Outstanding Technology Innovators Series

Interview with Mike Party, Hess. Outstanding Technology Innovators Series.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Many companies are taking a pro-active stance toward new technology and have assembled teams to scout and implement new techniques and technologies in their operations. Please meet Mike Party, part of the Emerging Technology Team at Hess. Mike speaks to us today about the quest for the breakthrough technologies. Mike will be presenting at AAPG's Success with Difficult Unconventionals, Nov 12-13, in Houston.

Mike Party
Mike Party

What is your name? What is and your background?

My name is Mike Party, not to be confused with AAPG President Mike Party - that’s my dad. I originally fought my oil and gas roots (my dad is a geologist and my grandfather was a petroleum engineer) and went to school for Math and Computer Science. After graduating from Southwestern University, I decided to enroll at Texas Tech University’s Petroleum Engineering program. I went on to intern with Hess Corporation in Minot, North Dakota my senior year and ultimately signed on with Hess fulltime after graduation. Most of my experience at Hess has been in the Bakken Drilling team, however, I recently took a role in our emerging technology team where I help coordinate efforts with our external partners in the search for the next breakthrough technologies!

What do you consider to be a key challenge in today's oil and gas exploration and operations?

One key challenge I see many companies face is the need to adopt new technologies more quickly than in the past while balancing short term objectives such as quarterly production targets. To keep investors happy, exploration and production companies must be at the forefront of promising technological developments and constantly deliver improving performance on the base business. This is no easy task! In my new role, I’ve been able to build relationships with people from many different industries. I’ve learned this is not just a problem oil and gas companies face, but one that many industries struggle to balance. At Hess, we refer to the delivery of wells in our unconventional asset the “Well Factory,” and I’ve learned that many of our challenges are shared with just about any other kind of factory out there.

Which technologies are addressing the issues?

It’s not necessarily a technology, but a methodology and the company’s culture must be conducive. The amount of new technologies being introduced to our company from our core service providers, startups, you name it, can be overwhelming. It takes a disciplined approach to be able to filter through and identify which offerings are most likely to add value for the enterprise. Often, we need to get input from subject matter experts and team members embedded in our various assets to truly assess the potential value. Our emerging technology team must be credible to work effectively with our other colleagues. We must be conscious of the time commitment they provide in exploratory meetings, so it’s critical that we understand their business objectives and needs.

Have you done anything personally to adopt or develop technologies? What did you do? What was your goal? What were the results?

During my time in our Bakken Drilling team, I worked on several projects around drilling analytics and automation. Many are examples of Lean engineering and innovation overlapping, where we use the foundation of standard processes to help drive insights for improvement. One thing I’ve noticed lately is that it can be very easy for an engineer to fall into the trap of listing all the reasons why something new won’t work. In my current role, it’s much more important to focus on what now becomes possible if the technology works and what I can do to make it a reality.

What do you have planned for the future?

I’m excited to see how big of an impact our team can make for our company. We’re a small group of passionate and motivated people with a leader in our Chief Technology Officer, Rob Fast, who shares that passion and has really empowered us to push the limits! We have some big goals for improved well production and field automation that, while out in the future, will transform the company if we’re successful. Not to mention, it’s going to be a lot of fun to work on them as we head there!

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