Q&A with Samuel Oliver on the Water Midstream Industry
Samuel Oliver is a founder and the Chief Commercial Officer at Blackbuck Resources. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Distribution from Texas A&M University and has a decade of experience in the oil and gas industry. Prior to founding Blackbuck, Samuel worked with and led teams at Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) and Southwestern Energy across multiple disciplines including, water management, well construction & operational planning, supply chain, and business development. In his current role at Blackbuck, Sam leads out corporate development efforts overseeing the sourcing, planning, and development of greenfield projects and M&A.
1. As a subject matter expert in the water midstream Industry, what are the business drivers surfacing in this space?
Answer: Oil and gas operators exploiting unconventional resource plays will continue to see increases in gross water production, especially as development shifts into lower tier development formations. Recycling and water reuse will continue to increase as operators continue to move into manufacturing mode. This will result in massive production peak volumes as operators contemplate multi-well pads, and optimization of well placement and reservoir drainage. Most oil and gas operators will struggle to reuse even portions of their produced water, and long term the need for water disposal or market alternatives will be a very real challenge.
Subsequently, there exists a dire need for our industry to build out the infrastructure to support the oncoming “tsunami” of water production supporting all aspects of gathering, reuse, and disposal. Given the high level of capital intensity, complexity of operations, and logistical constraints, water midstream players will need to continue investing in and developing long term solutions supporting oil and gas operations.
2. How do you foresee the integration of your operations with those of your customers?
Answer: Integration with our customers occurs in various formats. In our core development areas, we focus on being the primary outlet for water management with our customers by providing a total water management solution. In such cases we work as partners with our customer base. They rely on our systems to sustain their own production. We also provide outlets to customers on an interruptible basis, in essence giving our customers flexible redundant capacity ensuring operational uptime of their production base.
The key to success is building solutions that align with customer goals and objectives, ultimately building trust with our customers. Each customer we work with is different with different needs, and we must be flexible and nimble to provide solutions that work to support our own long term growth plans.
3. What are the challenges and opportunities of developing a pipeline interconnectivity?
On our side of the equation we target developing large diameter trunk line infrastructure that can easily interconnect with customer systems or connect directly to gathering batteries. Challenges arise as customers will naturally prioritize their own systems or infrastructure where possible, and we need to work with customers to create flexible off-take solutions that enable our organization to achieve healthy returns and sustainable cash flows.
Within our industry I think we’re already beginning to see some interconnectivity between water midstream companies. I think as the industry continues to grow and mature we’ll see competitors in the industry connect systems. Doing so creates additional redundancy to protect the broader customer base we all support. It will also allow for more seamless assets swaps and trading within our industry.
4. In terms of developing a winning team, how do you help promote diversity and inclusion within your organization?
We focus on 3 core actions to build a winning vision and organization:
- Be thoughtful and hire the best talent for the role.
- Build a culture that promotes positivity, encourages accountability and ownership, and focuses on winning.
- Provide avenues of growth for our employees, and enable our organization to be quick to action.
Takeaway #1: The need for water disposal or market alternatives will be increasingly challenging as oil and gas operators will struggle to reuse even portions of their produced water.
Takeaway #2: There is a dire need to build the infrastructure that will support the oncoming “tsunami” of water production supporting all aspects of gathering, reuse, and disposal.
Takeaway #3: As the water midstream industry grows and matures, there will be more interconnectivity among competitors, allowing for more seamless asset swaps and trading.
Michelle Dutemple, MBA, is a Senior Consultant specializing in engineer staffing for Midstream Operators and Private Equity firms. She also volunteers as board member at RedM against human trafficking and as creative admin at Hope City. Michelle can be reached at (832) 900-5973 or via email at [email protected].