CAODC member companies are always looking for ways to do things differently. The Canadian oil patch in general is known for working hard, and also working smart. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and working in some of the toughest conditions on some of the toughest formations has resulted in technology and techniques that are literally second to none.
With that spirit in mind, CAODC not only works hard to deliver value for members, but continues to strive for ways to work smarter. “Our members expect us to perform as well as they do, and that means working hard, yes, but also looking for ways to do things better,” notes John Bayko, CAODC’s Vice President of Communications. “When we have members building rigs that can walk, and cutting drilling times in half, we see firsthand what an impact innovation can have, and we try to apply that thinking to our role as an Association.”
A recent demonstration of that type of innovation at the Association level comes in the form of a unique partnership with a new, and potentially groundbreaking oilfield directory and map called RiggerTalk. Unlike searching for a company website online, RiggerTalk’s website and mobile app combine a whole new dynamic set of features and benefits in a way that adds compounded value.
Because it is map-based, and can be updated in real time by companies listed in the directory, RiggerTalk uses what was traditionally static directory information, and transforms it into a location based tool for oilfield workers. Want to find a rig location? Type in the LSD, and the map shows you how to get there. Want to find the nearest vac truck? Type in “vac truck” and the map populates with the nearest vac truck companies, links to their website, and contact information. RiggerTalk’s maps are the foundation for a set of features that make “connecting buyers and suppliers” seamless. Custom vendor lists, road ban map, an equipment buy and sell, a job board, active drilling rig map, these are all vital components of day to day operations that can now be found on a mobile device.
While the concept may sound straightforward, and perhaps brings other similar projects to mind, what sets RiggerTalk apart from other startups in this area is its creator, Chris Zavlanos. Zavlanos has been in the oil and gas services industry for more than 23 years, and created RiggerTalk to meet a need he had personally as a well site consultant. “I used to drive around trying to find what I needed, or ask a buddy for a phone number for someone. And to tell you the truth, a lot of people are still doing that today. They are using a pen and paper, and sometimes it can take a guy a while (to find what he needs),” Zavlanos explains.
What started as an idea several years ago, has slowly developed — with hard work and his own money — into a digital directory built by an oilfield professional for other oilfield professionals. “I’ve seen several of these ideas floating around over the past four or five years,” notes Bayko, “but this is the first one I’ve seen that started with a guy in the field as opposed to a software developer.” And it’s for this reason, says Bayko, that when Zavlanos approached the CAODC a year ago to discuss a partnership, the conversation got interesting. “I remember meeting Chris and thinking that he was passionate, but I had seen these types of ideas come, and never end up going anywhere. I’ve worked as a conduit between several developers and guys in the field, but there always seemed to be a lack of shared understanding.”
Conceptually, the order of events that led to RiggerTalk may be its biggest strength. Rather than a solution searching for users, RiggerTalk’s DNA was conceived by a user looking for solutions. “This app didn’t start with a developer trying to explain the potential uses of a technology to someone who may or may not be looking for it. In this case, Chris knew what he wanted, and found a developer to build it,” Bayko explains.
After a few years of development, and RiggerTalk beginning to attract users and build a user base, Zavlanos approached CAODC because he was very appreciative of the respect the Association has in the industry. He felt a partnership could be good for both RiggerTalk, and CAODC members, because of the many natural synergies, “I know this app works because I use it when I’m consulting, and I’ve seen guys get work with it.”
So what does all this mean for CAODC members? “We are always looking at ways of providing member value while keeping annual dues low,” says Association President Mark Scholz. To do so, the Association is always exploring how technology and new processes can deliver more for less. With respect to RiggerTalk, innovation meets opportunity for a particularly good fit. “Partnership-wise, our relationship with RiggerTalk is really no different than our partnerships with vendor subscribers, but what I like about this one in particular, is the additional value our members realize by using the tool.” The terms of the agreement offer CAODC members exclusive subscription rates as an incentive for using RiggerTalk, and they get a portion of their subscription back as Association revenue. “Innovative and collaborative partnerships are talked about a lot, but for good reason in many ways. This RiggerTalk deal is good for everyone involved, and as our members begin to use the technology, the efficiencies they may realize will be icing on the cake,” says Scholz.