Intercon messaging was first set up to meet the growing needs of the oil and gas industry close to two decades ago. Today, in 2018, the oil and gas industry continues to be at the very heart of the company’s business. That didn’t happen by accident.
Intercon’s owner, Pat Vos, grew up in the community of Keg River, located in northern Alberta. During her childhood her father divided his time between farming and selling drilling fluid in the oil patch.
“I wouldn’t be where I am in my life without both oil and gas and agriculture,” she says. “If my dad hadn’t have had off farm work in the winter we wouldn’t have made it on the farm. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The two work very well together.”
That understanding of the importance of oil and gas has played a key role in the development of Intercon Messaging over the last twenty years. While the company now serves a wide range of clients including municipalities and industries ranging from retail to trucking, oil and gas companies continue to be among their most important customers.
“A great deal of what we do is as an outsourced control centre for the oil and gas industry,” says Pat. “We run 24/7 with alarm monitoring. And we do that every day of the year. If you want something monitored, we’ll monitor it.”
When the oil industry is at its busiest Intercon has been responsible for monitoring up to 1,400 oil and gas facilities right across Western Canada from its base in Drayton Valley, Alberta. There’s a good reason for that location. Drayton Valley is a town which sprung up almost out of nothing in the early 1950s with the discovery of the Pembina Oilfield. Located in the heart of Brazeau County, about an hour south west of Edmonton, the town continues to be a focal point of activity in the hydrocarbons sector. It’s no coincidence that Intercon Messaging makes its home in the community.
“When people see that we’re based in Drayton Valley they know we understand the oil and gas industry,” says Pat. “We know how important oil and gas is both to the local economy and to the global economy. We know what the oil business is all about and we understand the way things have to operate.”
Much of that operation is based around an increasing demand for both innovation and efficiency. Intercon Messaging is constantly updating its equipment and operating practices to ensure it remains at the forefront of the communications sector. Over the years the company has graduated from using pagers and bag phones to email, GPS and SMS.
And since Intercon works for a number of clients in both oil and gas and other industries, Pat says they are able to monitor facilities far more effectively, and at a far lower cost, than if an oil company decided to carry out its own monitoring. Simply put, once you have the necessary infrastructure in place and the right staff trained, it’s as easy to monitor 100 remote facilities as it is to monitor one.
Having the right staff is vital. Intercon’s customer service agents are given extensive training in every imaginable aspect of the job. That means that they know how to respond quickly and appropriately to any type of alarm and are able to work seamlessly with their client base. When an alarm is triggered Intercon will contact the people who need to know using a method and protocol previously agreed upon with the client company. That can be done via telephone, two way radio, e mail or SMS message. Alarm summary reports are issued by email, fax or in print, so it’s easy for the client to spot recurring issues and take action to mitigate them.
Around the clock facility monitoring plays a vital role in preventing safety issues, limiting equipment damage and protecting the environment and the public while meeting standards set out by government regulators. But it’s not the only way Intercon Messaging works hand in hand with oil and gas companies.
“I’ve spent my life in the oil patch,” says Pat. “I get what it’s like to open and close a valve. I get what it’s like to move fluid. I get what it’s like to have a spill. I understand what it’s like to be an operator”
Many of those operators work alone, often in remote locations where the nearest help could be a considerable distance away. And they do that work in snow, rain, extreme heat, extreme cold or whatever other weather conditions Mother Nature chooses to throw at them. And in Western Canada that could be pretty much anything. All of those factors mean that taking care of the safety and wellbeing of those front line workers is always a concern and always a priority.
To help ensure the safety of those who are working alone, Intercon offers the IM OK app. This is a cell phone application which tracks the user by his or her cellular data. The user then checks in through the app on a prearranged schedule. If you miss a scheduled check in Intercon will follow up as per previously determined instructions. It’s a quick and easy way of insuring that anyone working alone is in good shape and of finding out quickly if something’s gone wrong. It doesn’t matter where you are, as soon as you have cell service the app finds you. And it’s compatible with both Apple and Android operating systems. Perhaps best of all, there is no expensive equipment to buy and no complicated software to download.
Live GPS tracking uses satellite technology and allows a company to locate any and all of their vehicles instantaneously no matter where they are located. That means you can quickly determine where your employee is and how long he’s been there even in areas where there is no cell coverage. And if his truck’s on the move you’ll know what direction he’s heading in and even what speed he’s travelling. And that’s not all. GPS tracking can also help limit theft, reduce fuel costs due to inefficient routing and bring down the price of vehicle insurance.
Intercon’s emergency response and dispatch services offer a reliable and practical solution for those oil and gas companies that are looking for low cost and high value around the clock response to support both their employees and their customers. When things don’t go according to plan and professional services are needed, oil and gas companies don’t have the time to hang around. Intercon Messaging’s trained staff will help create procedures or adapt to those you already have in place so that those important phone calls and other messages are handled correctly and promptly, no matter what time of day, no matter what time of year,
Pat says that these services have been put together in order to meet as many of the needs of the oil and gas industry as is possible. Those needs are constantly changing and evolving. Her aim is for Intercon Messaging to continue to evolve alongside them. She says it’s important to adapt to changing conditions and to have a good sense of what’s happening in the industry you set out to serve.
“Three quarters of our original customers from when we started are still with us,” she says. “I think that says a lot about the service we offer and the understanding we have of what people need.”
If you’d like to know more about the ways that Intercon Messaging works with the oil and gas industry, or any other services intercom offers, give us a call at 1-866-605-2558 or click on the link below.