Technology & Social Progress with Western Canada’s Enmapp
The enthusiasm is palpable in Lance Fugate’s voice as he talks about his company, Enmapp. Fugate is a seasoned oil and gas professional, having spent his entire career excelling in a variety of industry roles, such as field services, pipeline inspector, and founder of an engineering company. It was from that position five years ago where Enmapp was born. Fugate’s focus transitioned to technologies designed to complement quality assurance and produce better information around pipelines and pipeline construction processes and performance.
Enmapp, his field data collection company, allows Fugate to apply his experience with pipelines and emerge as an industry leader using mobile technology and high-accuracy GPS to better manage pipeline construction and maintenance. Fugate is a smart man. He knew that in order to continue exceeding the rapidly shifting expectations of the oil and gas industry he had to be reactive to the challenging circumstances. “I knew we had to match our services to industry changes and the changing needs of our customers—all while maintaining a keen eye on technology,” Fugate explains of the birth of Enmapp, “because technology is the driver for performance improvements with the quality of construction of pipelines.”
Canada is the global leader in pipeline technology development. Fugate is someone who has achieved innovative directions within this field. The vision he has with Enmapp is to chart a new standard within the industry. “There is not a whole lot of capital available right now,” he explains. “It’s the politics of energy: dollars have gone to the US because Canada’s been closed for business for five years. What we’re trying to do is place some sort of measured goal in helping our customers prove they are doing a great job.”
The fact that pipelines are buried poses obvious challenges. According to Natural Resources Canada, our country has more than 825,000 kilometres of transmission, gathering and distribution pipelines. Within this vast infrastructure, there is little room for stakeholders to have anything but confidence in its quality records. Faulty construction or improper maintenance and inspection leads to not only loss of product, but environmental and social issues with lasting impact.
“We only have a very short opportunity to gather as much information about the quality of construction of an asset,” Fugate explains. “The more that we can use tools to create a better understanding of what is buried and the craftsmanship that was used in its construction helps create a higher level of transparency for the industry. It creates data to ensure that the assets are best managed with integrity throughout its lifetime. We want to let our customers know as much as possible, as soon as possible, about their assets.”
Enmapp provides field data collection solutions using GPS and mobile technology to both streamline the job and save money. “We like to think we’re a little different!” Fugate grins. “Our deliverables are kind of a hybrid of what construction surveyors provide and what pipeline inspection reporting provides.”
Enmapp’s mobile data collection technology, mapping and GIS, 3-D scanning and modelling technology allows for more to be done with less, including increases in cost performance and increases in safety. Additionally, Fugate notes, “Because we’re a unique service provider, our turn-around times for data delivery are better, and the advanced technology products that we use—such as the 3D twin products—are better.”
Fugate’s career is rooted in technological solutions for an industry that’s pushing intensely for a comeback. “We’re working with interesting technologies: mobile reporting to live art scanning to twin creation, to technologies that we’ve drawn from the autonomous vehicle industry to create a lot more visual transparency. We want our products and services to create a bridge between regulators and society, communities and operators.”
What’s interesting when speaking with Fugate, however, is that it’s not necessarily this technology that invigorates him. “What is cool in tech today isn’t cool tomorrow, and tomorrow comes fast. For me, what’s exciting is the quality, long-term jobs we’re providing people. We have this whole other social side to our story.”
Enmapp is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tomahawk Energy owned by Derrick Big Eagle. Tomahawk’s focus is on job creation for people who have been excluded from certain opportunities. “As an industry, we need to do a better job at meeting society’s expectations for diversity,” says Fugate. “Enmapp and Tomahawk are committed to hiring and training people for non-traditional roles. We have a specific focus on hiring women and Indigenous people. The net benefits for the company are 10-fold: we have a unique workforce who are both proud and do a great job.”
Fugate is constantly looking ahead to a prosperous future. “What excites me the most about Enmapp is that we’re not competing on deliverables and cost; we’re competing (against no one) on creating access to opportunity. The sky’s the limit.”