OILMAN had the opportunity to speak with Spencer Albright, president of MineralWare, about a new application called Energy Freelance. This service allows mineral and royalty owners to connect and work with landmen, engineers, and attorneys, among others.
Eric Eissler: It appears that this service, Energy Freelance, fills a gap to connect those working in land ownership and mineral rights. What gave you the idea to create such an app?
Ryan Vinson: The idea actually came from someone we know in the industry. The idea of creating a freelance platform for the energy industry fit perfectly within our core focus. Historically, we haven’t provided many mineral management services, so this was an opportunity to use technology to fill the gap.
EE: Could this app become the Who’s Who of the oil and gas property sector?
RV: Just to be clear, our focus is on the energy industry including oil and gas and renewables. I am not sure about the Who’s Who, but it certainly gives landmen and energy professionals the opportunity to build a reputation that is currently limited to those we know personally. Energy Freelance opens the door so that the whole industry can view, admire and hire based on your profile which includes credentials, experience, projects completed, certifications and reviews.
EE: Getting jobs and networking could be easier with this kind of platform in place. While you are concentrated, more or less, in mineral rights and property management/ownership, could you see this application expanding into other sectors of the industry? Or perhaps the creation of apps to bring together others in the [various] sectors?
RV: Great question. Although our initial launch will focus on the oil and gas industry, Energy Freelance will focus on the entire energy sector. As one example, landowners who own the surface rights will need help negotiating easements to allow wind and solar development on their property.
Our niche focus is on three main areas: asset management, transactions (leasing, buying and selling), and professional services/management. MineralWare is our asset management platform and it will eventually allow renewable assets to be managed. Energy Domain is our online transaction platform, and it will eventually allow landowners the ability to post their properties [that are] available for renewable energy leasing. Energy Freelance is our product for professional services/management.
EE: With low demand and a changing industry, do you see more [people] in the industry working as freelancers? Do you see the oil and gas industry becoming more of a freelance working environment in the next 10 years?
RV: Yes, and yes. I think we have all seen the strong movement to more remote work with the current crisis. Uber was ahead of the game and something it saw coming before most of us did. Let’s take landmen, for example. Many of the independent landmen (who are fortunate to still have a job) are working for a broker. The broker takes a large percentage of what the landman produces and the broker tells them what, how and when to work. Energy Freelance allows landmen/freelancers to keep most of their revenue and also allows the freedom to work how and when they want.
EE: What kinds of benefits can MineralWare see from the launch of the freelancer application?
RV: A large percentage of our MineralWare clients have been asking us for a long time to provide more professional services. We have some clients that provide mineral management services and we did not want there to be a conflict of interest. Energy Freelance was the perfect solution to fill the need all while avoiding the conflict of interest.
EE: What is next for MineralWare? What kinds of new projects will you be taking on in 2021 and beyond?
RV: Integration with our two new products, Energy Domain and Energy Freelance, will be key for us for the next couple of years. We are set to launch both new platforms in Q2 2021. We also have a new big addition from our team at MineralWare that will be released in Q2 2021. Beyond that, it is [about] focusing more on renewables and how we can help facilitate some of that new energy growth.
EE: Finally, with the light at the end of the tunnel on the COVID-19 pandemic, what are your predictions on the oil and gas industry in general? The burning question is: What do you think the “new normal” will look like for the industry?
RV: That’s the million-dollar question! My personal prediction is that we will see more and more remote/freelance work and we will see new technologies emerge that will focus on our modified industry. I believe the gig worker trend is here to stay and will become [increasingly] important to the energy industry.