Leading producers across North America are investigating solutions to improve the efficiency of their field operations teams. Worth evaluating are tech tools to centralize and manage field operations including remote field workers.
Oilfield operations teams may have seen technology rollouts fail in the past because digital tools weren’t easy to use, did not consider the day-in-the-life of the frontline or had lousy customer support, times have changed.
Technology built by operators for operators is now available to make scheduling, team communication, and managing maintenance across assets easier with data in a single system to monitor and support performance of field operations teams.
What is field operations management software?
Field operations management software helps oil and gas companies manage assets and optimize all activities across their field operations. The software is used to assign field operations teams to daily activities and priorities and provide visibility into the overall field performance by centralizing all asset management data into one system.
Some field operations management software also include specific capabilities such as compliance management, field logging and scheduling, communication tools and reporting dashboards. Field operations software is also accessible in real-time by multiple users, from head office to those managing teams in the field.
Why is everyone switching to oil and gas software for efficient field operations?
Field operations teams often need to juggle paper logs, single-purpose software systems while sorting emails, phone calls and fitting in drive time. The cognitive load on field teams is costing producers in errors in decision making, which can lead to overspending, lost production and compliance infractions.
On the management side, site supers are tired of inconsistent operations across sites and need to more efficiently manage their field teams. They lack the ability to track, monitor and analyze field and worker performance across the entire field operations.
For producers who’ve established a Real Time Operations (RTO) group, remote operations centers or an integrated remote operations center (IROC) to manage and disseminate information to the field, they too are seeking ways to streamline this effort. Their biggest struggles include the ability to quickly assign tasks and improve communication with remote field teams.
To make the shift to best in-class operating by exception, leading producers are moving towards “the connected worker”, where technology intelligence is used to automate routine tasks, provide real-time communication tools right for on and offline remote work and guide operations teams on the top priorities for daily activity to yield value from assets.
Top ranked benefits of field operations management software
- One-stop, real-time communications empowers field teams to do their best work
- Teams efficiently manage operations activities such as trucking, inspections, compliance management, and monitoring injection rates, calibrations, equipment pressure, heaters, and setpoint changes
- Operations teams know the precise tank levels in the fields, allowing them to book trucks to haul full loads instead of partial loads which is significant for production, chemical management and preventing leaks
- Operators know the scheduled and unscheduled maintenance that needs to happen in the area, allowing them to book full days with contractors, significantly reducing unnecessary driving and containing costs
Top things to consider when evaluating oil and gas software for efficient field operations
If you’re exploring solutions to improve the efficiency of your oil and gas field operations, how do you know if field operations management software is a worthwhile solution? Here’s what to ask so you can determine if the software will actually meet your needs and ultimately provide value.
1. What problem does field operations management software solve?
Depending on your field operations and size of your remote oilfield workforce, identify the top priorities and what problems you need help solving with software.
This could include:
- Reduce asset downtime: gain visibility into asset performance and proactively manage issues such as detecting leaks or out of service tanks.
- More efficient field teams: assign and automate daily activities and keep field workers accountable for their tasks and improve communication, even when offline or changing shifts
- Manage compliance: digitize field inspections and streamline compliance reporting.
Once you’ve identified your top priorities to be solved, be sure to ask your vendor how their field management software specifically solves them.
2. What solutions are out there?
Often, oil and gas producers may look to build this kind of software in-house versus purchasing off-the-shelf products. But there are three common reasons why these types of projects tend to fail. And there are a range of software solutions already developed for field management activities. This includes field data capture, production management, well monitoring tools, and HSE focused solutions. These are great options if you are only looking to manage one particular area of field management such as health and safety or compliance.
But if you need to streamline multiple areas of field operations and are looking to gain maximum efficiency in the field, seek out software solutions that can consolidate all field activities behind one login. Some software vendors also allow you to customize the software as well as either adopt the full platform or try only the services that best fit for your operations.
3. Will remote field workers actually use the software?
This is a key question to ask oil and gas software vendors. Many rollouts in our industry fail because of low user adoption. Be sure to ask your vendor to provide their average user adoption rate and beware of vendor data that only shows usage the first two weeks of use in the field. You want to see usage over time staying solid or increasing.
4. Do my peers use this and do they recommend it?
Case studies, testimonials and peer references are critical here, especially from producers who have similar size of field operations or who are facing similar problems you need the software to solve. Peer references can be especially helpful as you can ask direct questions about their use of the software and what they really think.
5. What can I expect as a return on the software investment? Who will get value?
Ask your vendors for specific examples of other clients who reduced their operating costs, or saved man hours in the field. For example, how much can it help save on third-party logistics and vendors such as chemical management? Some vendors allow you to easily calculate your estimated ROI of using their field operations management software.
6. How long does it take to rollout and what support do we get?
Field operation management software vendors should provide a clear road map of how they typically roll out their technology. For example, it takes about 5 weeks for EZ Ops software onboarding and includes key activities including training, troubleshooting and customization.
Support is key in field management software as field workers need to stay connected when working remotely. Make sure to ask the vendor for examples of issue resolutions and how long they took to resolve as well as average waiting times to reach support. Better yet, call their support line and see if a live person answers.
7. Does the software integrate with other systems?
While you may not need to know the specific ins-and-outs of the software technology, it’s important to ask for information that will help your IT or other departments assess if the technology can easily integrate with your existing systems. Often, oil and gas software vendors can provide a tech audit for your IT team to ensure all of their integration questions are answered.
8. How can I try before I buy?
Often field management software vendors offer a pilot of the software so you can try it with your team before you commit to purchase. Ask if this is an option and work with your vendor to detail the length and rollout of the pilot, so you can assess if it’s a good fit for your field team and operations.
9. What’s your vision for the future of oil and gas field operations?
While there are many oil and gas software providers out there, make sure to choose a provider with a clear vision for field operations that matches your own. Many software vendors focus only on solving today’s problems, like digitizing inspection forms, rather than planning for tomorrow’s unknown needs and toughest challenges.
At EZ Ops, we’re building a new vision for production operations using a data-driven operate by exception approach. We believe your data should be accessible anytime, reporting should be automated and operators should be connected.
We’re here to answer your must-have questions about EZ Ops software for more efficient field operations
We welcome your hard-hitting questions about our field operations management software and the opportunity to demonstrate our value and track record with oil and gas field operations.
About Patrick Herren, Director of Customer Experience
Pat’s been operating numerous assets around Alberta for the past decade and knows firsthand the demands of the job working in the oil patch as a former production operator.
Pat leads our on-boarding and training team, providing responsive helpful service that has earned EZ Ops a 100% adoption track record in the field.