Before even a single drop of oil can be pumped out of the ground, oilfield operators need to make sure they have the right equipment on site at the right time. That’s why RSK Transport has been growing steadily over the last three years – because the trucking company has the skills and people in place to get equipment where it needs to be without a lot of hassle. Owner Ryland Kirchoff says RSK Transport brings a level of teamwork and skill to the oilfield services industry that few trucking companies can match, and that’s due in large part to the company’s emphasis on customer service and the nature of its fleet.
Kirchoff started RSK Transport in 2010 after spending several years working for other trucking companies. Since then, the company has found a successful niche in the oilfield services market, serving more than 200 oilfield and industrial customers with heavy equipment transportation services. The company’s fleet includes flatbed trailers, gooseneck trailers and specialty trailers, giving RSK Transport the ability to serve virtually any need for heavy equipment hauling. “We’ve got a very wide customer base,” Kirchoff explains. “I didn’t want to put everything all in one basket.”
RSK Transport faces some very stiff competition in the markets that it serves, Kirchoff says. This is primarily because trucking is one of the least-technical oilfield services industries, with a low barrier to entry for many start-ups. However, the high liability and lower margins of the business push many companies to undercut each other on price to win customers. “It makes the business very competitive,” Kirchoff says.
Red Mountain Resources is a newer and much smaller energy company compared to the giants of the oil and gas industry. Despite its modest size, however, the company has an abundance of assets and experience to continue growing.
The Dallas-based company went public in June 2011 and is engaged in the acquisition, development and exploration of oil and natural gas. Its operation is focused in the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeast New Mexico, the central Kansas uplift and the onshore Gulf Coast of Texas, President Alan Barksdale explains. “We are conventional guys with a lot of experience in the Permian, in particular,” he adds. “We have raised capital, drilled wells and developed properties.”
Red Mountain Resources views its exploration and production in the Permian Basin as low-risk or as low-risk as it gets when working in the oil and gas industry. The area has a number of wells that have been drilled since the early 1900s, Barksdale explains, which means there are established zones that have been producing for 60 or 70 years. “We can come in with new techniques on big horizontal wells or shallow vertical wells because there is a lot of data and history that allows us to develop the areas much better than the newer areas and resource plays that haven’t had a lot of historical production and development,” he adds.
Pipe Pros LLC was founded during the depths of the oil and gas industry’s drilling downturn in 2009, but that didn’t impede its success. The company has grown substantially by providing top-of-the-line equipment and experienced field personnel to take care of its customers’ casing running and tubular services needs.
President Gary Edwards and Vice President Mando Valdez had worked together for many years, and when necessity met opportunity, they began their own casing and tubing company based in Corpus Christi, Texas.
“We found ourselves unemployed in 2009 and said, ‘Why don’t we start a small tubing company, fly under the radar and live happily ever after,’” Valdez says. “It was the worst time to start a business, but here we are five years later.”
The major competitive advantage Edwards and Valdez found at the time was that best-in-class employees could be handpicked because there were so many unemployed workers. “That was our business play – brand-new equipment along with highly qualified employees, and since it was such a tenuous time in the industry, we were the only specialty tubing company serving south Texas and other basins in Texas and Louisiana,” Valdez explains.
Some companies take many years to build a loyal customer base, but it has taken only five years for Phoenix Services LLC to establish that foundation. Today, President of West Texas Reece Boudreaux says about 90 percent of the company’s work is for repeat clients, including exploration titans such as ConocoPhilips Co., Apache Corporation, XTO Energy, Berry Petroleum and Diamondback Energy.
Phoenix Services, headquartered in Houston, offers clients oilfield services, including water transport, water transfer, frac and acid tank rentals, workforce accommodations, crude oil hauling, salt water disposal, frac water heating and other surface equipment rentals.
Boudreaux co-founded the company in 2009 with CEO Mark Fisher, President of South and Central Texas Terry Pruitt, and Kyle Glicksman, president Barnett Shale. More recently, it added Mark Hefley, the president and CEO of SuperHeaters LLC, as a partner.
All five men were oilfield service entrepreneurs who had operated their own companies, Boudreaux says. “We rolled [them] up all together,” he recalls, noting that their previous experience helped Phoenix Services develop relationships with its clients. “We’ve all been together for so long with most of these guys from previous jobs or previous companies.”
An alliance with a multinational energy company experienced in exploring unconventional oil and gas assets gives PetroFrontier Corp. an advantage among junior exploration companies.
The Calgary-based company in 2012 entered into a farm-in agreement with Statoil Australia Oil & Gas AS of Norway to explore land PetroFrontier owns in the Southern Georgina Basin of Australia’s Northern Territory. PetroFrontier acquired more than 13 million acres of land in the region during 2009 and 2010, shortly after the company formed, CEO and Director Earl Scott says.
The agreement stipulates that Statoil could potentially spend up to $175 million by the end of 2016 to unlock a potential resource of roughly 26 billion total barrels of oil in the Arthur Creek and Thortonia shale formations within the Southern Georgina Basin. Statoil this year anticipates drilling five exploratory wells, up to three of which will be perforated, fracked and tested.
Future years could potentially see even further activity. “For us, success in 2014 would mean being able to provide proof of the concept of extracting oil from these formations and getting it to the surface,” he adds.
The Delaware Basin has been around for tens of thousands of years, but recently people have begun to see the true value and potential of this deposit. Many companies are active in this region, seeing how the wealth of the basin will play out for them, but Nuevo Midstream is one operation that has shown its capabilities are allowing it to surpass the rest for the benefit of it and its customers.
“Recognizing the need for a rapid and robust response to the accelerating producer activity in the area, we have taken several aggressive steps in a planned, multiphase expansion to serve producers in the Delaware Basin,” President and CEO Jay Lendrum said in a statement.
Based in Houston, Nuevo Midstream’s operations are focused on the Delaware Basin area of the Permian Basin in west Texas and southeast New Mexico, allowing it to serve production from the Delaware Sands, the Avalon Shale trend and the Bone Springs and Wolfcamp formations. A full-service midstream operation, the company’s core capabilities include gas gathering, treating and conditioning, compression, processing, fractionalization, crude gathering and transportation, and NGL marketing.
In its line of work, it’s not unusual for North American Construction Group (NACG) to work on the same site for the same client for years, even decades in some cases. As a heavy construction contractor working in the Alberta oil sands market, NACG’s services play a role throughout a mine’s life, from beginning to end.
“Having worked on every operating mine site in the Alberta oil sands and many of them since their inception, we look at our services as covering the whole of the mine’s life,” COO Joe Lambert says. “We’re often one of the first contractors onsite, building access roads or peeling back the muskeg which is that top layer of peaty moss-like material.”
That muskeg material gets stockpiled and is put back on at the end of the mine’s life as part of the reclamation stage – just another of the many services NACG provides. The company provides direct mine operation services typical of a mining contractor but it also handles all of the necessary “dirt” work that allows mines to operate in the first place. Building access roads, earthworks services, underground utilities, piping, retaining walls and reclamation are all part of its skillset and have been for the past 60 years. The company’s diverse services have earned it multiyear million- and billion-dollar contracts.
Mountainview Energy’s founders believe strongly that the company can be a major player in the highly active Williston Basin – so much so that they have a large personal financial stake in it. “We came together to build this because we all have significant expertise in oil and gas,” says CEO Patrick Montalban, who co-founded the Cut Bank, Mont.-based exploration and development company in 2002. “We have all invested in the company and believe in our people and our area of development highly.”
Montalban and co-founders Carter Stewart and Jim Arthaud personally own 47 million of the TSX Venture Exchange-traded company’s 87 million shares. “We all have skin in the game,” he says.
Most of Mountainview’s founders’ industry experience is within the Williston Basin and surrounding oil and gas plays. Montalban has worked in various executive capacities for MSR Exploration Ltd., a public oil and gas exploration company working in the Montana, North Dakota and Texas oil fields. Along with his father, he also formed two private exploration and compression companies that are still operating. Arthaud’s experience includes owning and operating a service company in the Williston Basin, and Stewart has worked in the area in several capacities for more than 40 years, Montalban notes.