ONGC buys stake in WellRx, invests in India’s first Oilfield Services Startup

January 10, 2023
Posted by: startupstorymedia

ONGC has done the strategic investment in WellRx significantly valuing the next-gen technologies and platforms developed by them. This is the largest ever investment done by ONGC which will propel WellRx towards expansion and to invest more in the R&D. WellRx was conceptualized by technocrats like Rahul Gupta, Deepak Diwakar, Sudhir Sharawat and Shaily Nimodia with extensive background in the oilfield services industry.

WellRx And Its Working

When asked about how WellRx work, during the exclusive interview with Startup Story Media, CEO Rahul Gupta insightfully told the entire scenario of the oil and gas industry stating: A paradigm shift has been taking place in the oil and gas industry. Future oil prices are predicted to be low, which will put a strain on E&P Operators’ ability to invest and spend money. Cost Control will be clearly in focus. When it comes to downhole equipment and related surface equipment, the oil and gas business has some of the highest technological levels. Right from the inception, WellRx kept strict alignment with the objective on helping E&P operators by reducing the upfront capital expenditure on field development as well as expenditure throughout the life of the well. As an example, WellRx has developed state-of-art technologies for oil and gas wells rejuvenation i.e. to bring shut wells back to the production and that too at a fraction of cost of conventional methods which includes expensive workovers. Similarly, Production Enhancement from existing fields is also one of the technology sectors where WellRx has focused heavily. WellRx is also working towards developing data driven services (Machine Learning/Production Optimization) and these products/platforms will be rolled out soon.

WellRx is targeting to have 25 patents by 2025 and is currently well on track to achieve that. All patented technologies will have direct field application for the economic benefit of E&P operators. WellRx invests significant part of their earning in R&D that would further increase the valuation of their startup.

The ultimate objective of WellRx is to particularly support the oil and gas industry in India. Why? India currently imports $150 Billion+ of oil and gas and is the biggest drain on country’s forex. Additionally, most of the oilfield technology is also imported. WellRx aspire to help the country in reducing these import dependencies and their technology development is directly aimed at it. If the imports are reduced, then with this saved money, the government of India could fund very much needed welfare programmes. He further contends that domestic expenditure is far more important and advantageous than paying for imported technologies.

Despite facing every possible hurdle, the leadership team of the WellRx kept working on the technology development. And now with the investment by India’s National Oil Company ONGC there cannot be bigger testament of their capabilities.

WellRx was bootstrapped and all the members in the leadership team had promising careers. When asked about the monetary losses faced by WellRx, Rahul proudly said, “During the COVID, even though there was zero business, we did not fire a single person and everyone’s payroll was straight out of our pockets. But we knew, the tide would turn and everyone held on to the team. Our respective families and the founding group were the support system throughout.” To a question on advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, he said, “From a personal experience from 3 years in the startup which might not be for everyone but all I can say is, do not lose nerve. If you have a solid idea and a good team eventually everything will fall in line. Just keep working on it!”

The ongoing funding round of WellRx will have participation from other investors as well and investment from them will be concluded within Q4, FY 22-23.

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