In its short eleven-year history, Liberty Oilfield Services has risen to meet meteoric growth challenges, course-corrected during periods of market slowdowns, and survived the extreme impact of a global pandemic. They embraced every opportunity and faced every challenge driven by constancy of purpose: staying true to their commitment to being a global steward and putting their employees first.
Liberty is a North American oilfield services firm, offering services and technologies to onshore oil and natural gas exploration and production companies. The founders’ Silicon Valley roots fuel their belief that technology strategies are fundamental to their mission to address global energy challenges, and instrumental to managing market changes and pursuing growth opportunities. Oilfield services companies face challenging market factors that require them to course-correct on a dime. And they aggressively pursue high-risk energy investments to support company growth.
Rapid organic growth and acquisition drove a 700% increase in revenues over the past four years. It also drove the proliferation of redundant systems, requiring two to three times the resources typically used to support the back-office and operations. Inefficient processes, such as receiving purchase orders in two places, were not sustainable.
“We quickly became a big company, and we needed to act like one,” says Liberty CIO Rhett Rowan. “We needed to standardize and centralize data and reduce our infrastructure. We outgrew two ERPs before going live. We needed a solution that fit today and the road ahead. Oracle was the universal platform we wouldn’t outgrow.”
Oracle Cloud ERP and Oracle Cloud SCM established a foundation for standardization and efficiency. A series of successful Oracle Cloud HCM, Oracle Transportation Management, Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse, and Oracle Analytics Cloud projects followed. Liberty addressed the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued driving the company’s vertically integrated growth strategy, and moved acquisitions to its cloud platform quickly. Rowan recalls, “The pandemic dealt everyone a blow, but we could quickly mobilize because we were in the cloud on a standard platform.”
The oil and gas industry is no stranger to mergers and acquisitions. In January 2021, Liberty acquired Schlumberger’s onshore hydraulic fracturing business in the US and Canada. The acquired company used SAP, so Liberty put to work their acquisition playbook to onboard and migrate the organization to Oracle Cloud. Liberty’s finance and accounting organization is very lean considering their annual revenue, and there is no room for inefficiency. Matthew Conner, Senior Vice President for Peloton Group—an Oracle partner that helped implement the solution—credits “the Oracle Modern Best Practices and the scalable architecture of Oracle Cloud” that helps Liberty onboard new acquisitions quickly.
Liberty’s vertically integrated strategy continues to drive acquisitions; they recently acquired a mine, and bought a company to control their supply of sand for the fracking process. Conner added, “With the playbook, they’re able to say, look guys, here’s how you move to our platform. It’s very compelling. And they have scaled their business without scaling their resources.”
Operational efficiency is paramount in an industry where high risk and high reward go hand in hand, and data is your advantage. “I love catching up with my team to understand what Liberty is doing next in areas like Oracle Analytics,” Conner shared. “They’re asking great questions like, ‘Are the places where we’re the safest the most profitable?’” Liberty uses Oracle Project Management to analyze profitability by oil well. They’re now poised to implement Project Driven Supply Chain to segregate all supply chain activities—including order management, procurement, material management, manufacturing, sales, and service—by project.
The pandemic impacted operations and forced a dramatic staff reduction. Rowan proudly shared that 94% of the pre-pandemic staff are now back at Liberty, and monitor stands were the biggest work-from-home mobility issue because they were bolted to the desks. Oracle Cloud HCM was instrumental in managing the staffing changes coupled with a constant eye on change management. “It’s not the workers out on the drill who are signing up for benefits; it’s their spouses at home. Change management extends beyond the employee,” states Conner.
The pandemic, labor shortages, and other transportation issues disrupted operations, so Liberty started trucking in West Texas to repurpose staff impacted by the pandemic and keep operations going. Field operations rely on getting sand, chemicals, and other materials to the site. Liberty’s ability to pivot kept people employed, and the company expects transportation savings of more than $10M per quarter in the US.
Tighter relationships and communication with its suppliers reduced supply chain problems. Liberty’s technology-first attitude set the stage for the transformative solution. “If you have enough technology behind you to get truckers paid fast, you get them working for you,” Rowan shared. They changed their process to get invoices issued and paid preemptively.
Using Oracle AI to monitor operational metrics such as temperature, ambient temperature, and wet or dry sand (to determine pump speed) made the fracturing process more efficient, and provided data for Liberty’s customers. The company has real-time access to environment, social and governance (ESG) data and delivers emissions dashboards to their customers for tracking and reporting. It’s no longer a once-a-year task. “We now have analytics and dashboards we could never imagine before,” states Rowan.
Rowan concluded, “The strength of our relationship with both Oracle and Peloton Group helped us pull through. We stayed aggressive and knew where to save and when to spend.”