Patrick Tutty joined M-Flow in August 2018 to support the development and expansion of our multiphase metering services in Canada. With nearly two decades’ experience of the Canadian oil and gas market under his belt, Patrick brings a wealth of industry knowledge and a genuine enthusiasm for technical innovation. In this interview we talk to him about the changing landscape of the oil and gas market in Canada and the importance of building resilience at the wellhead through better access to asset data and data analytics.
Hi Patrick, could you start by telling us a bit about your professional background?
I was born in Edmonton and have been living and working in Alberta my entire life. Since I joined the oil and gas industry back in 2000, I’ve worked for a number of companies, predominantly in exploration, and have travelled to oil and gas fields on just about every continent.
In 2016, I went back to school to study for my MBA at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business where I specialized in finance. I graduated in 2018 and immediately joined M-Flow.
And what initially attracted you to the oil and gas sector?
In all honesty, like a lot of people, I just sort of fell into it – but I’m really not complaining! My background is in earth sciences, so I’ve always enjoyed spending time outdoors studying the environment around me.
When I first started oil and gas was booming in Canada, and there were lots of new technologies emerging to support the drilling and exploration projects going on throughout the country. It was a really attractive option for me and offered lots of opportunities to travel and spend time outdoors – two of my biggest passions.
What do you enjoy most about working in the industry?
Its complexity. There’s so many facets to the oil and gas industry that influence politics around the world and greatly affect the way we live our day-to-day lives. It’s also incredibly fast paced, and home to some of world’s most interesting people and greatest pioneers. I’m definitely in good company!
What attracted you to M-Flow?
You hear people say that “data is the new oil” quite frequently these days, but there’s no industry that needs better data more than oil and gas. We’re undoubtedly in a new era for upstream production, and the business case for better information to power its transformation is compelling.
When I was first introduced to M-Flow’s approach to metering and sensor packaging, I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done before. It just seemed so sensible. Everyone knows that it’s the need to maintain, clean, and often replace the sensors in traditional meters that compromises their effectiveness and makes them so costly. Yet you’ll still find almost every metering company using tech with these issues and still promising improved production, lower costs, and better reliability.
Businesses that have a product that can deliver on their promises, and make a real difference at the wellhead as well as in the boardroom are rare. I’m proud to work for one of them.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
At the moment I’m working with a number of existing clients in Canada, helping them to deliver improved results and demonstrate the additional, digital value of our technology beyond traditional metering. This involves working with the team at the wellhead to show them how our meters work, as well as spending time back at HQ helping them to realize the full value of their data.
Due largely to refining and transport costs, a huge discount – at times more than $50 – has recently opened up between WTI and Western Canadian Select (WCS), and over the next few months I’ll be working on a number of projects with prospective clients who have recognised that they’ll need new, low capex and opex ways of measuring and optimizing their production if they’re to remain competitive.
What are some of the specific challenges that M-Flow is helping operators in Canada to overcome?
In Canada, access to production sites is frequently restricted by extreme weather, regulatory restrictions, and issues around road access. In addition, the harsh climate often requires operators to spend huge amounts of money on infrastructure to protect their equipment. Therefore, getting the right data delivered digitally back to the office, and being able to recalibrate your meter remotely if operating conditions change, is particularly advantageous as it eliminates or significantly reduces the number of staff in the field and trucks on the road. This in turn results in greatly reduced opex and HSE costs, helping producers to improve their breakeven price and full cycle costs.
What are the benefits of having greater access to data and data analytics at the wellhead?
Better data and data analytics are fundamentally linked to the long-term prosperity of the Canadian oil and gas industry. Consistent, reliable and accurate access to the right data delivers confidence at the wellhead, and enables producers to better understand and manage production and overall recovery rates, improving them by up to 10%.
What skills do you think will be the most important for the oil and gas leaders of the future?
The industry would undoubtedly benefit from CEOs that are more curious about how they can innovate and improve their operational performance. When times are good, people tend to stick to the status quo; when times are tough, they pull up the drawbridge and fall back on inefficient, old-fashioned methods.
The industry needs workers who are not only tech savvy, but who can join the dots and use the tools at their disposal to generate 2x or 3x performance. Cloud computing, big data and the internet of things are all going to have a big role to play in the long-term prosperity of the industry, and we need to be ready to adopt these if we want to thrive rather than just survive.
What would you be doing if you weren’t working in the oil and gas industry?
Before I went to university I was really close to moving to the mountains and becoming a skiing instructor.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m an avid traveller; my brother lives in Geneva, so I try to get out to visit him as often as I can. Europe is one of my favourite places to explore.
I also love to get out into the mountains and spend time with my wife and son; be that skiing or mountain biking.
And, finally, what’s the best way to reach you?
Whether you’re looking to improve your metering, get insider tips on where to find Canada’s best powder, or just want to remind me how badly the Edmonton Oilers are playing this year, the easiest way to reach me is by calling (403) 829-3261.
On the off chance that you can’t get through, I’m probably out in the field with a client. Leave me a voicemail or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll reply as soon as I find signal!