The genesis of Nettra Chile and how technology transforms all businesses

By Ignacio Popelka Jímenez

The truth (it’s always good to start with the truth) is that the relative success over the years in our water well construction business had put us to sleep. We were comfortable with the results and our innovations focused on drilling techniques, using new lubricants for debris removal, and experimenting with design tools that would allow us to successfully reach greater depths.

However, a prolonged drought like the one Chile is experiencing with a 10-year rainfall deficit began to occupy our work meetings and fill our offices with new problems. Static levels in frank decline, a direct consequence: lower flow rates and submersible pumps operating inefficiently.

With operating pumping costs on the rise and customers trying to recover lost volumes, they requested more diameter and depth, the market, which luckily is free, began to react to this new reality.

Drilling equipment of greater size and power began to arrive in Chile, new techniques of temporarily casing the wells were imposed and thus be able to enable them more sophisticatedly, and no lesser number of companies adapted to respond to the demand resulting from this new scenario.

Faced with this new reality of more expensive, deeper and more critical wells, it was essential to know, interpret and understand what was happening with the pumping column before the inconveniences surprised us. It was essential to know, interpret and understand what was happening with the pumping column before the inconveniences surprised us.

Daniel Perciante from Nettra Uruguay and Martín Guimaraens from CChP (Compañía Chilena de Perforaciones) friends and colleagues began to think about how to take advantage of the telemetry that Nettra already used in Uruguay on the wells that CChP was building in Chile. We knew where to locate the works using geophysics, how to make good wells, we had state-of-the-art drilling machines but we did not know anything about the behavior of wells subjected to the stress of drought. They were silent works and their users warned us that something was wrong when from one moment to the next they ran out of water and the headquarters of the best wine grape lost its irrigation.

The development of Smart Wells was the consequence of that creative restlessness and the push that many of us put in. It was an excellent teamwork with two very empathetic leaders who ended up making the wells “talk”.
Today we can anticipate problems, failures, we can determine the appropriate pumping point and the best efficiency in the electric energy versus flow formula, we can know when the well was activated and when it stopped, how much water it pumped and at what cost, we can control well batteries giving priority to those that are most efficient and letting those who need it rest.

We eliminated overpumping, we automate deverything, we lowered man-hours in well control and errors derived from discretion. We have almost reached 400 wells equipped with SW, and in this way we consolidate the first vernacular development with professional and economic success.

All visible “online” on the cell phone or on the producer’s screen, which also complies with the new DGA directives. Something difficult to imagine a few years ago is already a reality and this is the beginning.

We set up Nettra Chile SpA, which is preparing for new challenges in other business fields.

It was a good idea to shake the tree, with proactivity and an interdisciplinary team with clear ideas, a very noble product was born to effectively manage one of the most valuable and precious resources on the planet.

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