Apache Corp. is partnering with chemists at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) to track groundwater and surface water quality as it begins to bear down on development within its ballyhooed Alpine High discovery in the Permian Basin of West Texas.
Digital H2O announced the second generation release of its flagship Water Asset Intelligence platform, which provides customers with new features and significant functionality updates for the cost-effective and sustainable management of water in oil and gas production. The platform’s proprietary data model and predictive algorithms provide exploration and production companies, oilfield service companies, and private equity firms with the tools to uncover opportunities for increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and identify new business opportunities.
As a savant entrepreneur with two decades of strategy and management experience in the IT and energy industries, Piers Wells was determined about creating innovative solutions to business problems. "One of the challenges upstream producers face when reducing water related costs, is a lack of good information and the necessary visibility into the water asset landscape," begins Piers Wells, CEO at Digital H2O. The Chicago, IL based firm, Digital H2O was initially started to ease the problem for the upstream unconventional oil and gas industry.
The shale gale that rocketed out of the Barnett over a decade ago triggered a near instantaneous chain reaction of too many questions and too few answers. For the petroleum industry, keeping up with the demands for the iron, sand, water and man power necessary to free the deeply trapped oil and gas resources were significant. The loudly voiced cries from the public for more transparency in hydraulic fracturing intensified the challenge.
Water continues to be a critical component in the development of an unconventional well. With current market conditions driving down rig counts and completions, the overwhelming opinion is we are seeing a significant decrease in produced-water management revenues within the unconventional oil-and-gas market. Although this may be true for specific services, it is not necessarily true when considering the produced-water management market as a whole.
Water matters now more than ever in onshore oil and gas; the rise of the hydraulic fracturing method of well stimulation has resulted in increased water usage per well completion and higher average water to oil ratios for produced water, as high as 8:1 in some major shale basins. Given this central focus of water in hydraulic fracturing, water related costs have grown to become a significant component of both development and production operations costs. Water costs typically comprise 10-30% of total well development and are increasing as a share of costs.
Big Data has become a big-time disruptor in building better onshore wells, capturing granular information about potential drilling locations and thus improving costs. Water management has proved more elusive, but information technology has begun to solve that issue too.
Digital H2O has launched Water Asset Intelligence, an oilfield water market intelligence and management platform. The goal is to “provide oil and gas companies complete visibility into the oilfield water landscape in order to help them optimize their water logistics utilizing world-class data analysis tools,” he company noted.
Of course Chicago is the logical place to build a big-data startup to serve the oil and gas industry.
"It was the best choice for starting a company in the 'big data' category because of the talent," said Piers Wells, CEO of Digital H2O, even though two of his co-founders are based in Houston. (His other co-founder, Brandon Pearlman, 34, grew up in Highland Park.)