Carlyle– January saw the launch of a Saskatchewan based oilfield services company, Canadian Plains Energy Services, and while it’s a new company, there’s not one green hand in the bunch. Canadian Plains opened their doors in Carlyle and Regina, and this is a company with many years of experience under its belt. Canadian Plains is already on a tremendous growth curve with plans to hire dozens more people, and open additional locations soon.
“It’s a lot of former Carson Energy Services employees who joined together to create Canadian Plains,” Dale Ziegler, president of Canadian Plains Energy Services told Pipeline News at their Carlyle shop on Feb. 8. “The response from clients has been phenomenal. To see a local company and the people who have served them for several years has been extremely well received.”
Most of the new team of field workers and management have their roots in Carson Energy Services (CES) and after five years with Flint Energy Services and its successors, Ziegler decided that the time was right to launch a new company, with a focus on southern Saskatchewan. It seems many of his “old” Carson colleagues shared his view.
Ziegler’s history with Ron Carson is a long and significant one. “I took over Ron’s position following the sale to Flint, and was responsible for operations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Lloydminster and Wainwright areas of Alberta.” Ziegler said.
The former Carson employees have been through many changes in the last five years. After buying Carson Energy Services in 2011, Flint itself was bought by URS who was then sold to AECOM, all in a five-year period. The downturn and resulting cost containment measures have resulted in many of the former Carson Energy Services locations being vacated. These locations remained of great interest to Ziegler and his team as the cornerstones for a renewed focus on energy services for southern Saskatchewan.
“We started hiring some people and going back to work with locations in Carlyle and Regina to start with.” Ziegler said. “We will be operating in Virden, Manitoba, very soon.”
The Regina location is located northeast of the Consumers Co-op Refinery. The Carlyle shop will seem familiar to locals as it’s the old Carson shop, on the north side of Highway 13, near the golf course.
Launching a new company is not a simple task. On top of the various registrations necessary to incorporate a business, energy and mining clients require stringent quality and health and safety certifications to properly and safely execute work. To assist and expedite this process, Canadian Plains has partnered with another recognized oilfield service and construction company, Strike Group LP (formerly known as Strike Energy Services). This partnership gives Canadian Plains access to established and registered programs for equipment, health and safety, and quality while Canadian Plains creates its own brand for these programs.
“We welcome our affiliation with Strike,” Ziegler said. “Strike is an experienced company and working together means that both organizations can leverage off of each other’s strengths in order to provide our clients with the best quality services,” Ziegler pointed out. “We believe we had a good model for customer service at Carson, and we aim to copy that.”
Canadian Plains initial operations include a mainline pipeline division along with production service divisions that provide small diameter pipeline construction, facility work and general oilfield maintenance.
Overall, Ziegler said, “The work is out there, we just have to go out there and execute. The people at Canadian Plains is what will bring the work, not the name on the door or the side of the truck. We don’t have any green people, not one. The management group is very strong. I’m 33 years in the business, and most of our leadership group has over 20 years.”
Canadian Plains Energy Services’ growth plans are unlike anything seen in southeast Saskatchewan in many years. “We’ve got 30 employees. By early spring, we’ll be double. By fall, I hope we’ll be peaking at 150 employees. The morale is like I’ve haven’t seen in years – nothing but positive” said Ziegler. “Everyone here came from the same place. The people are who we are. Our people are our number 1. That’s all there is to it. If we look after our people and clients, we’ll be successful.”
Another thing not seen much over the last two years has been a company buying new iron. They’ve got 12 brand new 5500-series trucks equipped with knuckle booms. There’s seven deck trucks and six crew cabs.
The heavy equipment includes two nearly-new dozers, three brand new excavators, and five D5, D6 and D7 sidebooms. Among the few things that aren’t new are two large warehouse vans and some small job vans but they are tooled up and ready to go to a jobsite.
So where has Ron Carson been during all this?
“We’re getting back to our roots,” said Ziegler. “Ron has been at my side through all my decisions. He’s been my mentor and there is no one in this oil and gas business I would have as a mentor other than Ron Carson. He has no ownership in the company, but he does have a seat on the board of directors and I couldn’t be happier.”
Indeed, Ziegler laughs, while Carson has accompanied him in drumming up business, Carson makes a point of telling people he’s not looking for a job.
Good time to grow
“I think the industry was ready for a new direction, a correction if you will,” said Ziegler. “While the market is tough, we really felt we could pull together the ‘A-Team.’ There are lots of factors working against us but we believe the industry has hit bottom and is starting to move back in a positive direction.”
He concluded, “We believe we can take advantage of that and provide an experienced team who will give great service to our customers. When the industry recovers, we want to be ready to jump on growth opportunities, but for now, while everyone else is downsizing, we will be focusing on our new business, our new customers and growth for the future.”