People Matter & We Know People03/02/2018
“As a Lease Operator, you are responsible for the surveillance and overall upkeep of oil and gas lease sites.”
This is an excerpt from one of the hundreds of job listings for the field operator position – a.k.a. meter tenders, lease operators, pumpers – on a popular job search site. Other responsibilities and descriptions include:
“Making necessary adjustments to Pump Off Controllers to optimize well performance.”
“Operate compression, water station, LACT, collect readings, and interface with other operators.”
“Help maintain compliance in conjunction with and through close coordination with the Foreman and HSE Department with all regulatory, environmental, and safety regulations.”
“Maintain positive relationships with Local, State, and Federal representatives and surface owners.”
“Must have the ability to recognize and correct unsafe conditions.”
“Must be proficient in the use of personal computers and spreadsheet programs.”
“Respond to call-outs within 30 minutes.”
“Lift 50 pounds safely.”
and my personal favorite...“Work outside in varying weather conditions.”
None of them, however, include “Use the latest neural network based artificial intelligence to organize your day.” Clearly, exception-based surveillance tools will be a key component on the path to “pumping by exception.” Our clients, organizations of all sizes and operational complexity, and the broader industry demand the advanced technology and capabilities necessary to optimize their production and reduce lease operating costs.
However, a singular focus on sophisticated technology ignores the fact that there remain manual activities and data to be captured in the field – and that people are needed to do this. People who do hundreds of manual tasks every day to ensure that the wells they’re responsible for are operating optimally. People with hands-on experience and knowledge. People who know their wells and equipment better than anyone else. As we like to say at P2, it all starts with the field.
As providers of software solutions, we must be intimately familiar with the challenges of the target personas (users) of our software. So, when our team started down the path of designing and developing the next generation of field software, that currently supports almost half of the wells in the United States and is used by more than 22,000 field operators, we had more than a couple of ride-a-longs under our belt. We added that to the knowledge and experience of all the tens of thousands of field operators (and sometimes their partners), production techs, lead operators, foremen, and superintendents that we have met, trained, and supported over the last 20 years. We have worked with them where they live, in trucks, dog houses, warehouses, and field offices in places like Canadian, TX, Creole, LA, Vernal, UT, Harper County, PA, Williston, ND, Greeley, CO, and many, many more.
And what we know is that even if all their wells are on automation, they still have to enter or validate data every single day. And if that data does not make it to their production allocation system on time and correctly, they will have their supervisors, production accountants, and engineers asking them what went wrong. This takes them away from the work of tending to their wells which, after all, is their real objective.
So, as we began designing and building P2 Field Operator, we focused on the basics – ensuring that gauges, meter readings, run tickets, well tests, etc. worked properly, the first time. We focused on the business of running a production company because it’s production that fuels every exploration and production company and, when that data isn’t there, every other downstream system or process is impacted.
We delivered those base capabilities on iPhones, iPads, and UWP (Windows 10) devices and then turned to the features that mobility enables. Not only photos of run tickets, but photos associated with the run ticket record itself with all the requisite calculations. Next, because field operators are being pinged all day via text, phone, email, or walkie talkie, we added a commentary feature which enables sharing information back and forth about the very problem they are working on (e.g., pump off controller) and save that information for the back office and relief pumper to see at the asset or transaction level – providing immediate context to support faster decision making and preserving an historical record for reference.
In our most recent release, we delivered additional capabilities to help the field better manage the onslaught of alerts coming from their automation systems by incorporating filtered, smart notifications with all the relevant details directly on their field devices. This will help them make the right decisions about their wells, including mapping features and route-ordering capabilities to help plan their day so that they can address the most important or high-impact issues first.
We, at P2, are committed to continually working closely with our end users to prioritize and build solutions that account for the realities of daily life in the field, while delivering efficiency, reduced operating costs, and optimized production to the organizations they support.
About The Author
Clara Fuge is a Vice President of Product Management at P2. With more than 20 years’ experience providing software solutions to the energy industry, her expertise lies in upstream hydrocarbon accounting and production operations. Clara graduated with a degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of several industry groups, including the American Petroleum Institute’s Committee on Production Measurement & Allocation. A self-proclaimed “allocations geek,” she is passionate about giving oil and gas companies the tools needed to report accurate well production. When she’s not working, Clara enjoys spending time with her husband and their three dogs.