Young Entrepreneur Spotlight: TechUSI CEO Duc Lam on ‘Physics-Based Forecasting for Best Type Curves’

Duc Lam, CEO, TechUSI, shares his experience starting the company and offers his advice to other young professionals who want to become entrepreneurs.

TechUSI’s Duc Lam on ‘Physics-Based Forecasting for Best Type Curves’

Duc Lam is the CEO of TechUSI, a company that developed physics-based forecasting by creating millions of type curves through reservoir simulation for history matching. In this interview, Lam shares his experience starting the company and offers his advice to other young professionals who want to start their own company.

What prompted you to start TechUSI?

I’ve been in the business for 14 years now. Through the last half of this journey, I started to realize a big problem our industry has, and is experiencing, regarding production forecasting. It was an emotional and personal story but I did take it seriously to get to the bottom of the solutions that our industry deserves to have. So through the second half of my experience, I invested time and effort to research and develop the right solution. Now I can say that we have the solution and can’t wait to get it out there. The way we conduct our type curves is not sustainable and at TechUSI we are working to be the best type curve company in the business by making the process leaner, efficient, and sustainable.

What does TechUSI do?

We combine reservoir simulation and neural network in Spotfire for our customers to generate physics-based forecasts for unconventional wells. We completely shift the fundamentals in how we generate type curves. Instead of using actual production data, we added optionality for reservoir engineers to run pre-run simulation curves and their associated parameters and then calibrate their curves with actual field data. This process added much more visibility, feasibility, transparency, and accuracy to the type curves in how they change throughout the well life.

What is a “day in the life” of being the CEO of TechUSI?

It’s super fun. I have to admit that there were many dark days but we always stay positive no matter what happens because the company’s vision and mission will never change and I do think we have something valuable to offer and make life better. Living your dream every day is super fun, money cannot buy that. I do it all, depends on what the company needs: helping customers, build the product, take care of the investors, processing payroll, cleaning up the office, and take the trash out.

What advice would you give to petroleum engineers who want to start their own company?

The process requires a lot of energy, so you’ll have to be ready mentally, physically, and financially. The spiritual part is the most Important so you’ll have to believe in your dreams and do whatever it takes to get there. The “whatever it takes” is the most scary part because sometimes my family couldn’t understand what I did. Meditation helped me tremendously throughout the process and it’s another passion of mine. If you believe you can be the best at what you do, then go for it; the sky is the limit.

What lessons have you learned since starting TechUSI?

There were two big surprises along the process: I didn’t know how hard it was and how long it was taking—a lot more than I anticipated and a lot more than I could bear. Another thing is the amount of fascinating people I’ve met along the way that helped me spiritually, technically, and financially. Without their help, it is impossible to survive through the downturn and getting ready to land the product in year five.