Energy & Environment

How One Company Claims To Increase Oil And Gas Production Without Fracking

The big companies in Houston involved in drilling for oil are making deep cuts in their workforces as the price of crude has plummeted. But one little company is hiring.

drilling rig in DeWitt County
Drilling rig in DeWitt County by Dave Fehling


With oil at less than $50 a barrel, surviving in the drilling business means cutting costs. Firing workers is one way to do it. Another is using technology to lower your expenses.

“Our business has been accelerating over the last year,” said John Pope, chief executive of Wyoming-based WellDog. The company uses high-tech pressure sensors and laser beams to sniff-out the oil and gas that may or may not be hiding in underground rock formations.

“We’ve opened an office in Denver and we’re looking to open an office in Houston,” Pope told News 88.7.

WellDog is also working with Shell at its big research facility in West Houston. In an email, Shell said it’s field-testing WellDog’s laser technology in hopes it will help them find oil and gas more affordably.

James Walker, WellDog’s chief operating officer, said their technology can increase the odds of companies finding “sweet spots” of oil and gas deposits.

“They need to do their homework and get more data, so they can make real, real good decisions about where they spend their money and get a good bang for their buck,” Walker said.

The WellDog executives told us their sensors helped one company in Texas decide it didn’t need to use the expensive technique called fracking to bring up oil and gas from a well, saving the company $300,000.

That’s real money in an industry suddenly facing tighter times. The technology might also lead to reduction overall in the use of hydraulic fracturing.



Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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