Billings-based GTUIT, LLC doubled its sales last year, and looks to do the same next year.
Actually, says company President and CEO Brian Cebull, “We will do better than that, but I am trying to be conservative.”
What he is really trying to say is that “the sky’s the limit” for his growing and expanding company.
GTUIT is one of the many technological innovators that have helped to catapult the US to the top of the world petroleum industry. A Montana –inspired company, founded seven years ago by Montanans, and developing and manufacturing its leading-edge technology by Montanans, it distributes its unique product to oil fields around the world. GTUIT is a prime example of successful entrepreneurship and the kind of economic foundation that can be achieved in Montana — and, in addition to that, be a “green company.”
Because GTUIT technology enables oil well operators to reduce flaring, it stands at the forefront of helping to improve the environment by preventing air pollution while helping to conserve valuable fuels, which makes energy development cleaner and more efficient. Flaring is the often- unavoidable practice of burning gas that is a by-product of oil production. The associated gases are valued commodities, if they can be captured and processed and delivered to market. That is where GTUIT comes in, with mobile equipment that can economically process the gas that would otherwise have to be flared.
Early this spring, GTUIT reached the goal of recovering over 2 million barrels of natural gas liquids (NGL), representing over 500,000 tons of CO 2 and 150,000 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that were prevented from being emitted into the air.
GTUIT received the Governor’s EoStar Pollution Prevention Award, this year. Last year, the company received the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s Environmental Stewardship Award.
There will always be flaring, said Cebull, simply because it is not always feasible to capture all the gases associated with oil production, but as oil companies grow and infrastructure is developed and technology improves, there will be less and less flaring. It is the industry’s goal to eliminate flaring as much as possible – no one hates flaring more than people in the industry, said Cebull.
In fact, more and more companies are investing in capturing the flared gas even if it poses an overall cost to their bottom line. They see it as being a responsible company and doing business the right way.
GTUIT as a rule does not sell their units. They are leased and operated by GTUiT, marketed as a no-hassle solution for the well owner and developer. In some cases the units are sold to foreign companies, especially in South America, but GTUIT remains involved providing maintenance and training.
In fact, the focus of most of Cebull’s efforts is in raising the capital needed to build more units. Being able to build the units to meet market demand is largely what paces the company’s growth.
The primary manufacturing of their units is done in Lockwood by Midland West Manufacturing, but other plants located in other parts of the country provide components. GTUIT can gear up production by contracting with other manufacturers.
They went through the “tedious” and difficult process of becoming ISO certified in order to make such future expansion possible, said Cebull.
The gases that are captured remain the property of the oil well owner, and it is up to them to get it to market by pipeline or truck, or to use the fuel on site.
As much of a win-win as the gas capturing process seems to be, the degree to which it is depends on the price of natural gas, and that price has been very low for quite some time.
Unlike oil which is pretty much an international market, natural gas is a local market commodity and the prices are determined and fluctuate according to local market conditions. Also, there are a lot of factors that impact the practicability of using the gas, such as available infrastructure and pipeline capacity.
GTUIT introduced their third generation modular gas processing unit earlier this year. The units use patented, high-pressure separation to provide cost effective gas processing for well sites flaring from 3-12 MMCFD of gas.
The units, which are housed on two skids in full arctic enclosures, are compact, modular and transportable; which is a strength of GTUIT throughout its entire fleet.”
“With the increase in drilling in the Bakken and many energy producers implementing corporate emission reduction goals it is a great time to bring our new equipment to the industry. We can include oil tank vapor recovery units with flare capture to further reduce air emissions and increase NGL revenues. We build and commission units in as little as 12-14 weeks.”
GTUIT does not exactly have direct competitors. While there are companies that do aspects of what GTUIT does, no one does it all and especially in the same way offering small mobile flexible units. “In a way,” said Cebull, “we have developed a new industry.”
The process of designing and manufacturing their technology focuses on making it impossible to reverse engineer it. Technology is secured behind codes and by separating the different aspects of building it.
Being involved in worldwide trade, GTUIT faces the same kind of business espionage and intellectual property theft as do many US businesses. Company representatives are especially cautious when traveling to China, said Cebull. They do not even take their cell phones, using throw-away phones instead, and taking with them no computers or other electronic devices that might be compromised. They don’t even allow thumb drives into their building, said Cebull, because there is no way of knowing who was involved in making them and what might be in them.
Cebull is especially proud that as GTUIT grows and develops they are able to offer engineering and technology jobs that allow Montanans to return to their home state, to continue challenging and satisfying careers. In fact, the industry’s biggest challenge, said Cebulll is to convince young people that the career opportunities in the petroleum industry are “sexy.” “The industry doesn’t really have that kind of a reputation,” he said.
But the fact is, the jobs offered in the petroleum industry are “sexy.” Cebull points out that not only do the jobs pay very well, but quite often they involve being on the leading edge of new technology. They are challenging and rewarding, and if traveling the world is considered part of being “sexy,” those opportunities abound in the business.
GTUIT employs 25 people in Montana with locations also in Colorado and Wyoming.