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January 2019

Oklahoma's oldest venture forum and professional networking organization. Fostering local business venture growth since 1987.

Innovation in Oil & Wind Energy

Innovation that Energizes

with Todd Blasdel

Written by Lori Williams

“I can see the curve of the earth from up here,” says Todd Blasdel of the view from his office in Oklahoma City. “It’s quite spectacular.” The Lead for Strategic Innovation at Devon Energy has a 42nd floor office in Oklahoma’s tallest building, and his window on the world is a lot like his job description: “I not only scout external innovations, but I also facilitate internal innovations,” he says, “while always keeping in mind a couple of strategic problems Devon needs to solve.”  

As Blasdel focuses on the big picture, he envisions how the smaller pieces fit together. “I would say that our most successful internal projects have occurred when we take new technologies from several different areas and put them together to address our unique needs at Devon.” 

“Another innovative thing we do is to make a different application of an emerging technology.” 

“At times it can become a little overwhelming because there’s so much happening in the technology world and so many potential solutions out there. It would be easy to drown a little bit in that. You really have to know what your priorities are. Where do you want to spend your energy in searching for a couple of limited solutions to the bigger pain points of the company?”  

Drowning in the numbers is a real possibility in this line of work, and it’s not just because of the constant changes in technology. Consider these daily Devon statistics: Approximately 250,000 barrels of oil, 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas, 100,000 barrels of natural gas liquids, and a billion data points. These are production numbers for every 24 hours. 

“Such immense amounts of data can be overwhelming,” says Todd Blasdel.  “That’s why it’s important to put the right algorithms in place to determine what’s important about the data so that the right person can take action.” 

“But here at Devon we have a greater goal than that: It’s called the digital oil field. It’s an automated system whereby the machine gets the data and turns the levers without a person having to do it.” 

Operating remotely from the Devon Tower in Oklahoma City means less time and money spent in the field as well as fewer safety issues. The environmental footprint is smaller, as well. “For example, there is full field development in the STACK play of Oklahoma,” explains Blasdel. “The goal is to have as few people in that field as possible because the majority of the processes involves gathering and analyzing data and making optimizations to the equipment.” 

“A lot of people have the misconception that I am tinkering away in the basement of the building like MacGyver. But I’m not a technical person! I’m an attorney by background.” 

Instead, Todd Blasdel gets to see the solutions, like the view from his window, come full circle. “I make sure that what we’re looking for at Devon Energy aligns with our corporate strategic goals. And then I facilitate that process to the right technical people.”   

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Guest Speaker 

Dr. Kenneth Cory
Chairman & CEO - Founder of V3 Technologies

With over 20 years of consulting, executive, private equity, and board of directors experience, Dr. Cory is a recognized leader in the energy and infrastructure sectors of North America.  Subsequent to tenures as a professor (PhD in Business Strategy with a specialization in Finance / Economics at Texas A&M University) and as a strategy consultant with Deloitte Consulting, Ken served as the global chief strategy officer, including new business development and new technologies, for two Fortune 300 global energy companies – TXU Corporation, a $40 billion global power and gas utility headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and Calpine Corporation, a $23 billion independent power and gas production company based in San Jose, California. Ken then accepted a role as Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration for EPCOR Utilities, a $7 billion power and water company in Edmonton, Canada.  While at EPCOR, he crafted and helped lead the execution of a restructuring plan that included the IPO spin off of a $4 billion power company – the first major North American IPO following the financial market crisis of 2008-2009.  Ken then spent over five years as a Wall Street executive working for Apollo Global Management then as an independent advisor / principal for large scale energy transactions. As an academician, Dr. Cory was voted “Most Outstanding Professor” in the College of Business at Texas A&M University, and he has also published multiple peer reviewed articles on business strategy and economics.

Dr. Cory founded V3 Technologies in 2006, has two patents regarding the toroidal amplified wind tower technology to his credit, and currently serves as the company’s Chairman and CEO.

Not a New Technology but a Completely New Approach

V3 was founded more than 12 years ago with a focus on identifying, refining as necessary, and aggregating complementary technologies and processes to create a multi-megawatt power ‘system’ that will be a major leap forward in energy density per wind farm and energy production per tower compared to traditional wind towers.  V3’s efforts have resulted in being granted multiple patents relating to key components of the system and related processes, with more patents forthcoming

Benefits of the System’s Components are Multiplicative Leading to Results that are Extraordinary

It’s the unique combination of components that makes the difference.  In addition, the interactions between the components are generally multiplicative leading to exponential increases in wind farm output.  For example, V3’s base case tower is expected to generate over 52X more electricity from a typical 1,000 acre wind farm than those using the best modern 2-megawatt windmills for about half the capital cost per megawatt and with a dramatic reduction in volatility / intermittency – a critical issue facing transmission grid operators.

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Chairman's Perspective 

Brad Rickelman

Meridian Technology Center

I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season, and welcome to 2019! 

We have a busy month of activities to start the New Year - our monthly luncheon is January 9th, with presentations on wind energy.  

We also have our first After Hours event of 2019 on January 23rd. The event will be held at Vault 405, a Coworking space in downtown Edmond. So please plan on coming by after work. Please be sure to RSVP for these events and bring a guest. The after-hours event is a great way to bring a prospective member for OVF. 

Over the last couple monthly meeting I have been once again surprised at how many market needs are out there waiting for an entrepreneur to fill them. I believe that we often focus too much on Silicon Valley startups – here in Stillwater we all of a sudden ended up with 2 competing electric scooter companies leaving hundreds of scooters around town! (and they charge $1/minute?!) 

But most entrepreneurs are not chasing billion dollar unicorn status. Most entrepreneurs do not get hundreds of millions in venture capital. And in fact, most industries don’t want to deal with Silicon Valley startups; they are just looking for someone to help solve real issues at a reasonable price - and willing to work.  

A speaker in the last month or so remarked that when working for a large corporation there were often good product solutions in their portfolio, but that at 10 million dollar market segments, those solutions weren’t even worth the corporation following up. That comment struck me: how many 10 million dollar products could we develop in Oklahoma? Certainly we’d be delighted in Stillwater to pick up a company moving into town with that kind of market. If the OVF can help connect some of these ideas with people willing to run with them, then I feel we’ve done a great job of improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Oklahoma. 

I look forward to seeing you – and a guest! – at an upcoming event for OVF. 

OVF 2018-2019 Events Calendar

Speaker Series Lunches
January 9, 2019
February 13, 2019
March 13, 2019
April 10, 2019
May 8th, 2019

OVF After Hours

January 23rd - Vault 405
April 4th - Project 3810

Award for Economic Impact

May 8th, 2019
Oklahoma History Center

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