Sourcewater has developed a crystal ball that lets it predict future drilling activity.
This crystal ball comes in the form of satellites and analysis of the data.
The Houston-based company has just launched DirtWork Alert, which notifies clients when work begins on what appears to be drilling pads, indicating new drilling activity months ahead of drilling permit filings or drilling rig movement.
“Often, drilling pads are built before a drilling permit is filed,” Josh Adler, chief executive officer of Sourcewater, said in a phone interview. “It’s a better indication operators are planning to drill and they’re serious about the dirtwork.”
Being able to predict where a well is going to be drilled six to eight months before producers seek drilling permits has two benefits, Adler said.
Landowners who subscribe to the company’s alerts can receive notice that work – pad sites, frac ponds or roads to move in equipment – is being done on neighboring leases.
“It gives them a chance to protest,” he said. “If they realize the work is being done for a frac pit, they might be concerned about the impact on reservoirs.”
The company is developing a new product that would provide similar notifications by searching online newspapers for legal notices for planned disposal wells, which are required by law.
The alerts will go out to operators, surface owners and competitors, so they can have the opportunity to protest any planned disposal wells, Adler said.
A second benefit of DirtWork Alert is the advance notice it gives service companies, he said.
“Everyone wants to know who is drilling where so they can sell them services, whether it’s liners or logging services or frac crews or trucking services, any product or service. If we can tell you who is drilling where one to six months before a drilling permit comes out, why are you waiting on the drilling permit? It gives companies an edge of a few weeks to six months. That can make a huge impact on whether or not they have a chance to win that business,” he said.
The program was launched earlier this month, Adler said, and focuses on the Permian Basin.
“Eventually we’ll expand it to cover other regions – the Eagle Ford, the Bakken,” Adler said.
DirtWork Alert has its roots in Adler’s founding of Sourcewater seven years ago.
The company was “based on an idea I had when I was an energy fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” Adler said. “I was interested in the rise of unconventional energy. This was an industry that was taking off like a hockey stick. When you get that big that fast, not everyone knows what they’re doing.”
Studying unconventional oil and gas to determine new developments, Adler hit on water production and asked what data there was about water production.
To answer that need, he formed Sourcewater as a marketplace for buying, selling and disposing water. Clients can find landowners who are selling water or where there were frac ponds. The company used satellite data to find those water sources.
“Then we realized there was a lot of other interesting stuff on the ground in the oil field that we wouldn’t know about if the government didn’t have the data. We decided we could catch pad sites as they’re built and offer that information before the drilling permits are issued.”
Sourcewater can also identify probable lease operators and provides energy data such as land ownership, wellbores, pipelines, permits, rigs, completions and oil, gas and water production.
DirtWork Alert, Adler said, “opens us up to the entire upstream oil and gas industry.”
Dane Moorefield, VP of Marketing
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