What is the state of tech innovation in oil and gas for the frontline worker?
Brandon shares his unique perspective from working as a frontline oil and gas operator to tech entrepreneur and co-founder of EZ Ops, including:
- Why the digitalization of the oilfield field is key to equip frontline workers to perform at their best.
- Why adoption is critical when considering digital solutions.
- How EZ Ops software for field operations management reduces OPEX and makes oil and gas producers more competitive.
I recently interviewed Brandon Ambrose, CEO of EZ Ops, a technology company, about the state of innovation in oil and gas for the front-line worker. This is an edited transcript of the interview.
Geoffrey: Welcome back to another episode of Digital Oil and Gas. My name is Geoffrey Cann, host of the podcast. And today I’m joined by a friend of mine, Brandon Ambrose, who is the CEO and founder of EZ Ops. Brandon, welcome to the show.
Brandon: Thanks, Geoffrey. I appreciate you inviting me.
Geoffrey: Today we’re going to get caught up on the role of the frontline worker, and how technology is impacting that frontline worker. You’ve had such an interesting story because you started out as a frontline worker, and now you’re a tech entrepreneur. Let’s start with your background, how you got to where you got to and what role you’re now playing with EZ Ops.
Brandon: Years ago, I realized that I thought a little bit differently than most. Ever since I was young, I had this weird obsession about efficiency. That drove my first endeavour, which was actually a honeybee business.
Geoffrey: You were a beekeeper?
Brandon: That’s right, in northern Alberta. I saved up my pennies for beekeeping equipment. I remember just being passionate about how I could play with the different harvest times, when I would take the honey to maximize the production that these bees were producing, and that would drive the bottom line. I got an early start in my obsession about efficiency.
Geoffrey: How old were you then?
Brandon: I was 13.
Geoffrey: I used to mow lawns to get pocket money when I was at that age. Why not beekeeping? Where did that take you from there?
Brandon: Fast forward five years later, my first true business was an asset management company in the oil and gas space. Having my obsession about efficiency, as soon as I was introduced into the oil and gas space, I just couldn’t ignore it. I could see all of these levers that I could pull in managing a gas plant or a well, whether it’s optimizing a process or a compressor, or managing the on-cycles for wells or pump jacks, I could really drive value through efficiency. That’s what it was when I first got into the oil and gas space in 2008.
Geoffrey: There’s a lot more levers to pull than a honeybee operation, I suspect, right? You’ve got equipment availability, where you locate it, high uptime and reliability, and its performance and labor. Tell us a bit about EZ Ops.
Brandon: After building Reliance Production Optimization, which was my asset management company, I was really good at tuning up these plants, facilities, and wells. I built a good team as well. The question I wanted to answer was how do I take this drive for excellence and efficiency that I achieved, and transfer that to my guys? Then, how can I scale it out beyond our team? What we did was we built everything on a web-based platform to create a digital twin of the operator’s workflow. And as the old saying goes, what’s measured, can be managed. We focused on measuring everything that was happening out there. Once we got all of the events into a digital format, we were able to provide positive feedback loops to the frontline workers and incentivize key things for operators on the front lines. That could be increasing production or maintaining maximum production, or decreasing costs or keeping costs as low as possible, while maintaining compliance and safety. That was where EZ Ops started. It was a solution that we built to initially help our team make better decisions, aster. But we found that producers liked that functionality as well.
Geoffrey: How did they find out that you even had this solution? Did they tell you somehow, or were they commenting on your performance and asking how are you guys doing this?
Brandon: We were seeing some incredible results reducing OPEX as a team and EZ Ops was the tool we were using to accomplish it. The market drove EZ Ops to become its own business; we realized that there was so much opportunity out there and we could actually have more impact on the oil and gas space and make our market competitive if we licensed EZ Ops out to producers.