"We become part of our customers' business." Anurag Bajpayee
Gradiant's philosophy on technology is to take fundamental concepts and develop them into water technologies that speak directly to customers' experiences in the field.
Why did you establish new subsidiary Gradiant Energy Services?
· Gradiant is a water technology company spun out of MIT. We initially entered the US oil and gas market, because we'd found a way to bring the cost down. In that space, the technology is proven, we have real commercial projects, we've delivered a significant operating history and we have some very large customers on board. So we're gaining a strong reputation for cost and quality, as well as health, safety and the environment.
We spun out Gradiant Energy Services in September 2016 so that Gradiant can continue to develop the larger global opportunity, including markets in China, and the Middle East, and new industries including power, particularly in the flue gas desulphurisation wastewater space; and textiles and tanneries, to name a few.
Talk us through the products?
· Gradiant has a suite of solutions. We learnt by working closely with our customers that there is no silver bullet to address all the needs and water challenges of the oil and gas industry. We have a carrier gas extraction product technology, which is a desalination solution that produces fresh water quality product. However, you don't always need fresh water in the oil and gas industry. So we developed our second product line, selective chemical extraction, which is a precipitation technique where we take the produced and flow-back water from our customers and make it into a quality that is good enough for reuse. The argument being: "If you don't need fresh water, why pay for it?" The third product addresses free radical disinfection, where we are disinfecting water as it's going down the well; and that's another need of our customers.
What's your philosophy for developing new technology?
· These technologies weren't developed in academia without interaction or focus on commercial applications. We worked closely with industry from the beginning. We're a services company. We build, own and operate our plants and our systems. We become very much part of our customers' business, because we're interacting with them on a daily basis if we're operating the plant.
The new products team (research and development) is distinct from the field operations and engineering teams, but they have very open lines of communication. The teams are talking on a daily, or at the very least a three-times-a-week basis.
What are your expectations for 2017?
· Oil is $50 a barrel, which means that everyone is focused on cost. And because Gradiant Energy Services lowers the water cost for our customers, we see a fairly healthy period of growth in US oil and gas. Gradiant will continue to focus on developing new markets.