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It’s been 12 years in the making but now a local start-up company stands on the verge of national recognition for their achievement. Tellerus Corporation of Billings, Montana has been named as a finalist in the 2019 National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) Corrosion Innovation Award international competition for an innovation that holds the promise of saving millions of dollars for oilfield production operations.

Tellerus, headed by sole proprietor, Paul Tarmann, has patented a unique, continuous feed, in-line chemical mixing tool that he has been years perfecting and testing. The mixer not only reduces chemical usage by 40 to 80 percent but has proven to extend the life of downhole pumps. Pumps that last 2½ to 3 times longer requiring less frequent change outs, and improve output, can lead to significant operator savings.

A typical pump can cost between $50,000 to $125,000, a cost that is augmented by the cost of down time, hiring service crews and other associated expenses.

“This mixer improves efficiency of chemical treatments while setting a new best practice standard in oil and gas production operations. In fact, it has the potential to impact any industry with chemical mixing needs,” according to Tellerus.

The Tellerus Mixer improves the function of chemicals – called corrosion/ scale inhibitors -- injected into the produced fluid of oil and water to coat surfaces with which it comes in contact. Without it, the chemicals often remain concentrated within the flow and fail to achieve the full results desired. Tellerus mixers are available in two configurations: threaded and welded-flange.

Much of the past 12 years was necessary to demonstrate that the tool would indeed extend the life of a pump. Pumps with which it is being used for companies in Central Montana have been operating now for more than ten years, proving Tarmann’s forecasts. Tarmann says that the tool is really a very simple one – one of those things that upon seeing it, many people say “I should have thought of that.” But, it was Tarmann who came up with the idea, as a product of his experience in the oil patch.

He’s gone through four or five refinements to the tool and now has a metal fabricating company in Lockwood producing the mixers. As sales ramp up, he may have to engage other fabrication companies to help produce them, although his current fabricator has the ability to expand as needed. No matter what, Tarmann enthusiastically vows to remain a Billings-based company. Billings, because of its proximity to the Bakken, is a good location – almost every oil company of national significance has a presence in the Bakken, explained Tarmann; but perhaps more importantly, because Billings is Tarmann’s hometown.

So far Tellerus has two employees, Tarmann and Dennis O’Reilly, General Operations Manager.

Tarmann has 36 years of oilfield production chemical experience and has seen the need for this innovation starting with his early days working in the Belle Creek oilfield southeast of Broadus, Montana. He also owns his own chemical distribution company, N-Run, revenues from which has helped to support his research and development for Tellerus mixers . . .  bootstrapping all the way!!

Tarmann is excited about being nominated for the NACE award. To win the award will be a huge step in gaining credibility for his product. Just being nominated will be a benefit as his sales reps introduce oil companies to the product. The NACE award for the top 10 innovation projects will be publicly announced at the organization’s annual conference and trade show on March 24-29 in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Although, not always readily accepted, new and creative ideas are an absolute necessity in this industry,” said Tarmann.