As a petroleum engineering consultant at Bruin E&P Operating LLC, Abhishek Gaurav focuses on finding the true potential of a company’s assets for horizontal well development. As a part of the Bruin’s strategy team, he evaluates the Williston Basin.

Gaurav is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and has written several industry papers for the organization. He was also a part of the Independent Petroleum Association of America’s emerging leaders program in 2017.

Born and raised in India, Abhishek Gaurav graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology with a degree in mechanical and industrial engineering. The oil and gas industry quickly caught his interest while working on a few petroleum-focused projects in India.

After graduation, Gaurav attended the University of Texas in Austin on a full scholarship and earned a master’s degree in petroleum engineering. There he held positions as a teaching assistant and a shale completions researcher.

In 2011, Gaurav joined CGG as a geoscientist in the reservoir characterization and development division. He later joined Houston-based Micro Seismic Inc. as a petroleum engineer in 2013.

In 2015, Gaurav joined Texas Standard Oil Operating Co. as a petroleum engineer and led the shale asset evaluation efforts focused on the Midland and Delaware basins.

In his spare time, Gaurav likes to stay focused on his personal goals and practice yoga.

Investor What are your day-by-day responsibilities as an engineer?

Gaurav My main objective at Bruin is to demonstrate the true economic potential of existing targets and upside potential of overlooked benches or overlooked parts of Bruin’s acreage, including acreage recently acquired by Bruin from Halcόn (Resources Corp.) in the Williston Basin.

Investor What do you enjoy about your role as petroleum engineering consultant?

Gaurav I enjoy combining big data analytics and machine learning with petroleum science and engineering. Since these terms have become buzzwords in our industry, big data and machine learning skills are professionally advantageous. In practical application, applying these analytical techniques have enabled me to demonstrate the relationships between several well parameters and their performance. Understanding these relationships makes shale asset evaluation easier and much more comprehensive. The methodology I use helps me get closer to the answer faster and prove the credibility of the findings. In my opinion, the whole process is very creative. There is no precedent for how I ought to do things in this space. I get to create optimized solutions and solve problems of very different nature on a daily basis by using the power of huge datasets and applying petroleum science concepts.

Investor What are some of the ways in which big data is changing the industry?

Gaurav In shale play development, because of the huge number of wells, many data points are generated every day. If one is well equipped with big data techniques and petroleum science knowledge, a petroleum engineer can frame the problem in a way where insights obtained from big data can be a huge help. For example, say you want to quantify the EUR per well of an asset with several horizontal shale wells. If you apply data mining and data science techniques, it doesn’t take too long to identify the controllable well parameters that correlate with better well results.

Another application of big data can be found in identifying which wells could be good restimulation candidates.

A third could be utilizing the log data generated during drilling and evaluating if the type of rock bears any relationship with better well results. Imagine this type of log data being generated for each horizontal well in every basin. Being able to use it efficiently can be very powerful.

Investor What is Bruin doing in the Williston Basin today?

Gaurav Bruin’s current focus is developing the company’s acreage in the most optimum manner. One of my ongoing efforts at Bruin is to extract learnings from historic horizontal wells, studying exactly which methodologies and well parameters led to better results. These findings can be implemented on new wells being drilled and completed.

Investor What are a few interesting findings that you’ve done from your research?

Gaurav One of the most important findings is that geologic features can change dramatically within a few feet depth-wise and within few thousands of feet along the long horizontal wellbore. Once again, data generated during drilling integrated with conventional geological information can answer questions around the best rock to target.

Another interesting finding would be the effect of short stages and tighter wellbore spacing on well performance and volumes of associated gas produced.

Although, it is somewhat cliché, I’ll say it anyway—more proppant in good rock has statistically demonstrated improved well performance.

Investor Who are your mentors?

Gaurav On the top of the list would be Matt Steele, CEO of Bruin. He’s been a great friend and a great guide. He himself started his first E&P company at the age of 28 and navigates us through unknown territories. Also, I was lucky enough to have left a good impression on a number of investors at different private-equity groups during my stint with my previous team. I reach out to them for advice every now and then. They’re kind enough to guide me through my journey.

In a broader spectrum, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are huge inspirations. Their tireless drive and passion motivates me to do my very best. I have probably watched Steve Jobs’ Stanford University commencement speech in 2005 about 100 times.