2014 Winner: Outstanding Commercial Achievement In Alberta Science And Technology
Unique Technology Solves Oil & Gas Production Issues
Since 1987 when Dr. Tokunosuke Ito and Don Clark founded the company, Zedi has been dedicated to applying unique technology to the oil and gas industry. The name Zedi comes from two Japanese characters with the approximate translation of ‘absolute perfection’ or ‘complete solution’. This phrase has continued to flow throughout every aspect of the Zedi business model.
Zedi started in the down-hole probe business but Ito believed there was a better way to help oil and gas producers monitor their well site operations.
Zedi Director and Market Manager Marci Andrews explains, “Dr. Ito had a vision in the late 1990’s to move that technology to the surface where the conditions are more stable and create a technology using the internet and public communication infrastructure to measure and monitor the flow and volume of gas”.
In 2001 Zedi launched Smart-Alek, an electronic gas flow measurement device engineered for cold climates and hazardous locations. As a full solution with a communication modem and a cloud-based software application, Smart-Alek delivers high-quality data to oil and gas producers. “As long as they have Internet access, key production and operations staff can see their production data in real-time,” she explains.
What this means for the producer is instead of their field staff physically driving to each well to check the status, which is dangerous and costly, they can monitor production remotely and get alerted to any potential issues. If a well is down and not producing gas, they can target the problem and resolve it as quickly as possible. This remote access to real-time data significantly improves efficiency and safety.
Andrews says, “We had a US producer tell us, ‘the biggest benefit for me was peace of mind. I no longer worried about my guys driving through snowstorms to get to sites to check the well when there was nothing wrong with it. With Zedi, we can see exactly what is going on and adjust valves from computers remotely without visiting the site.’”
The third benefit of this technology is business efficiency. With Zedi’s remote monitoring solution, all stakeholders see the same data, effectively breaking down communication barriers so all departments can work together more efficiently.
Company of Explorers
Zedi’s company philosophy is one of grounded innovation, where inspiration comes from the employees but also from customers.
“As a technology company, there are many interesting things we can do but what is really going to make a difference for our customers?” Andrews asks.
She says Zedi’s philosophy is that of an explorer. They want to seek out innovative solutions to provide the best service for their customers. “We don’t want to follow a path, we want to set the path. We want to explore and be one step ahead of our customers,” she says. “We say to customers, ‘Here are the problems you’re going to face, let’s see if we can solve them so that when you get there, we can help you.’”
Expanding the Business
While Zedi had significant success with their gas-monitoring device Smart-Alek, they knew expansion was necessary to remain competitive in the marketplace. “This business is not just a gas business. Oil is a very important part of what’s going on today.” says Andrews.
In 2010, Zedi acquired an Alberta-developed artificial lift technology. The hydraulic artificial lift system called Zedi SilverJack helps customers extract oil from the ground and features built-in optimization, full automation capabilities and low cost installation. The success of this technology came from Zedi’s application of their gas knowledge to the oil extraction process. By using the same techniques, customers can remotely monitor aspects of their oil production.
Zedi’s technology growth hasn’t stopped there. They now have over 20 different products and services to provide full solutions for oil and gas production operations, operate in over 25 countries around the world, employ 700 employees and in 2013 reached $115 million in sales.
Although the company is expanding, Zedi still holds strongly to Alberta. Their two core offices remain in Edmonton and Calgary, the research and development occurs in Alberta and they’ve acquired many Alberta success stories.
“There is a lot of pride in being Alberta-based, and with Alberta being a leader in application of technology and regulations around production measurement it makes sense we leverage our Alberta roots” Andrews concludes.