Kendall Zakariassen

Manager, Customer Success Team, Moblize

Kendall Zakariassen began his career in the United States Marine Corps. and after four years of service, was honorably discharged as a sergeant from a role on an anti-terrorism security team. Zakariassen, who attended the University of Oklahoma to pursue an operations management and supervision degree, entered the oil and gas industry in 2008 as an MWD hand and later moved into directional drilling and well planning.

Leadership: Zakariassen was working as a real-time drilling operations coordinator in 2015 when he made the move to Chesapeake Energy to help create the company’s first Real Time Operation Support Center. As the manager for technical development within the support center, he led a team to develop tools to improve drilling operations. The technology that emerged targeted specific parameters in real time to identify deviations used in pattern recognition. Experienced drilling teams could monitor these data remotely and react to changes identified by complex, multichannel algorithms to refine operations.

Zakariassen also led an initiative to capture real-time data – including telemetry sensor data – for multiple functions such as geology, drilling, completions and production. This program, which included both structured and unstructured data sources, resulted in new standard operating procedures for data-handling by each business unit within the company.

Accomplishments: Zakariassen joined Moblize in 2017, becoming part of a team that is delivering operational efficiencies by using data to help construct wells in less time. Along with colleagues John Gibson, Risha Patel and Anish Vikram, he is applying data science to transform onshore drilling and production operations.

Drawing parallels from consumer technologies like Uber, Amazon and Facebook, the Moblize team used billions of data points in 18 geological plays to create innovative new workflows and processes to make E&P do more with less. Changing workflows and processes requires changing behavior. This is no small achievement, but Zakariassen and his team have illustrated that altering a process can eliminate the tunnel vision and associated limitations that are inherent to traditional approaches. 

One example is an improvement to the Approval for Expenditure (AFE) process. Before the introduction of the new approach, engineers had to download data from multiple offset wells, import these data into Excel, manipulate the data to create an AFE, and add buffers to it (based on qualitative thinking) before the form could be submitted for approval. This cumbersome process often took more than an hour. The improved process allows the engineer to select offsets so machine learning software algorithms can generate the AFE in less than two minutes – and adjusting and recalculating an item takes seconds.

Similar streamlining was applied to planning/daily operations, post-well analysis reporting. Now machines guide daily reporting, simplifying previously cumbersome workflows and allowing a single engineer to manage two or three rigs. With more accurate data in hand, the engineer can make smart decisions on more assets without underestimating risks or overlooking opportunities. 

Zakariassen and his team have not simply developed new technology, they have introduced meaningful innovations that are being used by more than 60 US land operators. In less than three years, they have created a way for operators to apply new processes to achieve unprecedented operational efficiencies. 

Impact: “Data are transformational when they are properly collected, managed and mined,” Zakariassen says. “Helping the oil and gas industry uncover this value is what motivates the Moblize team. It is gratifying to be part of a group that puts game-changing solutions in the hands of operators and to see firsthand how our innovative technology is improving operations.”

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