Baker Hughes updates its brand at its OKC Energy Innovation Center
Baker Hughes is an energy technology company that aims to stay squarely involved in the evolving industry.
And the company is repositioning itself after GE’s departure as its majority owner.
This month, the Baker Hughes Energy Innovation Center in Oklahoma City is putting new logos reflecting that change on the outside of its building.
It also is promoting its ongoing efforts to remain a valuable energy industry partner by highlighting the success of Avitas Systems, one of a half-dozen tech-based joint venture startups it is developing.
Taylor Shinn, a vice president of ventures and growth and director of the innovation center, said Avitas Systems was originally created as a GE venture and was fully transitioned into Baker Hughes about a year ago.
The company, which employs about 50 people in four cities across the U.S. and a couple of others overseas, offers energy industry clients advanced inspection and engineering services that include robotics, predictive data analytics and artificial intelligence.
On the front end, the company uses drone technology combined with imaging, infra-red and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data gathering systems to inventory and analyze energy-related assets down to pixel-level scope of detail.
A single drone-equipped crew, for example, can overfly and analyze dozens upon dozens of sites in a day, compared to the several days to a week or more it might take an oil and gas operator using a dozen employees to do the same work.
Shinn observed that saves time for companies operating across large geographical areas in the Permian or Denver-Julesburg basins, for example.
He added that while Sooner State fields may not be as large, many are filled with hundreds of legacy wells overseen by just a handful of people.
“Using this technology, those companies can hold their headcounts flat and have higher-quality inspections,” Shinn said. “It is a transformative way for operators to get into a low cost quartile, using a very high-tech process that brings in some notable solutions.”
Avitas Systems, he explained, delivers its real value through its artificial intelligence-powered software that provides clients with a cloud-based platform that fuses, analyzes and stores comprehensive inspection and asset data combined with risk-based findings and recommendations to correct any issues the cameras find.
Over time, the system is designed to improve those recommendations as it learns more about the assets as additional data is gathered and assimilated.
“What really differentiates us is the back-end analytics that we have,” said Jason Roe, Avitas Systems’ CEO.
The software, he explained, creates 3-D models of assets, complete with a dashboard of data for clients that’s accessible by both managers and fieldworkers on a real-time basis.
Its drones are capable of analyzing methane emissions, identifying spills, measuring tank and separator levels and identifying hot spots on equipment that are precursors to system failures.
“It shows a client where it needs to spend its time,” Roe said. “That way, its people can focus on fixing problems, rather than finding them. It is a smarter way to work.”
The company has developed software that also provides valuable mapping services to grid operators, showing where vegetative intrusion is an issue or where hot spots are indicative of transmission issues.
Shinn and Roe weren’t just highlighting Avitas Systems’ successes as part of their discussion.
They also were promoting the unique structure Baker Hughes promotes through its innovation centers.
Baker Hughes, Shinn noted, began separating from GE in November 2018.
In September, that process reached an important milestone when GE reduced its ownership in Baker Hughes below 50%.
And Baker Hughes’ Innovation Centers are growing as they continue to work on joint venture projects with companies aiming to use disruptive technology to improve the energy industry, moving forward.
“There is a lot of technology related to oil and gas such as Avitas Systems that is growing and will really help transform the way our customers operate,” Shinn said.
“We benefit a lot from being part of Baker Hughes,” agreed Roe. “Baker Hughes as an organization has a phenomenal amount of technology resources and technology leadership within it.
“I like to remind our employees we have the best of both worlds,” Roe continued.
“We leverage Baker Hughes infrastructure and processes, but at the same time, we get a little breathing room to run it just like you would an entrepreneurial business.
“That allows us to think on our feet and be nimble without having to get bogged down with processes. The blend is very, very unique.”