Maximizing Project Potential

NL Fisher
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

NL Fisher is an industry leading provider of well construction, engineering, and supervision services for the oil and gas industry. Established in 1982 by Norm Fisher, the company is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has grown to employ over 50 personnel who continually strive to provide optimized solutions for their clients in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB).
The company continues to grow, achieving success through a commitment to safety, efficiency, and accuracy. Through increased accountability, development of proprietary well construction systems, enhanced offset analysis techniques, risk-based approaches to technology implementation, and maintaining strong reporting systems and accountability, NL Fisher has proven its strengths while demonstrating performance in the basins it serves.

Brent Kusch, Team Lead Business Development, explains that, “NL Fisher prides itself on offering cradle-to-grave upstream engineering services. We are highly experienced in providing top quality deliverables through to all aspects of the life of an upstream project, from conception, planning and economic evaluation, to regulatory approval, well construction engineering, completions, facility and pipeline optimization, production, and reservoir and reserves evaluations.”

NL Fisher has a unique approach to project lifecycles, a key component of the company’s deliverables – known as “Do-Measure-Improve.” Starting with a high-level overview that helps identify potential opportunities for improvement from the beginning, this approach helps to reinforce the company’s core competencies of safety, efficiency and accuracy.

The company continuously reviews and employs new and emerging technologies, helping the team achieve the most cost-effective and accurate solutions. By identifying threats and uncertainties, NL Fisher develops a work plan, analyzing data throughout the lifecycle of the project to ensure that the team meets project demands, schedules, budgets, and timelines in accordance with best industry practices.

Speaking to the company’s “Do-Measure-Improve” project cycle, President Mike Cameron explains that NL Fisher “performs jobs, measures how we did and takes that experience and recycles it back into our well design practices to achieve best in industry results.” Acknowledging that the industry does not have a standardized set of metrics to measure the success of projects, NL Fisher has established its own.

NL Fisher has innovatively designed key performance metrics for its projects, building a scorecard for project execution to compare how the team did to the industry metric. By compiling data over time, the company has been able to identify its performance strengths, as well as trends, to avoid past failures. These metrics are then reviewed by clients, demonstrating the company’s performance and outputs.

While compiling scores of data, NL Fisher’s “Datamart” is a proprietary well construction review and assessment database system which enables measurement of performance metrics in order to support the continual improvement cycle. The company’s Datamart system is a well construction forecasting software, using the historical database to effectively turn data into key performance information to allow NL Fisher’s engineers to quickly and effectively make critical decisions for successful well design. It is the product of months of working with software writers and a lot of time spent with the President of NL Fisher and a number of engineers to establish the software system.

Using the information from the databases, the company has identified the key performance metrics to create a visual map providing key information to every level of NL Fisher’s operations. From sales and marketing to the engineering team, the system excels in indentifying opportunities as well as comparisons against the industry through a number of capacities. Not only does this proprietary software afford NL Fisher the opportunity to exceed clients’ expectations, it enables the team to identify and prevent failures, improving well construction practices in the process and upholding the company’s values of safety, efficiency and accuracy, as well as directly reporting on projects to increase overall accountability.

Cameron started as an engineer with the company and has since climbed the ranks. He feels that this proprietary technology is a game changer for the company. “With the background that I have, the graphic interface of being able to see what we’ve done on a map that is dynamic is just amazing!” he explains. It has also been well received by the industry.

“To get high quality info in a timely fashion without having to go to the engineer and say ‘Can you build me a map?’ or ‘Can you plot all these points because I want to be able to identify a potential opportunity with a new client?’” according to Cameron, allows the team to use filters to instantly attain information that would have otherwise taken hundreds of hours to manually develop.

The company plans to continue investing in its proprietary technology, using this key asset as a means to prove its skills and abilities on the ground as it works to gain market share. By investing in this proprietary software and associated infrastructure, NL Fisher has ensured consistency across its operations and is poised to deliver results, maximizing stakeholder value in the process.

Understanding that people are the key to the company’s success, NL Fisher has emphasized the importance of open and honest communication to ensure that the expectations of both employees and clients are upheld. As this is high hazard work, ensuring safety is paramount.

NL Fisher has also developed a Competency Based Pay structure, linking pay to performance and safety. Acknowledging that this goes against the industry trend, Kusch explains that the Competency Based Pay has helped the company to retain supervisors who consistently perform, helping to maintain the company’s top grade performance and accountability.

Providing further explanation, Kusch notes that, “This investment comes both in our proprietary information technology systems and our working environment. With these priorities, we have created a challenging and rewarding environment to attract and retain the best personnel in the industry.”

Always looking to expand its capacities in the basins it serves, the NL Fisher team is expanding work internationally. The company has established itself in Kurdistan, where there are many similar opportunities to what the WCSB presented several decades ago. Using its proprietary technology to capitalize on opportunities, NL Fisher can greatly benefit from investing in this region. By opening an office in Iraq, NL Fisher hopes to take advantage of this area’s available resources, establishing a number of partnerships and seeking out contracts while overcoming the significant technical and stakeholder challenges posed.

Moving forward, the company will continue to offer a balanced portfolio of drilling, completions and facilities engineering while maintaining a focus on cost controls and continuing to invest in proprietary technologies.

“NL Fisher evaluates business and market share weekly and we have sales meetings and operational meetings every week that let us understand where we’re at and what we’re doing in the market compared to other businesses and competitors,” Kusch shares.

Always upholding its core competencies of safety, efficiency, and accuracy, NL Fisher plans to ensure smart, scalable growth to sustain its business practices and exceptional outputs, taking full advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Cameron believes, “That will allow us to remain current, fresh, and it will allow us to deliver results and stay ahead of our competition.”



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