By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2014, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
Anyone who thinks that once an oil well is up and running the hard part is over likely isn’t from Oklahoma and certainly doesn’t understand all that it takes to actually produce the oil.
From equipment issues, to weather and harsh environments, to thieves who steal not only the oil out of the ground but the copper wires from the cabling systems, oil and gas companies wage a constant battle to keep well sites operating and secure.
The mainstay solution continues to be so-called “pumpers” who are on call around the clock and drive hundreds of miles every day to ensure that equipment is operating properly and report back when it’s not.
Now, Well Checked, a Tulsa-based seed stage company, has a solution to help oil and gas producers know continuously, field by field, and well by well, what is happening at every site.
“We did the R&D (research and development) for two years,” said Bob Haefner, president of Well Checked. “We decided that if I can pull up an iPhone application that controls a camera to look at a baby rhino in the zoo in New Zealand, we ought to be able to do that at a well site.”
In addition to Haefner, who is a serial entrepreneur with a background in finance, sales and operations, the management team of Well Checked includes a “pumper” and a chief technology officer whose background is in large integrated and networked systems.
The team created an integrated, patent-pending system that includes original software, a unique 17-foot tripod, cloud storage, satellite uplinks and high-quality infrared cameras and sensors that can be controlled remotely.
The system is motion-activated and can also be programmed to patrol every important aspect of the site — the drives, the well heads, the tank battery, the gates, and even whether crews are wearing their hard hats or not — at intervals of 30 minutes to an hour.
Well Checked creates a video history that is stored permanently in the Internet cloud, readily available for review or information to support litigation or claims. The company is targeting producers who have from 25 wells to thousands of wells.
“We provide useable information to our clients immediately and also record it for historical purposes at a cost other people haven’t been able to touch, creating an immediate ROI (return on investment) from safety, security, and efficiency,” Haefner said.
With a scalable business model that has the potential to solve a significant and well-understood problem for the oil and gas industry, Well Checked recently received investment from i2E and other investors.
We are eager to help more Oklahoma startups with innovative solutions that care as much about their customers and industry as Well Checked.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.
Did You Know? i2E’s Seed Fund clients report that 95.4 percent of sales revenue is generated from out-of-state sales.