Digital Roughnecks - AI Solutions for Oil & Gas

Mark Smith

Digital Roughnecks is the podcast for oil & gas professionals who use technology to achieve autonomous operations.

In particular, we focus on the impact that AI (artificial intelligence) on oil & gas operations.

All Episodes

In this episode, I summarize their 577-page proposed regulations down to a 2-page chart that I highlight in 10-minutes.   This updated regulation impacts every US operator.    You can request a copy of my EPA OOOOb cheat sheet by sending me an email at:     Also, I provide links to all the supporting documents at:  

Dec 3

9 min 55 sec

I interviewed Hank Courtright, Executive Consultant - Corporate Strategy, Technology and Innovation for the Salt River Project (SRP).  SRP provides electricity to over 1M homes in Maricopa County, AZ, the fastest growing county in the U.S.    Highlights from this episode: SRP's current energy sources, including fossil fuel usage by percentages. SRP's energy transition strategy. How SRP plans on hitting it's ESG & Net-Zero goals by 2030 and beyond. How Hydrogen will play a major role in energy production in the future. What role with fossil fuels will play in the future of electrical generation.

Nov 10

26 min 43 sec

Andrew Parker has a PhD in PaleoClimatology. He thought he would become a climate activist.  As an intern for Shell, he learned how energy producers are working hard to produce clean energy. That you can be 100% pro-environment and 100% pro-energy.    Today, Andrew is the Director of ESG & General Manager for SPL, an end-to-end environmental monitoring & measurement company that serves 1,600 oil & gas operators.    In this interview, we discuss: The impact of climate change and what we can do to produce clean energy without harming operators or the environment. How AI will impact the future of methane intensity monitoring.  How automation will impact ESG, compliance and operational efficiency. How and SPL can provide autonomous end-to-end methane intensity monitoring that meets new EPA standards.

Nov 3

12 min 9 sec

How would you like to put your EPA compliance on autopilot?     In this episode, Mark Smith & David Conley ( discuss the impact of AI on Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs that are required by the EPA, Canadian EPA, and every U.S. state.    They discuss: Continuous monitoring using AI & computer vision. The AI "Turing" test required to achieve autonomous LDAR. Why the new EPA standards will drive adoption of autonomous LDAR. And, why LDAR teams will be more in demand than ever, even with adoption of AI.

Oct 20

14 min 28 sec

Are you struggling with ESG & regulatory reporting?   Do you need a reliable method to prove your methane intensity to investors, regulators and other stakeholders?   In this episode, John Chappell, BlockApps's Director of Business Development for Energy, reveals Trace Carbon, the first blockchain solution designed to help energy producers harmonize their emissions data across their entire operation.   In this episode, Mark Smith & John Chappell discuss: What is BlockApps and the Trace Carbon project. How monitors & measures methane intensity. How + TraceCarbon can simplify ESG reporting for oil & gas operators.

Oct 13

8 min

On this episode of Digital Roughnecks we'll be discussing a new Visual ECD monitoring regulation. What’s New? Weekly ECD Visual Inspections - Weekly visual [OGI] inspection of all air pollution control equipment including ECD (emission control device) aka combustors and VRUs (vapor recovery units) - Inspection or monitoring of combustion device to ensure that is operating, including that the pilot light is lit and the auto-igniter is properly functioning. - If smoke or emissions are observed for 1 minute in 15 minutes, then immediately shut-in. - Ensure vapors from VRU’s are being routed cleanly.

Sep 22

6 min 36 sec

We sit down with Shawn Martens, the co-founder of, who call themselves the "Uber of Oil Field Services." connects oil & gas producers with oil field services suppliers using a SaaS platform.  The entire process of connecting jobs with suppliers can be automated, including ticketing, billing, and smart contracts.    In this episode, we demonstrate an AI-solution for tank-level monitoring that initiatives a smart contract for a pumper truck to pickup oil and/or water.    We demonstrate how the job ticket can be automated and the smart contract fulfilled with visual verification using an AI smart camera solution & Ironsight.    The entire process is automated, taking operators one step closer to their goal of autonomous operations and reducing Opex expenses.

Sep 15

9 min 59 sec

On this 20th anniversary of 9/11, Digital Roughnecks & Energy Strong want to pay tribute to the victims and the heroes of 9/11.    It's also a wake-up call for Digital Roughnecks, whose mission is to use technology to grow our energy independence, so that we’re NOT dependent on any countries who ultimately want to harm us.    I believe it's our calling to create energy independence that is secure, safe, clean, dependable, and enables us to defend ourselves against all future threats.

Sep 10

9 min 13 sec

In this episode, I interview Raquel Clement, the Chairperson for the Blockchain for Energy consortium.  Through industry collaboration and market innovation, Blockchain For Energy is reinventing the oil and gas industry’s workflow process by building a forward-thinking community that creates inventive ways of leveraging blockchain technology to maximize efficiencies, reduce costs, improve timelines, and drive industry transformation through collective synergies.   In this episode we cover:   How & why the Blockchain for Energy consortium was formed. We discuss what problems the Blockchain for Energy members have already solved by using blockchain. How they plan on using blockchain to solve ESG problems, especially on the environmental side of ESG.

Sep 1

9 min 52 sec was given the opportunity to participate in the August 2021 EPA Methane Technology workshop.    As part of our virtual exhibit, we provided a 5-minute video to the EPA summarizing how our continuous OGI methane monitoring solution helps operators monitor & manage their methane intensity.    Inside the video, we demonstrate how we use OOOOa-certified OGI cameras + AI software to:   Autonomously & continuously detect & quantify methane & VOC gas leaks. Allow operators to configure the 360-degree tour of the OGI camera down to the specific equipment level. Allow operators to set the alert levels. Show how we integrate the visual telemetry data to your SCADA system. We quickly show 7 case studies from clients who have achieved up to 10x ROI.  In addition to continuous VOC gas leak detection, we provide a suite of visual AI machine models that includes non-invasive tank-level monitoring, ECD monitoring, liquid leak detection, PPE detection, flame & smoke detection, compressor monitoring, pop-off detection, load out observation, dome-out prevention, autonomous gate guard, and autonomous site security.    For more info, contact Mark Smith at:

Aug 25

5 min 54 sec

My guest, Jay McBain, is the Principal Analyst - Channels, Partnerships & Ecosystems, for Forrester Research.  In this episode, Jay expounds on ideas:   The biggest impact on the oil & gas services world will be software.  Why every company will become a technology-driven company. Why software companies are valued so much higher than other companies. Why channel partners are the key to delivering value in the next 10 years.

Aug 18

9 min 57 sec

In this episode of Digital Roughnecks, we sit down with Steve Rutkovitz, President of Choice Cybersecurity to discuss: The Columbia pipeline ransomware attack. The ways to prevent ransomware attacks. How to your harden your IT infrastructure so hackers avoid your company. How to "backstop" your company in the event of an attack.

Jul 28

10 min

In part 4 of our regulation & ESG series, I interviewed Darwin Graff from West Country Energy Services, who outlines the latest updates to Canadian EPA and Alberta Provincial regulations.   Inside this episode, we discuss:   New Canadian EPA regulations. New Greenhouse Reduction Goals for Canada. Overview of Alberta's EMCRA (Emission Management & Climate Resilience Act) How to qualify for carbon credits to offset costs of new greenhouse reduction equipment.

Jul 16

9 min 15 sec

In this episode, Mark Smith interviews John Kalfayan, VP of Energy at Hivecell, to discuss using intelligent edge devices in the oil & gas field operations. We discuss:   What problems do intelligent edge devices solve for oil & gas operations How to deploy and scale your edge devices, even if you're not an IT or networking expert How intelligent edge devices enable autonomous operations for oil & gas operators

Jul 7

9 min 44 sec

In this episode, Mark Smith outlines 3 new proposed US legislation that will impact EPA regulations for all US operators.  I give you the summary of each bill and what I think will be the impact on operators in the coming months/years:   These include: The  Clean  Energy  Innovation  and  Deployment  Act  of  2021 establishes that electrical generators implement Zero-Emission Electricity Credit (ZEEC) trading system in 2023. H.R. 2801 –The METHANE Act of 2021 designed to reduce methane emissions by 90% by 2030. H.R.1492 - Methane Waste Prevention Act of 2021 – introduced by Dianne DeGette (CO) – also designed to reduce methane emissions by 90% by 2030.

Jun 30

9 min 37 sec

In part 2 of our "new regulations that impact every oil & gas company" series, we focus on OGMP 2.0 (Oil & Gas Methane Partnership).  OGMP 2.0 is a global, voluntary, association of 66 oil & gas companies that currently produce 30% of the world's oil & gas.    In this episode, we cover:   What is OGMP 2.0 and why should you care. What are the 5-levels of reporting and why our clients want to be first to hit level 5. How OGMP 2.0 will influence ALL other regulations. And, what you should be doing now to prepare for OGMP's global impact.

Jun 23

9 min 45 sec

Episode 27  Inside this episode: David Conley and Mark Smith of sit down to discuss ESG & Regulatory impact in upstream oil & gas operations. We cover how state, federal, global and ESG regulations are impacting all energy producers. We cover how Colorado's new regulations are causing producers to operate in brand new ways. And what you need to do now to prepare yourself for coming changes.

Jun 16

9 min 12 sec

In this episode: Andrew Richard discusses a brand new break-through technology called the Jointed Pipe Injector (JPI), that promises to revolutionize the well completion process The JPI enables 1-button tripping, replacing the 17 manual steps required by today's process The JPI is about to be released as a product after over a year of testing testing by the majority of the super-majors The JPI also reduces a driller's carbon footprint by requiring a substantially smaller motor to power the completion operation.

Jun 9

9 min 59 sec

In this episode, Sarah Tamilrasan, the co-founder of SotaOG, shares how they use Energy AI to optimize existing real-time data to:   Achieve a 10x ROI by increasing the accuracy of meters Increase waste water pump efficiency to add $7M/year in new revenue Help achieve autonomous operations  Implement "smart blending" so that midstream operators are selling the highest value product Detects midstream pipeline leaks, so that you won't lose any product.

Jun 2

9 min 59 sec

Inside this episode: Vicki Knott, P.Eng, the president of CruxOCM shares how her SaaS company is enabling the autonomous control room of tomorrow. • Vick shares how our software helps midstream companies dramatically reduce the number of steps to start a pipeline by up to 99%. • She also explains how operators can squeeze more throughput from their pipelines, which could add $100 million in new revenue per midstream company! You can get all the links to our show notes by clicking here:

May 29

10 min

In this episode of Digital Roughnecks, Shirley Marquardt, Emerson’s Director of Digital Transformation, discusses the six stages of autonomous operations for oil & gas operators. You can see the video interview here: Emerson has helped hundreds of operators with automation, both offshore and onshore. This gives them some unique insight into the steps required to go from manual to autonomous operations.  

Mar 19

9 min 34 sec

In this episode, we sit down with Mehdi Korjani, Director of AI at Clean Connect, to go through the basics of deep learning. Mehdi uses his experience and expertise in AI to explain what deep learning is, how it is different from machine learning, and how it is changing oil and gas. So if you want to learn more about deep learning, tune into this week's episode.

Feb 17

21 min 51 sec

In this episode, Hoss Belyadi describes his journey from roughneck to Digital Roughneck. Hoss uses AI & machine learning to solve problems in the oil & gas industry, such as preventative maintenance and extraction optimization. And his programming language of choice? Python. Hoss believes learning Python is one of the first steps to becoming a Digital Roughneck because you can take advantage of powerful machine learning algorithms to solve real problems. This is all broken down in his book, Machine Learning Guide for Oil and Gas Using Python: A Step-by-Step Breakdown with Data, Algorithms, Codes, and Applications. So if you want to start using Python to create real solutions, check out this episode of Digital Roughnecks.

Feb 10

9 min 59 sec

In this week's episode, I sit down with the CEO of Sourcewater, Josh Adler. At the start, Sourcewater aimed to map and market the water needed in hydraulic fracturing. Today, Josh and his team have created AI and machine learning technologies capable of mapping nearly every commodity and process involved in hydraulic fracturing. In fact, Sourcewater can even detect drilling operations months before operators file permits. So if you want to see how Sourcewater's solutions can increase ROI for your oil and gas business, tune in to this week's episode.

Feb 3

40 min 36 sec

In this episode, Digital Roughnecks interviews Ryan Davies, a Network Engineer from  Ryan is a true Digital Roughneck, starting his oil and gas career on the drilling side and now adding a computer science degree.     Ryan talks about his journey to become a Digital Roughneck and provides specific recommendations on how to get started as a Digital Roughneck.     Also, Ryan provides insights into the future role of the Digital Roughneck in the oil & gas industry plus the career benefits that go with the experience.    So if you want to see how to get started as a Digital Roughneck, tune in to this week's episode.

Jan 27

9 min 56 sec

In this week's episode of Digital Roughnecks, the DR crew breaks down a Forbes article highlighting the key factors for a successful AI project. Using their experience in AI, David Conley and Mark Smith provide concrete examples on how these key points play out in their company, Clean Connect. So if you want to start using AI in 2021, tune in to this week's episode to learn how to make your projects a success.

Jan 20

9 min 55 sec

In this week's episode, Mehdi Korjani, Director of AI at Clean Connect, rejoins us to take a deeper dive into the concepts underpinning AI and describes how to identify opportunities for AI solutions. Mehdi discusses the common themes in machine learning and AI to provide a foundational understanding of the concepts and to help you understand where AI can provide a powerful advantage to problem solving. So if you want to learn how AI can be leveraged to solve complex problems, tune in to this week's episode and visit Clean Connect at:

Jan 6

22 min 22 sec

In this week's episode, the director of AI at Clean Connect, Mehdi Korjani, discusses how he leverages AI and machine learning to create novel solutions for the oil and gas industry. Mehdi offers his expertise to unpack how AI and machine learning work and how they can be used to solve complex problems. So if you want to learn more about how AI is fundamentally changing oil and gas, tune in to this week's episode and visit Clean Connect at:

Dec 2020

15 min 12 sec

In this week’s episode of Digital Roughnecks, Chad Van Buskirk, P.Eng., SPEC, CPDA from Intelligent Wellhead Systems (IWS) breaks down how IWS is pioneering a new generation of automated frac sites. Chad discusses common obstacles on frac sites and how IWS addresses these by reducing human error, increasing safety, and driving efficiency. So if you want to see how IWS can transform completions operations at your frac site, tune in to this week’s episode.

Dec 2020

9 min 54 sec

I take you for a behind the scenes tour of my podcasting studio to look at the gear and software I use to produce the show. Many of you will be asked to host or participate in webinars, and eventually, you will want to be put on camera. Instead of using the default setup with a built-in microphone and laptop camera, you can upgrade your entire experience for a reasonable price. Go to to learn what I am using in my own studio, as well as some great alternatives for a tighter budget.

Dec 2020

4 min 51 sec

For oil pad operations, it is critical there are no liquid leaks regardless of the time or weather. But the question is, how can you tell the difference between a pool of oil and a pool of water? In this week's episode, Digital Roughnecks discusses a new way to intelligently monitor for liquid leaks utilizing the FLIR Elara FC camera and Clean Connect's AI software. This week you will: Learn about the multispectral data generated by the FLIR Elara FC  Hear how Clean Connect's AI can leverage that data to detect leaks Have a chance to win a FLIR C5 If you want our free automation guide and have a chance to win a FLIR C5, go to:

Dec 2020

8 min 7 sec

In this episode, Digital Roughnecks discusses a new way to continuously monitor for VOC gases without adding headcount. Our special guest, Mark Fishburn, sits in to discuss the camera tech driving this solution and how FLIR, alongside Clean Connect, can help tackle the regulations currently challenging the oil industry. What you will hear in this week's episode: How the FLIR G300a sees gas leaks unlike conventional thermal cameras. The AI software providing automated leak detection and alerting. Where you can sign up to learn more about this technology.

Nov 2020

9 min 58 sec

In this week's episode, Digital Roughnecks sits down with Mark Fishburn of FLIR. Together, we discuss the next generation of intelligent tank monitoring and a unique solution that conquers the challenges posed by oil & gas regulations. During this week's episode you will learn: -  The new non-invasive solution created by FLIR and Clean Connect to monitor tanks WITHOUT opening the thief hatch. -  The added benefits of the solution when it comes to security, tank level monitoring and troubleshooting. -  How you can win a free FLIR C5 camera.

Nov 2020

10 min 38 sec

Welcome to Digital Roughnecks.  This episode marks the relaunch of the Oil & Gas AI Podcast where Mark Smith and David Conley discuss cutting edge technology within the oil and gas industry and how you can leverage it to become the next "digital roughneck."

Nov 2020

10 min 22 sec