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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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GreaseBook: Reporting Oil Production Just Became Much Easier

A new app developed in Oklahoma is looking to streamline communication between well pumpers and operators by eliminating the need for lengthy paperwork and prioritizing photo evidence as a key means of verification of work.

Ushering in a new era

The current system for recording measurements on well-to-well gauge tanks is rather old-school: it has pumpers note their daily progress on little slips of paper (yeah, we said paper) that are prone to being misplaced. The new app allows oil industry workers to enter their numbers in the app’s database or send an image of their paper ticket to their higher-ups.

According to the app’s developer, Greg Archbald, “GreaseBook is an app for oil and gas operators. It allows them to better utilize their single greatest asset: pumpers. With GreaseBook, operators can create measurable improvements to your pumpers' contributions while generating a powerful impact to your current and future cash flows.”

The app claims that the new process, which includes well history as well as run tickets that can now be accessed directly through the app, could save the equivalent of four days of work each month, and would allow pumpers to focus more on the wells under their purview.

Why Grease?

Grease books, according to Archbald, were physical books that operators would take to the field in order to record their numbers. After dipping a tape measure into the tanks, they would write in their levels, leaving their greasy imprints visible on the front and back covers of the book. Related: Five Energy Predictions For 2017

“The fact that it sounds familiar to something like Facebook was totally unintentional, but it doesn’t hurt,” the founder told The Surge last year, adding that the app’s title makes its function obvious to its primary users.

The vast majority of the pumping market remains unaware of or unamused by the new app, since the United States hosts over one million wells, and the app has not yet taken hold.

Approximately three-fourths of the pumping market is made up of designated strip wells, producing up to 15 barrels of oil or fewer per day. These wells could be equipped with telemetric sensors that auto-report output, but the high cost of the ever-ready devices keep companies from installing them. So employees are therefore tasked with driving around fields housing strip wells to collect the much-needed information. Related: What Is Holding Renewable Energy Back?

Several firms have attempted to develop an online well management system prior to Greasebook that uses Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets or Palm Pilots (when those were still “in”) or other paper-based systems that required a dedicated employee to upload daily figures.

These efforts began before the widespread distribution of smart handheld devices, after the release of the iPhone in 2008 and the further development of Android touchscreen mobile phones in the few months after.

Archibald argues that the new app represents a middle ground between wholly automated telemetry and the antiquated paper strips. By providing iPads along with the software, the company acts as a “one-stop shop,” avoiding hardware compatibility issues.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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