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January 16, 2017 Issue

CEOCFO MAGAZINE

 

Oil Field Automation and Land Management System and Services providing Remote Monitoring, Integration, Production Data and Reports

 


Michael Mills

President

 

Bluetick Inc.

www.bluetickinc.com

 

Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – January 16, 2017

 

CEOCFO: Mr. Mills, according to your site, Bluetick is your partner in oil field automation and land management. Would you tell us more?

Mr. Mills: We like to partner with our customers by understanding what they need and providing products that meet those needs. We work hand-in-hand with them to make sure that they are receiving the most cost-effective solution. We are also there for our customers by providing great customer service and making sure we are touching base with them and addressing their concerns and questions. 

 

CEOCFO: What is your range of solutions?

Mr. Mills: The first would be our Bluetick Land Management system. It is an upstream product and it used mainly by E&P (Exploration and Production) companies and land brokers. We provide them a secure, web based platform where they can manage the entire life cycle of permit and lease acquisition projects. The system helps our customers keep track of all their records and important dates while integrating all of that information into maps which can be shared among the interested parties.

Our other product is our Remote Monitoring Control system and that is primarily used for upstream and midstream applications but could also be used in downstream applications. Once a well site is in production we provide a complete end-to-end solution. The turnkey solution uses our hardware and third party sensors which are installed in the field. We then manage the data upload from the field by transmitting that data over cellular or satellite networks. We then host the data and provide our customers a secure login where they can access that data from anywhere in the world right from their laptop or mobile device.

 

CEOCFO: Is it easier because there are newer technologies or is it harder because there are so many nuances?

Mr. Mills: I would say with newer technologies that have come out, it is easier for our customers to keep track of their assets and activities in their fields. In that respect, we have done all the leg work and developed the systems that allow our customers to have real-time access to those assets and the information from multiple sites is now provided to a single platform. At that point, the individual can manage the assets or collaborate with anyone in their company who has access to that information. I guess the nuances of it are really put on service providers like us who are just trying to provide an easy service to our customers who, in turn, are trying to manage their day-to-day operations.

 

CEOCFO: How do you help with safety?

Mr. Mills: Typically the oil and gas industry is a very manpower intensive industry. While we have some of the greatest technologies in the world; with our fracking and drilling techniques, we are cutting-edge on how we extract oil and gas from the earth. As soon as the product is brought to the surface, it becomes very manpower intensive job where people are going around making sure the product is moved and stored safely. It is not possible to provide enough personnel to observe every aspect of the operation, you need some kind of automation out there to help you. For example, we help with safety by monitoring critical flows, pressures, tanks levels, and dangerous gas levels. As oil is moved from one point to another, our customers need to be sure that is it being delivered safely. Many areas contain high levels of H2S gas and it is important for personnel to know if there is a dangerous emission of H2S gas before they enter the field. Automation and products like ours help customers take action before a situation becomes critical.

 

CEOCFO: How are you able to get information to your customers over any device they want in whatever method they want?

Mr. Mills: We have created a product that is like a mini-field computer, that we call the BlueMax. It is a microprocessor controlled device that has standard interfaces such as USB, Ethernet, and serial 232/485 ports on one side and on the other side there are I/O connections for analog 1-5V or 4-20mA devices such as pressure transducers, General Purpose I/Os, and RTD inputs. As I mentioned before, when we install our products in our customers’ fields, we can either provide a turnkey solution where all sensors are provided for our customers or in many cases we can work with existing sensors that they already have in the field. We connect those sensors to our BlueMax and transmit that data over cellular networks or satellite networks. We have secure tunnels to the cellular and satellite providers and we securely gather that information. More importantly, we created an easy to use Web GUI (Graphical User Interface) that allows our customer to view their data in three different ways on their laptop or desktop.  For example, you can view your data in a Windows Explorer type Tree where you click on the folders and it quickly allows you drill down into the parameters of the assets. The assets can also be viewed in a Map View where a dot on a map represents your asset and it is color coded to let you know the status whether it is green (no issue), yellow (minor alarm) or red (critical alarm). You are also able to click on those dots to view a status list of that asset. Another way to view your data is in our Process View. This view allows you to upload a mechanical process drawing, a napkin sketch, or a photograph into the GUI and simply drag and drop your measurements onto the picture.

For your mobile device, we have our Field Data Capture App. It allows you to view your data in either the Tree or Map View and offers all of the same functionality to manage your assets. The Field Data Capture App lets you manage a typical well site monitoring pressure and temperature on a well head, gas flow meter and oil and wastewater tanks. Once you are login into Bluetick, you have all that information readily there at your fingertips. That information is readily accessible to you anywhere in the world. Once you securely log in, just like you are going into your banking information, you open the system and your information is accessible.

 

CEOCFO: Are you working directly with the end users of your products?

Mr. Mills: Yes, we work directly with independent oil and gas operators, primarily among mid and small operators although we do have a couple large operators in our portfolio. We work with everyone in the organization from the people working in the field to the back office. Recently, we have also begun to work with a lot of service companies. For example, we work with safety companies, companies that provide many services including monitoring H2S gas, methane, LEL type gasses on a well site or on a drilling rig. We also have been working with compressor companies and well testing companies too. We have integrated our device into their products and that allows them to stay better connected with their equipment and provide great service to their customers. As far as their customers are concerned the service companies still provide the services but we are providing the monitoring engine behind the scenes.

 

CEOCFO: Are there services or items you can monitor that are not taken advantage of the way you would expect?

Mr. Mills: I see it in many ways. When we roll out our product to our customers, we assumed that younger people who have grown up with technology would be the most avid users of the product but we have found that a lot of older field personnel are the ones who are very active. Because we can monitor who is on the system at any point in time (a full audit trail is kept), I have noticed the trend of older more experienced people using the system the most because they are checking things early in the day to see if there are any alarms occurring in the areas where they are responsible and they tackle those areas first.

Another aspect has been the unintended consequences. For example, we are monitoring one of our customer’s fields and they are doing a CO2 injection flood to enhance their production. At one point, they shut down production and allowed the field to be injected with CO2 to determine how the CO2 was moving through the formation and perform reservoir calculations. Our system was primarily being used by production engineers and they mentioned to the reservoir engineers that since Bluetick was already monitoring and gathering thousands of data points per day, they would have better data available then simply one or two measurements taken by hand per day. E&Ps make critical business decisions based on this type of analysis and they were able to pull that data and put it into a sophisticated (expensive) reservoir simulation software and better analyze what was occurring in the formation. Ultimately, the more information Bluetick can provide to our customers will help them determine the best solutions to a problem. Once you have real-time information, it becomes actionable. Now work routes can be planned, critical situations are responded to more quickly, and better preventive maintenance strategies are being put in place. Our company was fortunate to partner with a mid-sized oil and gas company very early-on and we talked to field personnel and developed our product from their feedback. They realized they could be more effective using remote monitoring than having personnel drive around a field and gather data points once or twice a day from pressure sensors, gas flow meters, or oil tanks. They are now receiving thousands of points a day and that information is valuable. This is how we designed our products and how we will continue to build our products. This strategy has allowed us to edge out our competition.

 

CEOCFO: We have seen the collapse of oil and gas prices and an election year resulting in a new administration in the United States taking over in 2017. How has this affected Bluetick?

Mr. Mills: At the end of 2014 we first saw the collapse of the oil and gas prices. 2015 was a tough year for business because the industry was experiencing strong price uncertainty and that caused E&Ps to make dramatic cuts in personnel and 3rd party products and services. However, this softer market also forced Bluetick to take a look at how we were running our business and how we could expand into other vertical markets like municipal fresh water and waste water systems. We also looked at how we could improve our products, services and prices. Based upon the response we have seen from our current customers and potential customers, we know that we made the right decisions. While the beginning of 2016 was still slow, the oil and gas market is picking up. The recent election, OPEC discussions, stock market gains and better oil price stability has created optimism in the Oil and Gas market. We are experiencing an increase in the number of orders for our Remote Monitoring and Control products and our Land Management System. We expect to see strong growth in 2017. 

 

CEOCFO: What is next for Bluetick?

Mr. Mills: We will continue to expand domestically and we are looking at some overseas opportunities right now in South America, the Middle East and South Asia. We see our domestic service areas rapidly expanding this year and plan to expand our product offerings. We have great technology solutions and we will to continue to prove to our customers that we have the best solutions for them. We have a loyal customer base; we still continue to service all of our customers that first signed on with us and we want to build new customer relationships in 2017.

 

 

“Ultimately, the more information Bluetick can provide to our customers will help them determine the best solutions to a problem.  Once you have real-time information, it becomes actionable. Now work routes can be planned, critical situations are responded to more quickly, and better preventive maintenance strategies are being put in place.”- Michael Mills


 

Bluetick Inc.

www.bluetickinc.com

 

Contact:

Michael C. Mills

336-294-4102

mmills@bluetickinc.com



 


 

 



 

 


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