3-Point Blueprint to Immediately Boost Operator Cash Flow: Part 1

If you are a C-Suite, Division VP, or field leader, you have the opportunity right now to take simple steps toward immediately impacting your cash flow by bridging the gap that exists between executives and field staff.  Lease Operators and Pumpers are often ignored by senior leadership, yet they have a wealth of ideas for improving production and cash flow for the organization.  By engaging with field staff and building trust, this small effort will pay huge dividends.

I recently started this blog series to explore three impactful strategies your team can implement today to drop more revenue to the bottom line.  In the last post, I provided my 30-year back story and experiences building intelligent production operations.  The fundamental strategies that will enable your team to reap the rewards of intelligent operations begins with getting out in the field and starting a conversation with field staff, the topic for today.  Other topics will include investing in your field production teams and leveraging your production and non-op data to boost cash flow.

Go Visit, Talk With, and Listen to Your Field Production Teams

It’s ironic that after spending millions to drill and complete a well with much fanfare, operators often unceremoniously hand over the daily upkeep of a new well to field staff who are charged with maintaining it for its entire lifespan.  And while drilling & completion teams are often rewarded with parties, steak dinners, and celebrations when they reach certain targeted goals, production teams are often inadvertently ignored.

Don’t wait! Immediately set up a time to go visit each of your field production teams, both group sessions and a few one-on-one meetings will prove to be immensely helpful in the effort to increase your cash flow.  And don’t rush it.   Give yourself plenty of time for these visits, as it could be the biggest impact you have on increasing base production all year.

For mission-critical field staff who have been unintentionally marginalized, it is important to create a dialogue, not a monologue or pep talk.  Ask meaningful questions, then be sure to listen. Hear what they have to say and encourage them to open up and share their ideas around improving well performance and reducing downtime.  In all my years of field visits, I’ve never met a person who didn’t teach me something valuable when I sat and listened, whether in their truck or over breakfast or lunch.  And even more importantly, I’ve never met anyone in the field that didn’t have a really good plan for increasing the base production of their wells in multiple ways.  They just needed help with a few roadblocks, a budget, or just encouragement to help get those plans into motion.

Go out of your way to show more attention with these critical members of your team who probably feel ignored, including lease operators, pumpers, and automation/measurement techs.  This is a great chance to mend the fence and show them how much you appreciate and trust their experience with an in-person visit.  Put on your FRC Jeans, steel toe boots and hardhat.  Provide an opportunity to eat, sit, ride with, and listen to these workhorses who quietly do their job every day.  And don’t ignore your field contractors.  Long-time contractors working on your wells can often give great advice on industry best practices based on their long experience.

Acknowledge Fractured Leadership

Be transparent when talking to production teams.  While drilling & completion departments often have one VP or senior leader over the entire division, production often suffers from “fractured leadership”.  It can include production field leadership, divisional or business unit leadership, engineering leadership, reservoir leadership, and sometimes other teams with a vested interest in impacting field production.  This often produces mixed messages to field production personnel, leading to wasted efforts, projects and time.

By getting out in the field and listening to your field staff as well as acknowledging fractured production operations leadership, your organization is taking the first steps toward forming a clearly aligned and unified plan to enhance base production.  In addition, you are also opening up a clear channel for incorporating valuable field-level insights that can provide an immediate payoff for production optimization and increased cash flow from the start.

Kevin Decker, President PEAKE, LLC. Kevin Decker has nearly 30 years of experience with independent E&Ps, building and leading teams in the space where finance, field technology, and operations services converge. His extensive experience includes optimizing field production processes, developing best-in-class M&A integration processes with 135 acquisitions in 10 years, and optimizing drilling efficiency and base production by applying data science and analytics to operations support center challenges. Kevin is President of Peake, LLC, an energy, technology, and management consulting firm. He spent the bulk of his career at Chesapeake Energy where he held various senior management positions, including Director of Intelligent Production Operations, Director of Integrated Field Operations, and Director of Operations Data Services. Kevin earned a B.S. in Accounting from Oklahoma State University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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