Ever had an idea so good, you wished there was a venue like the TV show “Shark Tank” to pitch it?

At Devon, there is.

Devon employees submitted 60 projects in advance of the 2017 Innovate Challenge, an event designed to spawn the next great idea to revolutionize the oil and natural gas industry.

Nine finalist teams explained their ideas to a panel consisting of four senior leaders, who peppered them with questions such as, “Is any other company doing this?” and “What would it cost to test it?”

The finalist projects aimed to solve common industry dilemmas, such as:

  • Capturing a higher percentage of the existing oil from a reservoir
  • Collecting residual oil from saltwater disposal tanks
  • Increasing pressure – and therefore, increasing production – from older target reservoirs
  • Reducing saltwater disposal expenses
  • Reducing electrical costs to operate a well pad
  • Improving rock analysis
  • Extending the life and value of a type of artificial lift called a rod pump

Some project ideas combine or enhance technologies currently used within the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, while others involve adapting recent technological breakthroughs from unrelated industries. Most rely heavily on Devon’s peer-leading use of advanced data and analytics.

The judges picked winners in each of three categories, and then the audience – composed of Devon employees – chose the overall winner.

Members of all nine finalist teams received a cash award. Devon is exploring the possibility of seeking a patent for some of the ideas.

Chief Operating Officer Tony Vaughn told contestants that innovation represents Devon’s foundation. “Events like this help us nurture and ultimately harvest the next great idea,” Vaughn said.

Published: November 2017