Modern Resources Named Energy Excellence Awards Champion For Cutting Methane Emissions

The team at Modern Resources was the champion in the category of Operational Excellence: Oil and Gas for its MULE technology. Image: Modern Resources

The Daily Oil Bulletin’s first annual Energy Excellence Awards were held in Calgary on Thursday, May 2. Awards were handed out in 12 categories under the banners of Operational and Project Excellence, Innovation and Research Excellence, and Exporting Excellence. 

Over the next two weeks we will be profiling the champions in each of the 12 subcategories. Today’s instalment, sponsored by industry partner Fluor, profiles the champion in the category Operational Excellence: Oil and Gas.

Click here to read about all of the champions and finalists.


Modern Resources Inc. isn’t just a progressive-sounding name for this oil and gas company. It’s a credo.

“We have a modern asset base, modern technology, modern ethics and modern environmental standards,” says Chris Slubicki, the chief executive officer of Modern Resources.

Founded in 2012, private equity-backed Modern Resources set out with the vision of becoming an industry leader not only in financial and operational performance but also in health and safety, environmental stewardship, community involvement and employee fulfillment.

Solid growth in the Deep Basin through challenging times brought Modern Resources to a current production level of 16,000 boe/d. Running parallel is its outstanding safety record and innovative environmental stewardship. This combination success has earned Modern Resources industry recognition, including a 2017 EPAC Award for Top Private Emerging Producer.

On the environmental side, the company’s MULE (Modern Ultra-Low Emission) sites are an example what happens when Modern Resources inherits some old-school technology at its remote production sites and starts thinking, “There must be a better way to do things.”

“Emissions are a global problem. There’s a lot of finger-pointing around what is going on, but we need solutions, so we focused on solutions,” Slubicki says.

By replacing thermal energy generators at its remote well sites with solar power and methanol-powered fuel cells in combination with electric powered pumps, air-activated control systems and electric dump valves and flow controls, MULE sites virtually eliminate CO2 and fugitive emissions while reducing maintenance requirements and lowering the company’s operating costs.

Solar panels, which have been standard equipment for remote SCADA and communications equipment for 20-plus years, provide the primary power for MULE sites. Methanol-powered fuel cells are the back-up.

“In terms of public impact,” says James Martin, Manager Operations at Modern Resources, “lowering emissions shows the industry in a better light to the general public. I have family members across the country and am certainly proud to tell him about what we are doing.”

Modern Resources’ MULE sites are mostly done as greenfield projects rather than as retrofits, which keeps costs in check. About half of the company’s sites are currently MULE and all of the company’s future sites are planned as MULE.

“We’re showing that it can be done economically. We’re showing that, first and foremost, its economic and there are advantages in less downtime,” Martin says.

A lot of collaboration went into MULE sites, both within the company and externally. On the design, Modern Resources worked primarily with two vendors: Trido Industries Inc. and Calscan Solutions. Internally, Modern Resources field staff made an important contribution.

“Initially when you put something new in the field, there are always hiccups. Our entire field staff is very strong and highly innovative, so they came up with a lot of good solutions to get these issues ironed out,” Martin says.

To dial in the economics, the producer turned to Modern West Advisory Inc. for guidance through the carbon credit application process. For methane emission measurement, which is key to setting up the program, it turned to Green Path Energy Ltd.

Slubicki: “Our MULE sites are environmentally responsible, yet they don’t cost us anymore than regular sites. We receive carbon credits and it improves our operations. So it’s actually a very strong economic argument — particularly in tough times — as opposed to burden.”

Environmental stewardship can make good business sense if done right. Many companies are finding that. For those who aren’t there yet, Modern Resources is more than happy to share its lesson and insights from the work it has done.

“I don’t know of any company that doesn’t have this on its mind and is trying to do better,” Slubicki says. “We’re very proud of what we’ve done here. We collaborated with others to do better and I think, as an industry, we’re making great progress in showing environmental leadership.”

Modern Resources also continues to look for other ways it can improve its environmental performance. There is a momentum to the corporate pride that comes from being an industry leader.

“Seeing the plans for MULE sites become a reality has motivated office staff and field staff to offer new ideas to improve the company’s operational and environmental performance. They see the company is serious about acting on innovative ideas rather than just talking about them,” Slubicki says.

While the deployment of new technology often can often lead to a change in company culture, Slubicki says it was the other way around for Modern Resources.

“We didn’t have to implement cultural changes to do things differently. We do things differently because of our culture that puts health, safety and environment first and foremost. That resulted in doing things differently in the field. So we didn’t have to change our culture. We had to change oil and gas practices because of our culture,” Slubicki says.


Industry Partner:

Since 1949, Fluor Canada has been involved in the engineering, procurement and construction of a wide range of energy related projects that are spread across the Canadian landscape. Throughout its 70-year history in Canada, Fluor has provided local, regional and international clients with full-service capabilities, which include economic evaluations, conceptual engineering, feasibility studies, program management, detailed engineering, procurement, transportation and logistics, modularization, fabrication, direct-hire construction, construction management, commissioning, start-up, operations and maintenance. 

Subcategory Partner:

O.C. Tanner, the global leader in engaging workplace cultures, helps thousands of top companies create peak moments that inspire people to achieve, appreciate, and connect to purpose and each other.

Clients use O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud™ suite of apps and solutions to retain, engage, and attract talent, bond teams, drive innovation, and communicate company values.

From apps to awards, Culture Cloud™ makes it easy to craft every part of the employee experience to enable people to dream bigger and reach higher. Learn how to influence greatness and help people thrive at work with Culture Cloud™ at octanner.com.

 

Click here to read about all of the champions and finalists.