Oil & Gas
Customer Story

How Bruin E&P is Digitally Transforming Asset Management & Site Planning

November 12, 2020

As an exploration and production company with assets in North Dakota, Bruin E&P Operating, LLC, first began performing geophysical, geological, and other oil & gas exploration services in 2017. Whether acquiring new properties or developing shale plays, Bruin is at the forefront of hydrocarbon recovery.

But while Bruin is a leader in this space, they’ve encountered consistent challenges documenting asset lifecycles. Assets and equipment swap hands frequently, and updates or changes were rarely well-documented, leaving a confusing, or completely absent, paper trail. Without a standardized process, Bruin needed to spend time correcting these inconsistencies and documenting site conditions from the ground. Additionally, workers navigated between multiple data centers, physical documents, and software to get what they needed.

Realizing the need for a fast, automated solution to get up to date site conditions, Bruin began using DroneDeploy in April of 2018.

Standardizing Asset Documentation with Esri

Bruin quickly went to work, creating a streamlined, standardized workflow. As Erik Baros, CIO at Bruin, explained, “infrastructure data in this line of work is incredibly scattered and inconsistent, making it nearly impossible to determine how well pads have aged – even for the employees and contractors that work on them every day. Understandably, this is frustrating and hazardous to workers and management.”

To begin creating a documentation hub, workers imported their current (including in-ground and proposed) well pad information, internal GIS data, and all infrastructure records into Esri. Feeding DroneDeploy aerial maps, which displayed an up to date snapshot of site conditions into selected GIS web mapping applications, completed this process. Data is now completely digital, showing accurate equipment locations, site boundaries, and each of the different types and locations of valves, water lines, and tank batteries.

Every asset we have has a digital footprint now, which would’ve never been possible with our old process.

Erik Baros picture

Erik Baros, CIO, Bruin E&P Partners, LLC

Planning New Sites and Well Pads

Well pad documentation is essential for this business, and capturing accurate maps is a part of this process. DroneDeploy makes this easier by allowing workers to import GIS web layers as overlays with DroneDeploy maps. Bruin uses existing well pad outlines within DroneDeploy to plan where new sites should go and appropriately plan flights to capture data for those new sites.

In preparing for new well pads, aerial imagery provides a spatial awareness level unattainable by manual surveys. Workers can look at existing wellbore surveys, add new locations, and model additional facilities at the same time. Regulatory and environmental teams can also verify compliance this way – a huge time saver compared to their previous process, which included searching for landmarks to pinpoint accuracy and attempting to transpose their geometry.

Tracking Tank Inventory and Location

On average, each of Bruin’s well pads has at least 4-5 tanks, with over 2,500 in their fields. Based on those numbers, there are an estimated 60,000+ tanks in North Dakota, and over 1 million in Texas. A critical aspect of Bruin’s reliance on DroneDeploy has been using the tool in conjunction with its operational software. They simplify tracking total tank inventory and part location by linking the spatial component of tank parts to the already-provided serial numbers.

In an exciting new move, Bruin has scheduled hundreds of new well pad flights in the next year, using machine-learning to autodetect QR codes on tanks and automatically catalog each tank to its corresponding components. This is a long way from where they started just five years ago.

By automating this, Erik estimates his company saved hundreds, if not thousands of hours. “In this industry,” Erik explains, “if you can’t automate, you’ll have a tough time keeping up.”

If you’re interested in learning more about drone software in the oil & gas industry, read some of our customer success stories, or watch our webinar on getting started with drones in oil & gas.

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