripheral product or service. Do what you do best (pump oil), and let us take care of the “other stuff”. No management of mobile service plans. No set-up or maintenance of your back-end servers. No consultants. No IT. Just Just turn the iPad on, and go to work.

Article 5: No client shall be burdened by the task of installation of software updates.

All GreaseBook updates are delivered wirelessly, and load automatically. No CDs. No reminders. No hassles. No bull-ogna.


Article 6: The right of the client to keep and bear production data, shall not be infringed.

Your data deserves to be safe, secure, and accessible to you. You are the owner of your data — not GreaseBook. Your data is available for export any time you want it.


Article 7: Every client shall enjoy the right to full consideration of his/her input of how to increase the utility of the product.

Cool matters and usability rules the day. The good news is that GreaseBook isn’t just cool. It’s a flexible, multifunction tool that is changing the way we work.

We don’t think the iPad is an innovation in and of itself… we see it more as a catalyst for innovation. How can your company get the most from GreaseBook? We encourage (actually, we expect) our clients to tell us what features they would like to see in the product. As long as an operator’s idea increases the utility of the app for the majority of our clients, it’s not uncommon for an operator to see his suggestions & ideas come to life within a matter of weeks. (Yeah, we’re that fast).

Two heads are better than one. Five hundred heads are better than two. Your company stands to gain a lot in the form of shared ideas from other operators. The more operators that are involved in the development and use of GreaseBook, the more your company stands to gain in the form of great software.

So, help us help you: once you come to know us, and love us (… which you will), we hope you’ll allow us to come directly to you to ask for references of other owner/operators who may also enjoy GreaseBook. And, just so you know, we’ll never come to a client to ask for a reference unless they are 100% satisfied with the product.

GreaseBook now has dozens of independent operators and hundreds of pumpers using its app spread out over nine oil and gas producing States…

That being said, it’s not uncommon for service companies or independent operators to call and ask if we know any (good) pumpers looking for work. And, many times we can help out with these sorts of requests…

Anyways, we stumbled across what we think is a pretty cool set of data outlined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding wellhead pumpers the nation over…

We get pretty excited about this stuff, so we thought we’d share it with you!

The first photo outlines the concentration of Pumpers in the lower 48:wellhead pumper salary

Next, we have the same map, only a little more granular. We think it’s cool to see how this coincides with specific oil plays…

How much do pumpers make?

how much do gaugers make?

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:

State Employment(1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
Texas 3,780 0.35 3.42 $23.31 $48,490
Oklahoma 1,130 0.73 7.20 $21.30 $44,300
Pennsylvania 930 0.17 1.65 $20.35 $42,330
New Mexico 930 1.18 11.71 $23.77 $49,440
West Virginia 880 1.24 12.28 $19.06 $39,650


Side note: Now, lot’s of folks ask us what’s the appropriate amount to pay a pumper. This varies from State to State, as many pumpers are paid per well in Texas (as opposed to per lease due to well spacing laws in States like Oklahoma). Also, contract pumpers are generally responsible for their own tools, truck, insurance, etc…

While we think the numbers posted below are well below what we’ve seen (it’s not uncommon for a good contract gauger to make 6 figures…), it’s still interesting to check out how much salaries vary by locale…

wellhead gauger salary


Top paying metropolitan areas for this occupation:

Metropolitan area Employment(1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division (8) (8) (8) $32.69 $68,000
Farmington, NM 220 4.32 42.77 $28.17 $58,590
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 90 0.10 1.01 $25.32 $52,660
Greeley, CO 160 1.84 18.20 $25.26 $52,550
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO 300 0.23 2.32 $25.11 $52,230
Odessa, TX (8) (8) (8) $24.64 $51,250
Victoria, TX (8) (8) (8) $24.20 $50,340
Wichita, KS (8) (8) (8) $24.18 $50,290
Midland, TX 250 3.05 30.15 $24.16 $50,240
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 1,020 0.37 3.68 $23.88 $49,680


Nonmetropolitan areas with the highest employment in this occupation:

Nonmetropolitan area Employment(1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area 670 5.20 51.44 $22.25 $46,270
Northwestern Texas nonmetropolitan area 650 2.51 24.87 $23.76 $49,420
North Central West Virginia nonmetropolitan area 520 3.68 36.40 $18.83 $39,160
Kansas nonmetropolitan area 420 1.10 10.83 $19.33 $40,200
Northwestern Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area 280 2.40 23.78 $23.96 $49,850


Nonmetropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this occupation:

Nonmetropolitan area Employment(1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2)
Northwestern Wyoming nonmetropolitan area 230 5.75 56.87 $24.43 $50,810
Eastern Montana nonmetropolitan area 200 5.68 56.18 $23.60 $49,080
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area 670 5.20 51.44 $22.25 $46,270
Eastern Utah nonmetropolitan area 260 5.10 50.46 $24.18 $50,300
Northeastern Wyoming nonmetropolitan area 230 4.70 46.50 $19.46 $40,480

We take our oilfield app building very seriously — in fact, nothing excites us more than a lease operator telling us how much time the GreaseBook app saves him (even better, how many new wells or relief pumpers he’s been able to take on with the new time he’s found… cha-ching!)

Anyways, we work with operators and their pumpers every day, so think the above data is pretty interesting — we hope you found it as informative as we did…

Happy Pumping,


One of the best parts about hawking an oilfield app is that we get to talk to people from all over: Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico. . .

And, every so often, one of our users sends us a really cool oilfield app they’ve found to be especially helpful — David Umphres (a rock star lease operator from Giddings, TX) who pumps for companies like Trivsita Ops (Houston, TX), Cirrus Production (Enid, OK), D.O.G. Operating (Port Aransas, TX) is just such a user…

Now, weather reports are nice for anyone working in the field (pumpers, roustabouts, or any one working on a rig…)

However, it’s something all together different when you’re climbing up on those oil tanks when there’s lightning close by…

Lightning strikes 1000bbl storage tank…

Now, we’d heard of the Weatherbug app, but we had no idea it displayed lightning strike reports in real-time.

Check out the screenshot that David sent in from his app while in the field…

Our friend David is running his GreaseBook on an iPad, but the Weatherbug app is available for Android and Windows Phone platforms, too.

A BIG “thank you” to David for tipping us off to a great oilfield app!

And remember, when there’s lightning — stay off those tanks…

Here’s to safe operating,

~ GreaseBook

Got any great oilfield apps of your own? Be sure to post them in the comments below!

GreaseBook’s corporate outpost is in Oklahoma City — that being said, we’ll jump at any opportunity to pay a visit to our neighbors in Tulsa…

This week, we attended the Tulsa Oilfield Expo. It’s put on by Texas Classic Productions out of Longview, TX (we don’t hold it against ’em! ;-P)

Here’s a shot of the GreaseBook booth…

oilfield operator

The folks at Texas Classic Production put on several shows: Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Houston, South Texas (San Antonio), and a Ark-LA-TX show in Shreveport, LA…

If you haven’t had a chance to attend one of their shows — do it!

The exposure to some of the new tech and ideas in oil & gas is great, and there’s still no replacement for shaking hands and meeting people face-to-face…

Thanks for a great show Tulsa!!

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