Spartek Systems Inc.

2003 Winner: Industrial Research

Spartek Systems is an Alberta success story based on a company’s understanding of customer needs and ability to develop better products to meet those needs. The company manufactures geophysical instrumentation for the worldwide petroleum sector. Founded in 1994 in Sylvan Lake, Spartek invested heavily in its early years to make pressure gauges with software that would change the market.

Its first product was a pressure gauge that used quartz transducer technology to produce high-quality, reliable data. The company followed up with a proprietary sapphire-based pressure gauge using the latest signal processing technology to further improve performance at a lower price. The product quickly captured the market in Canada. Spartek Systems is now a multinational company with $14 million in annual revenue and over 80 employees worldwide. The privately held company has an engineering and manufacturing facility in Sylvan Lake and offices in Venezuela, the United States, the Middle East and the Far East.

The company designs, develops and manufactures instrumentation for reservoir characterization and for diagnosing problems in the reservoir or wellbore. Products include quartz and sapphire pressure gauges, wellhead pressure recorders, multi-cycle shut-in tools, production logging tools and surface acquisition loggers. The company sells, leases or rents its products, as well as provides repair and maintenance services. Spartek’s team is known for its agility in moving from a client’s idea to a test product, sometimes in as little as two weeks. New products underway include a pressure gauge that is reliable at high temperatures and a system that can be permanently installed in subsea wells for remote monitoring and control in real time.

Spartek intends to use the NRC/ASTech Prize to hire an electrical/mechanical engineering graduate student on a project to develop a tool for non-destructive inspection of downhole well casing. The new Spartek tool represents an advancement in a technology that has not changed significantly in 20 years and will help Spartek enter the corrosion monitoring market. The company plans to market the technology to service companies in the U.S., Latin America, North Sea, Middle East, Russia, China and other major oil and gas producing areas where fields are maturing and the market for such services is significant. Commercialization of this technology is expected to create at least 10 new jobs on the manufacturing side and 10 on the well service side.