Turning Gas into Gold

R. Grant Shomody, president and CEO, has developed an edge in oil and gas with financial-modeling software.

With its new technologies, Grantech International Inc. has found value in sour gas, a previously worthless substance

The roots of Calgary-based Grantech International trace back to the company’s founder, R. Grant Shomody. Back in the late 1980s, Shomody was frustrated with the technological progress of process engineering. “At the time, the first generation of computers were being used in the industry, and, quite honestly, they just weren’t strong or fast enough for my purposes,” he says.

In response, Shomody developed successive generations of software and technological procedures that have become the global gold standard for oil-and-gas-production facilities. Shomody’s expertise has enabled Grantech to pinpoint the ideal methods for extracting energy sources from targeted reserves. “An oil company like Chevron will find a deposit and then come to us,” he explains. “We then develop standard designs, through computer-simulation modeling, that determine the most efficient and cost-effective methods for processing gas and oil.”

Currently, much of Grantech’s effort is focused on the extraction of sour gas within Western Canada. The gas once held little value due to its high levels of hydrogen-sulfide and carbon-dioxide content. However, thanks to new and less-expensive technologies for removal of these compounds, sour gas is now economically processed into commercially viable natural gas for residential and commercial purposes.

“We’ve become very strong in the sour-gas processing field,” Shomody says. “Thanks to our cutting-edge O&G Advisor software, which simulates capital and operating costs for oil-and-gas-processing technologies, we’ve developed modeling that results in much faster … extraction of sour gas from Western Canadian reserves.”

Recently, Grantech’s work resulted in the completion of a major, regional sour-gas-processing facility. “An original contractor had made a commitment to a US firm to build the facility within an 18-month period,” Shomody says. “But when they had to opt out of their agreement, we took on the project.”

Grantech faced several challenges in the venture. “First, by the time we took on the contract, six months had passed,” Shomody says. “This meant we only had 12 months to complete a project that, normally, would take two and a half years to finish.”

There was a multitude of contractual and cost concerns as well. In Canada, contractors are typically paid within 15 to 45 days. However, with US firms the period can extend to between 60 and 90 days, delaying the payment. Additional expenses for equipment and construction also posed a significant challenge.

In dealing with these issues, Grantech was able to depend upon its traditional strengths—both in terms of technology and corporate culture. “Fortunately, our standard designs and modeling were ideally suited for the facility’s development,” Shomody says. “Our company’s emphasis on visionary thinking—we encourage all of our staff to think outside of the box—allowed us to create the procedures and protocols that resulted in successful completion of the facility well within the allotted time for the project.”

As to the future, Grantech continues to reflect its CEO’s focus on opportunity. “We are always seeking ways to work smarter and further enhance the accuracy of our technology,” Shomody says. “In doing so, we will continue seeking corporate partners who share our ceaseless drive for improvement in energy exploration and processing.”