Ricardo Clemente, Co‐Founder and Executive Director of Intelie and VP of Business Development at RigNet, IntelieRicardo Clemente, Co‐Founder and Executive Director of Intelie and VP of Business Development at RigNet
As the COVID-19 outbreak has created a demand shock around the world, its ripple effects are impacting diverse sectors and nations. In the oil-producing countries, for instance, the price collapse has given rise to new threats of economic instability. Particularly in the U.S., the pandemic has created an economic recession that could depress oil prices for at least a year. The prices of crude oil went from a four-year high to a full-blown bear market in mere weeks. The catalyst for such a massive drop, however, is not just the rising concern over a potential demand shock from a supply glut. Even though oil production moguls have agreed to cut their yield by 10 million barrels a day for the coming months, the interim supply glut has hammered oil prices below the profitability floor. And this double-shock to oil demand and supply now threatens the viability of the most heavily leveraged shale oil producers in the country, as nearly half of that production is unhedged. That being said, transitioning from the manual to the digital side of the great divide can help these oil companies optimize their operational cost, thereby ensuring a safe passage through this period of crisis.

At this juncture, as one assesses the stance of the different actors in the ongoing turmoil and the response of shale producers, it seems clear that the existing manual approach to shale production has already started to shift. Speed and performance efficiency have now become the name of the game. Understanding this need of the hour, Intelie—a wholly-owned subsidiary of RigNet [NASDAQ:RNET]—takes a pragmatic approach for improving the bottomline of shale producers.

Founded in 2008, Intelie is a Brazilian company that leverages machine learning to help shale producers discover and implement the most important operational KPIs. Intelie facilitates innovation via a distributed query language with a complex event processor to aggregate and normalize real-time data from a myriad of data sources. This data, combined with Intelie’s business knowledge and expertise in data architecture (and big data), helps clients expedite their digitalization and avoid failures that can cause huge financial losses. “Our stream analytics platform, Intelie Live, can gather data from any source and anticipate anomalies to identify opportunities for business and operational improvement,” notes Ricardo Clemente, co-founder and executive director of Intelie and VP of business development at RigNet.

The Best of the Two Worlds

In addition to its proven expertise, what makes Intelie a preferred choice for many international shale producers, especially during the ongoing crisis, is the presence of RigNet in the mix. The holding company creates a layer of managed communications services on top of Intelie’s real-time data processing and machine learning algorithms, and operational intelligence, thus making it a unique partnership. “This marriage of RigNet and Intelie has done well because the rate at which we’ve scaled over the last year and a half is unprecedented,” comments Brendan Sullivan, CTO and CIO of RigNet. Further, instead of clients having to set up this combined solution, Intelie takes care of every aspect of a technology deployment from the front-end to the back-end.
Spearheaded by parent company RigNet’s sales executive and brand ambassador Robert ‘Duce’ Meche, Intelie also deploys its personnel to clients’ sites for better support. “When you put these three factors together, it takes Intelie to the next level in terms of capabilities,” underscores Clemente.

“ We’ve got a pretty broad set of applications from well planning to completion with a specialization around fracking and pressure vans”

A Solution Suite Built from the Past Experiences

As both Intelie and RigNet have experienced and withstood the economic downturns in 2015 and 2018, the companies understand the critical role digitalization plays in cost optimization. And now, as the oil and gas sector is more than eager to see the added value of digitalization, it puts Intelie and RigNet under the spotlight. The core mission of this venture is to help shale producers cut down on non-productive time (NPT) by monitoring important KPIs and the wear and tear of fracking equipment by leveraging data and machine learning. Intelie helps companies discover and implement the most important operational indicators, combining its business knowledge and expertise with data architecture, big data, machine learning, and real- time analytics. “We’ve got a pretty broad set of applications from well planning to completion with a specialization around fracking and pressure vans,” enthuses Sullivan.

Fracking operators, on the other hand, can leverage Intelie’s solutions to ensure operational efficiency. Whether it is creating different stages of fracking or monitoring the overall frac job itself, the collected data can help operators determine their efficiency and establish organizational best practices to cut down on operational costs.

What’s more? According to Clemente, Intelie’s approach to customization resembles the personalization of a racing car according to the needs of the driver. Intelie has the building blocks necessary to develop the solution for its clients, which is comparable to the stock model of a racing car. Depending on clients’ business requirements, the company leverages its industry expertise and designs new visualizations, monitoring scenarios, automation, and develops apps and solutions on the Intelie Live platform. Once the client takes a test drive, Intelie fine-tunes the solution in line with the client’s requirements. “For us, what is most important is bringing in our past experiences from the industry and working hand in hand with the customers,” highlights Clemente.

Withstanding the 2020 Downturn

As Sullivan highlights—reducing NPT invariably offers 10-20 times return on investment, while predictive maintenance of fracking equipment can help companies save 25-30 percent of their operational budget. With this understanding, Intelie follows a ‘maturity model’ of getting quality data by placing simple controls to measure the KPIs and applying powerful algorithms to analyze and make decisions based on that data.

“You cannot talk about AI unless you have quality data at your disposal,” comments Clemente.
Brendan Sullivan, CTO and CIO, RigNet

Therefore, Intelie takes a three-step approach to help its clients. At the start, Intelie puts in place a solid data foundation; from data collection in the field to the transmission of the same using the satellite links or cellular communication offered by RigNet. Once the data foundation starts collating the necessary data, the client can start leveraging it to arm subject matter experts in troubleshooting any problems at the fracking site. Next, Intelie helps the client develop ground rules to prevent any non-ideal usage of their equipment. Additionally, Intelie uses its own experience in the field to set up certain parameters for monitoring and maintenance of equipment. And these safety mechanisms are part of the second layer of digitalization.

Our stream analytics platform, Intelie Live, can gather data from any source and anticipate anomalies to identify opportunities for business and operational improvement

Once the client has data and specific annotations that can be correlated with the maintenance records, Intelie moves the client to the realm of predictive maintenance with smart algorithms, which is the third and final stage of digitalization. “Our schtick is in real-time machine learning, where we pull away from our competitors,” comments Sullivan. Rather than taking a long time to generate results, Intelie can filter out of the live data stream and offer insights in sub- seconds. These insights help the client understand the scenario at different stages of a fracking well, along with information like the time needed to build up a certain degree of pressure or swap the crews, and many others. Clemente adds, “Even though we start showing value to clients from day one, we do not lose sight of the bigger picture—increasing production and reducing costs.”

Building a Better Tomorrow

With such capabilities under its hood, Intelie has already carved out a niche of its own by winning the majority of the top 10 supermajors in less than 12 months of its global operations. And now, the company is 200 percent committed to delivering value to shale producers. Intelie and RigNet both are scaling up the number of employees and apps quite quickly. Intelie is also expanding across the energy value chain, especially on the production side for yield management, to stay on the hyper-growth rate that it has been experiencing in the energy sector. “I think right now is the moment to show that we are here for our customers and continue providing quality services to help them become more efficient and save production costs,” concludes Clemente.