Pipeline protests and green manifestos notwithstanding, Canada’s oil and gas sector is doing a fair bit better in 2017 than in the darkest days last year, when oil hovered around US $30/barrel (Today, it’s above US $50/barrel). In lean times, resource extraction companies are relying more on big data analysis to get the job done. That’s the take from Calgary-based Pason Systems, which recently announced its acquisition of discovery analytics software company Verdazo.
Pason isn’t exactly a recognizable name on par with Starbucks for your average Canadian. Nonetheless, they’re actually the largest provider of instrumentation on drilling rigs in the world. They help monitor and provide the data communications modern oil and gas companies need to operate profitably, and claim that 70 percent of all drilling rigs in the western hemisphere are outfitted with their tech.
If in the past if it would take 30 days to build a well; with the right data it might take 15 days. The lower your costs, the better your returns.
The Verdazo acquisition puts Pason on firmer footing to compete in the US marketplace. “We believe Verdazo has developed a compelling data analytics offering for users in the oil and gas industry,” said Marcel Kessler, president and CEO of Pason. “Together, we look forward to providing energy professionals best-in-class capabilities to collect and analyze data. This new product offering will not only help clients reduce operational costs, but make better decisions on exploration and development practices.”
As part of the agreement, the Verdazo management team will continue to operate the day-to-day business as a wholly owned subsidiary of Pason, while entering into non-competition agreements.
From Verdazo Analytics president Bertrand Groulx’s perspective, the move is a win-win, providing them access to decades of drilling data experience. “While we’ve always provided analytics for financial, public, and production data, we finally have access to world-class drilling data expertise in Pason and together we will create even more value for our combined clients.”
Optimizing the energy business
While Pason is taking new approaches by investing in data analytics and looking at alternative energy opportunities, the attitudes of the oil and gas industry are still mired in the traditional. Kevin Lo, VP of New Ventures at Pason, explained that the main focus is finding solutions for the oil and gas sector. “Oil and gas is valuable to everyone. The same people who you see at the protests take flights and drive cars. It’s all powered by hydrocarbons. That’s the energy source for us today…it behooves us to find solutions for our industry.”
During the energy commodities downturn of the past year, many companies laid off large numbers of employees and have had to make do with far leaner operations. “The oil and gas industry is a very sophisticated industry. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, but very capital intensive. It’s very expensive to drill a well, and hard to maximize returns.”
Better tech makes operations more economic. “When we extract data, we provide second-by-second information to the drilling companies,” Lo said. “For instance, if in the past if it would take 30 days to build a well; with the right data it might take 15 days. The lower your costs, the better your returns.”