Rig contractor to pay up to $100M for big data tech firm

Helmerich & Payne motor man Michael Palmer, left, and floor hand Travis Palmer, right, move equipment as a section of pipe is drilled into the ground for oil and gas extraction on a Diamondback Energy lease Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 outside of Midland. ( Michael Ciaglo / Houston Chronicle )

Helmerich & Payne, the largest U.S. rig contractor, is set to buy a small Dallas firm touting technology that can guide drill bits to oil-soaked rock with cognitive computing.

The Oklahoma drilling contractor will pay $75 million to purchase Motive Drilling Technologies, but that price tag could include additional payouts of up to $25 million depending on earnings in coming years, the company said Monday.

It’s the latest deal bringing big data to the oil patch as U.S. shale drillers look to advances in analytics to cut the cost of pumping crude.

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Motive’s technology automatically makes decisions about where to find the most oil-rich rocks, and can cut down on human errors that lead to lost drilling time, according to investment bank Evercore ISI.

The company’s technology has been used on more than 200 horizontal wells so far, said Motive CEO Todd Benson in a statement.

Helmerich expects the deal to close in June.

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