Lloydminster – JPD Enterprises is doing something that hasn’t been very common since the oil downturn hit, namely adding new iron to its fleet, in addition to opening a new location. In Lloydminster, JPD started renting shop space six months ago.
“We’re just moving into Lloydminster. We’re expanding out of Elk Point,” said Pat Demers, who is partners with John Charlton in the operation.
The company runs continuous rod transfer units, or CRTs.
“We’ve got five CRTs and five of the welders, one rod rig and one rod rig being built,” Demers said on Sept. 12 at the Lloydminster Heavy Oil Show.
“We only built one welder and one CRT in the last three years,” he said. They built a standalone continuous rod rig last year, which has been in service for one year.
Their working area covers all of Alberta and Saskatchewan. “The truck’s got wheels. We’ll go where the customer wants us,” he said.
They’ve been as far north as north of Peace River, and south to Turner Valley. To the east, they’ve going to the Battlefords.
JPD has a total of 15 employees, now. That’s going to change soon. “We are growing,” Demers said. “We will need four for the new rod rig. We’re looking for two employees in Lloydminster, and one in Elk Point.”
The new rig will be going to Bonnyville.
JPD’s big advantage is its multipocket reels, a patented design of their own making. It allows them to carry different sized of rod if needed.
“The reel and method of rod repair is our patent,” Demers said. He noted it’s a lot safer than the old way, hand-bombing rod. “We don’t do any of that. That’s what iron’s for.”
“We just fell into it. We’ve been doing this since August 2009. We got the patent in April 2012.”
When they first got into continuous rod, they had flushbys and grippers. “My business partner said we should come up with a multipocket reel and carry two different sizes of rod, and we’ll go work with our flushby gripper and fix rod all day,” Demers said.
“I said, ‘Good idea.’
“So we built the first reel, and we did two jobs,” he said. They quickly realized they could do this work without a lot of ancillary equipment.
“You’ve got to be able to tuck away your ends,” he said. First they used a come-along, but that took forever. Then they used a winch from a quad, but now they use a hydraulic winch to pull in the rod ends.
“Everyone would love to do what we’re doing, but they’re just not allowed to,” he said.
Their patent will expire in April 2032, so that gives JPD a long time to take advantage of their innovation.
Asked how things have been going, Demers said, “We’re holding our own. We haven’t seen any big decreases since the crash, except for rates, of course.”
Rates were cut “lots” during the crash. They took three rounds of cuts, and a fourth year extending the third round of cuts.
However, he noted, “We never lost money.”
They laid off their pressure trucks and flushby. “We shut them down, because the rates were so cheap. It’s ridiculous how cheap the rates are. We still have the iron, and we’re trying to sell it,” he said.
There were no layoffs on the rod side. The rod work is actually expanding.
Asked about the slow decline of cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS), he responded, “Because of our specialty, we’ll be okay.”
A big part of that is their operations mean less equipment on the lease.