As the owner and founder of ST9 Gas + Oil, Chris Buckley has been on the front lines in the fight for greater efficiency and increased run-time for upstream production. Mr. Buckley recently sat with MPT to break down how ST9 builds its relationships with clients from the ground up. For more information, visit www.st9go.com.
MPT: Earlier this year, ST9 Gas + Oil unveiled its new XGen Seat + Valve for frac and well service pumps. How has the product been received and where do you see its benefits being needed most?
Chris Buckley: The XGen Seat + Valve has been a huge success. Customers are experiencing the revolution with increased stage count and less maintenance time, all of which equates to less non-production time. Whether you are operating in simple, stable conditions or the extreme places such Duvernay or Haynesville, we always deliver superior results.
The operators love our product, as its stable, repeatable, and reliable. The collaboration from our product support team has also been greatly received. We don’t just sell and walk away; we are there to train, educate, and get the most out of the customers’ assets. And, of course, the corporate sides of the businesses see the most immediate effect—increased bottom line.
MPT: For a consumer on the fence, how does the XGen Seat + Valve offer a return on investment?
Chris Buckley: We have a 100 percent conversion rate on customers switching to our products after their first field trial. We have proved to outperform best-in-class competitors, and haven’t lost one pump off against every major brand. The simple answer is, try it. We are so confident that we will provide trial products free-of-charge. By collaborating with ST9 on the XGen Seat + Valve, customers can expect an increase of around 33 percent for life and 36 percent for cost, which can equate to one million dollars in savings per 100K HHP.
MPT: The gas and oil industry often has a reputation of resisting innovation, but where do you see opportunities for ST9 Gas + Oil to make improvements in this market?
Chris Buckley: “We’ve always done it that way,” or “People don’t get fired if they picked the big names as vendors,” you used to hear that a lot, but the oil patch is changing. There’s a reason why OPEC can’t keep frac’ing down. These guys are out there making money at $45 to $55 oil. Sure, everyone would like to see it higher, but the industry is continually evolving.
Technology, true collaboration, and value are what ST9 brings to the table. Our first products are already proving that, and the best is still to come with eight patents already submitted. The XGen Seat + Valve is already the market leader in performance and value, and ST9 has the next generation in prototyping with select customers field trialing in the new year. If our competition catches up to the XGen, ST9 will already be out-pacing them.
MPT: How important are research and field-testing in developing your products? What do you hear from your clients that the market needs now and going forward?
Chris Buckley: There have traditionally been two schools of thought to developing products.
Major companies followed the phase-gate process that was adopted from the automotive sector to introduce product: minimum risk + collaborative approach = everybody’s happy. Well, they still get it wrong, and by the time they get to market, the target requirements could have changed!
ST9 is different, as we are very agile in our product development. We must be, as we employ people with diversity of thought and from different industry sectors to support this approach.