Trek AEC was at a crossroads. The company needed an efficient method to monitor oil field assets remotely, but the expense and complexity of systems used by large operators wasn’t a good fit for their needs. Trek AEC knew if it continued down its current path, the company would continue to experience costly environmental issues, along with the inefficiencies associated with time-stretched contract pumpers with responsibilities to monitors wells that are remotely scattered across the countryside. But pursuing a new oil field monitoring system meant stepping into the unknown. Would a system priced at a fraction of the cost of the industry norm actually work? And would it be more trouble than it’s worth? Since implementing a plug-and-play monitoring solution, Trek AEC now knows firsthand that the solution is not only cost-effective and easy to implement, but that it is very worthwhile thanks to significant cost-savings in the field. The company is on a better path, having eliminated environmental issues, reduced costs, and improved efficiencies across the enterprise.
About Trek AEC
Trek AEC is an affiliate of Trek Resources, an independent energy company engaged in the production of oil and natural gas throughout the United States. Based in Kansas, Trek AEC has ownership interests in approximately 500 wells and operates more than 350 wells in 19 counties in Kansas. Trek AEC also has non-operating interests in wells in the states of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. Trek AEC has a wide-ranging history as an oil and gas exploitation company with an emphasis on exploration.
Monitoring many remote and aging assets was difficult and, as a result, Trek AEC found itself in a constant reactive mode. The custom-installed systems used by large producers to remotely monitor their wells and oil fields are both cost-prohibitive and overly complex for producers such as Trek AEC. For instance, one provider of monitoring solutions quoted Trek AEC more than $10,000 for initial set up and annual monitoring. For a company of their size, that price point was a deal breaker. Yet having contract pumpers drive to each asset was not meeting Trek AEC’s needs. Consider this: a contract pumper manages 40-60 wells a month, thereby only allowing for approximately five minutes per well. That simply does not allow an operator to get a full picture of the asset. And if an issue does occur, that kills productivity for the pumper and the producer.
Solutions & Results
Initially, Trek AEC collaborated with a monitoring equipment provider to identify assets it wanted to monitor in environmentally sensitive areas. They easily installed a wireless sensor on a tank to monitor the rate of fill on an hourly basis.
The sensor notified Trek AEC that a well was slowing down in 1/10th of a stroke. The company sent a pumper to investigate further and learned the wellhead was producing solids and was in need of a down hole treatment. Without this notification, it is likely that Trek AEC would have been dealing with a costly incident, in terms of production, time, efficiency - and most importantly, dollars. Trek AEC had several costly environmental-related issues the year before installing the sensor system. After implementation, Trek AEC hasn’t had an incident that they haven’t been able to remediate prior to it becoming a major issue. The monitoring solution truly is an affordable remote monitoring system created with small and mid-size producers in mind. Selecting this monitoring provider also saved Trek AEC more than $10,000 per unit in installation and annual maintenance compared to competitive quotes. With turnkey and inexpensive equipment, Trek AEC only pays for low, fixed monthly communication and maintenance fees. Looking at the bigger picture, Trek AEC is now proactive in its management of assets. What began as a sensor on a tank in order to alert them to an issue has evolved into the company seamlessly monitoring equipment in real-time from their smart phones. Whereas the company used to receive monthly reports from its pumpers, they now receive that information regularly, providing them with a holistic view of operational efficiency. As technology evolves, so too has Trek AEC’s use of the monitoring solution. Trek AEC will soon be able to take advantage of software algorithms that will alert them to problems before they occur.
And receiving data in real time, all the time, will allow pumpers to monitor assets in the field based on real data, not guesswork. The best path is the one that brings countless operational efficiencies without pricing a company out of the market. This is the path that Trek AEC took with the monitoring provider, and the opportunities are as wide as the open road.