In this fourth executive Q&A, we learn about Datagration's game plan in North America and why companies choose to adopt PetroVisor to quickly ramp up their profitability.
With nearly 40 years of experience, Peter Bernard is Datagration’s CEO and Chairman. Trained as a Reservoir and Production Engineer with a degree in Petroleum Engineering, he leads the company’s operations worldwide. He worked 25 years with Halliburton including seven years at Landmark Graphics Corporation, which was acquired by Halliburton in 1998. During his time as President and CEO at Landmark Graphics, the company’s revenue grew from $190 million to $750 million and the company went from having nearly 300 employees to 3,300 employees, operating in 50 countries around the globe. Afterwards, he retired from Halliburton in 2008 and went on to be the Senior Advisor for both Shell Technology Ventures (Kenda Capital) and Warburg Pincus. At Warburg Pincus, he participated in the acquisition of 13 different companies and merged them into three companies to streamline operations. One of the companies was RS Energy Group, where he sat on the board and advised the leadership team. RS Energy grew from $27 million to $100 million in revenue in three and half years and was sold for over $1 billion in January 2020. Shortly after the sale of RS Energy, he was introduced to Datagration and its portfolio. After spending several months on due diligence, he and partners bought the company in May 2020. He is active in every facet of building Datagration to a world class company and making PetroVisor ubiquitous in the industry.
Q: What does Datagration’s current market presence in North America look like today?
A: We have over a dozen clients using PetroVisor in the region that range from companies operating 40 wells up to 18,000 wells. We are working with companies that are solely producing from their wells while others are actively drilling and completing quite a few wells. So, each company has a different need, whether it is our Completion application, our Production Optimization application, or our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Optimization application – and some clients choose to acquire every application we offer.
Q: This seems like quite a tailored fit for companies in the region. How are you building on PetroVisor’s tools as you collaborate with your clients?
A: A core area we are focusing on is demonstrating to clients that they don’t have to buy the whole platform and that they can look at our unique products. We recently closed a deal with one of our clients in Oklahoma City for our ESG application. They were looking at the entire platform, and we told them that they didn’t have to buy everything and could start focusing on one area first – their biggest need was ESG. For another client, they were just looking at the Completion Optimization application to start with the platform. Essentially, clients can go all in or just focus on one aspect of their operations. We are looking to work with the heads of production, the heads of ESG, and the head of accounting and really collaborate to leverage the uniqueness of our applications and the platform itself to make the best of their day-to-day operations – and not wait to try to solve everything within their company from a digital perspective.
Q: Working side-by-side with your clients is a rewarding process for you and the client. What are you working on at the moment to enhance PetroVisor?
A: We are expanding our artificial lift and ESG capabilities. We are also expanding on Lease Operating Statements, which really enhance the financial and accounting side of companies. Funny enough, a lot of oil and gas companies have a tremendous problem handling their financials, so we want them to leverage PetroVisor’s applications to increase profitability — we can do it right out of the box. I would say it’s an aspect that is in the highest demand today by companies. We are working with two different groups to map out the specifics to create a more robust Lease Operating Statement system. We are also building new dashboards across all of the portfolio, and we are enhancing all current applications.
Q: There is great potential on the financial side for E&P operators. How quickly can companies adopt PetroVisor’s technology?
A: Another very important area is implementation. Companies want to be able to implement PetroVisor as fast as possible, and we are getting more efficient each day at implementing projects in order for our clients to seamlessly adopt and benefit from our applications. We highlight to our clients the core areas of data connection, and we have been able to crystallize projects to fruition fast and efficiently. We can walk in, assess the data requirements, and start connecting our platform really quickly. All in all, we can do more with less because the software does a lot of the heavy lifting, and we have an efficient process as well.
Bringing over 20 years of experience in technology and oil and gas operations, Bryan Marlborough is the Vice President of Platform Development & Commercialization at Datagration. He started working in the tech sector by creating technology companies in the early 2000s focused on customer data and operations. Then, he worked as a deepwater operator with an offshore E&P company on-site at their facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. Afterwards, the company stationed him in Houston, and he worked managing teams that would draft the technical documents for the company’s offshore facilities. Later, he worked as the Business Development Manager, responsible for sales and managing accounts for over 600 oil and gas operators—including oil majors—for a large Software-as-a-Service company, which specializes in well dial systems. Today, he builds on the market’s wants and needs to deliver a specialized product offering at Datagration.
Q: How do you use your experience to deliver the technological tools that E&P operators need?
A: I cover everything to do with what we hear in the market and build those into products before the market knows they need them. We aim to stay one step ahead of the market to deliver our customers the tools, software, insights, and results they need before they ask for them. In my past role, I talked to over 600 E&P operators to hear what each one had to say, and with that, I could envision a singular product that would address what they required. That’s the key to developing valuable tools for customer-based product management: understanding what an industry is saying in order to tailor and deliver products for customers before they realize that this is the tool they need. In my opinion, once a customer asks for it, it’s too late. Think of the updates on your smartphone—you all of a sudden get a great update on your phone that you didn’t know you needed until you started using it.
Q: Great strategy. How are PetroVisor’s products ahead of the competition?
A: What makes Datagration and PetroVisor so different is that we are a software company, first and foremost. The competition focuses mostly on consulting, and the software drives consulting revenue for those companies. In contrast, we are focused on the software, which allows us to connect and automate a broad range of disparate data sources within a company to allow them to focus on the results they need to achieve and not the process to get there. The process is what takes the most amount of time, but with automated workflows and the data analysis we offer, teams can focus on their targets and forget about the procedures to accomplish them. PetroVisor is a single solution for a large number of data complications.
Q: Very efficient tools for companies to thrive with. How is that helping your clients optimize operations and increase profitability?
A: At the moment, with oil prices being high, companies in North America and the industry as a whole tend to focus less on the obvious overall operational challenges they need to overcome and instead focus all efforts on increasing production, in order to satisfy such high demand in the market. What PetroVisor allows companies to do is to still focus on the process and the challenges they have, but we automate that. And what that does is that it allows companies to solve challenges while increasing production at the same time to reap all possible benefits as prices increase. Once companies adopt PetroVisor, their operations will be automated and optimized for low or high oil prices to make the best of their operations and increase profitability.