In 2012, Aaron Phillips, chief executive officer of AmpliSine Labs, and David Bateman, chief financial office and chief business officer, were huddled in the dog house of a drilling rig.
They were attempting the first installation of their SitePro® automation software.
“We developed the system in the field,” said Bateman during a recent visit from Lubbock, where AmpliSine is based.
The SitePro system is integrated digital technology that links exploration and production companies, service companies and water and environmental companies to offer real-time field service data, create and track work orders and offer electronic ticketing.
In addition, the company sells hardware — “All the different devices used to measure fluids,” Bateman said — that can be connected to the automation software.
“It’s the safety aspect, the prevention of spills,” he said, explaining that the company has patented a remote-controlled system that lets users monitor well sites and equipment, monitor tank levels and site conditions. Users can also use the system to open or close valves or shut off pumps, and it alerts field staff to problems such as spills, he said.
Connecting the various companies and helping manage the supply chain results in efficiencies and reduced costs. Combining that “and electronic ticketing into one system, customers are saving money — that’s the bottom line, that and good service,” Bateman said, noting that the company’s field personnel who install and support its systems are always on call.
The idea for the company came in 2012 when “there was a big shale boom and a lot of horizontal drilling. There was a big need for water disposal and the traditional disposal, and SCADA systems didn’t fill the need,” Bateman said. “So we devised this system to manage fluid services and water disposal.”
Drilling a well is different now, he said, and estimated that there are 2,500 to 3,000 truck visits to a drilling site. He said “55 percent of an oil well’s life cycle is water. So we address trucking and disposal.”
It’s a niche the company can really satisfy, he said.
Since its launch in 2012, SitePro has gained 55 customers, primarily E&P and saltwater management companies and some service companies. Customers are primarily in the Permian Basin but also the Bakken, Eagle Ford and in North Texas, according to Bateman.
He credits the industry downturn, in part, to helping the company’s growth.
“What happened during the boom was there wasn’t as much demand, and the downturn created high demand,” he said. “It was a shift from drilling and new projects to efficiency and optimizing operations. Our big E&P customers tell us they wanted to use the downturn to get processes in place so they’re ready when activity revs up.”
While it may seem counterintuitive, “we took advantage and decided to raise capital in the middle of a downturn,” Bateman said. Capital came from “angel investors” and strategic individuals.
Bateman said the company’s cloud-based platform is a draw when he’s making sales pitches, especially to private equity groups backing E&P companies.
“They want access to our systems” so they can monitor the companies they’re backing, he said.
The company has offices in Lubbock and San Antonio and field staff throughout the Permian Basin, he said.
He estimates the company has 23 employees — one-third software technicians, half field staff and the remainder business administration.
“And we’re always looking for good people. We’re looking for automation technicians in the Delaware and we’re expanding our sales team in Midland, Houston and Oklahoma City,” he said.
The company estimates the SitePro platform has generated more than $150 million in transactions and tracked and billed more than 250 million barrels of fluid.
The “oil field is pretty innovative,” said Bateman, predicting the company’s technology will be accepted. “I think technology is changing and the generation that’s running companies now is familiar with it,” he said.
“We’re positioning ourselves to be the digital oilfield solution. It’s a developing, billion-dollar industry and we want to capture as much of that market as we can.”
Beyond that, “I can see us moving into areas like water infrastructure” that would serve not just oil and gas but municipalities and agriculture, he said.