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Smartphone Software Program for Pumpers/Well Tenders Public Executive Summary

Lead Organizaation: 
System of Merritt, Inc.
Principal Investigator: 

Frank Braswell
(765) 760-1638
swc@systemsofmerritt.com

This project seeks to improve production performance for pumpers/well tenders and owners with data collection and reporting tasks needed for more efficient and lower cost running and maintaining of wellsites through the use of smartphone technology.

The objectives are similar to a previous 2006 SWC project (DOE/NETL Prime Award Number: DE-FC26-04NT42098, Sub Award Number: 3191-OMWC-USDOE-2098, Pumper/Well Tender PDA Program for Small Producing Companies) submitted by the Oklahoma Marginal Well Commission (OMWC). Lessons learned in the previous OMWC grant, plus advances in handheld communication and computer technology indicate that deploying such systems should be revisited.

While major oil producers can deploy expensive automated well monitoring systems, small producers largely work from paper forms and worksheets filled out by well tenders on a daily basis. The goal of the previous project was to create a user-friendly software system to support field operations. In the OMWC final report, James Revard (current Executive Director of OMWC) comments the data input using the PDA was more time-consuming than desired, and that additional work was needed on the software.

With the advances in smartphone technology, the data input task can be more adequately addressed. Additionally, there are many more advantages of deploying smartphone technology in the field, such as cell phone and internet connectivity, GPS, mapping, camera, and etc. None of these capabilities were available when the first project was developed. Another advantage over the previous project is the proliferation of smartphone technology into the general marketplace. Today it is highly likely that many people working in the oil patch
already have a smartphone, or have considered buying one, or their kids have one. Making the transition to a smartphone today is not nearly as difficult as the PDA transition was for the earlier project.

The Apple iPhone/iPad devices are the technology of choice for this project for several reasons. First, Apple commands a significant share of the smartphone market and over 51 million
devices have been sold, including 8.75 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2010. The devices are readily available and will not become obsolete any time soon. Second, application
distribution is extremely simple through the Apple iTunes Store. The application and any upgrades can be downloaded 24-7 along with thousands of other iPhone applications that can be
useful for field productivity. Third, Systems of Merritt, Inc. is an experienced Apple iPhone developer with products available in the iTunes Store.

For the above reasons, this project will focus on the Apple iPhone. After the project is developed and field-tested it can be adapted to other smartphones.

Finally, collaborating with the Oklahoma Marginal Wells Commission will allow Systems of Merritt, Inc. to gain access to owners in the field and other organizations that can help with the concept development, testing and spreading the word about the project.

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