Energy companies across the nation are taking steps to weather the Russia-OPEC price war. Among these is Liberty Oilfield Services. We visited with Audrey Barrios, Liberty’s Marcom Manager, to talk more about what the oil and gas company will be doing to get through the downturn.
Q: What will the downturn mean for the Bakken?
A: I do not have many specifics about the Bakken, but I am more than happy to talk about the downturn and some of the steps Liberty is taking to make sure our team is employed and everyone is still working. We are treating this downturn the same way we did in the 2016 downturn. During that downturn, Liberty made sacrifices across the team, the same way that our executive team (recently) announced the 20 percent pay cut. We are structured to remain agile and to be ready to take advantage of downturns and sweep up some market share during this time. We are focusing the same efforts on this downturn as well. Keeping our team whole, healthy and safe is our top priority. We are ready to take this downturn on and come out the other side a stronger team.
Q: What did Liberty do during the 2016 downturn that will apply to this downturn?
A: During the 2016 downturn we were able to make sacrifices across the team at all levels. Other companies were laying people off, but we stayed whole. We stayed working. Our margins weren’t great, but we worked with our vendors and our customers to have a team mentality where everyone is in it together, and that was really helpful. We were expecting a downturn (because of the COVID-19 spread) and we are already tightening our belts across the team to keep our cash flow high.
Q: What will all this likely mean in the Bakken?
A: The Bakken is the same as all our other districts. It kind of all depends on what our customers are doing. We are ready to move crews in order to catch jobs. We don’t have too much insight at this time and I don’t want to speak for our customers. But we are following the same guidance in the Bakken as we are all our other Basins. I will say, however, that the Bakken is our baby. It was the first Basin we were in, so we love the Bakken.
Q: What additional cost-cutting measures is Liberty likely to take?
A: Most companies are cutting capital expenditures. That has been announced across the board. That trickles down to us. So that is where our partnerships come in. We have had these really strong partnerships with our customers, with our entire value chain. These are the conversations we are always having, and we are always looking at our pricing and our vendors’ pricing and seeing how we can all make sacrifices across the industry to keep us going on for the next day. Partnerships are always key with anything and that is our huge focus is partnerships. Our partnerships become even more important when we have downturns like this.
Q: How do the company’s financials look at this time?
A: We have a strong balance sheet and we built our company in order to push through these downturns and really take advantage of them to be stronger on th side. It will be a rough few months. But 2016 was when we acquired Sanjel’s assets, so during that downturn the biggest thing was we grew our market share. We’re just going to keep focusing on the whole team right now. It’s important during times like this, one of the good things that comes out of times like these, whether it’s the oil price and the industry crash or the coronavirus stuff is that we do come together as American citizens, and that we are all the same no matter what (political ideology) you believe in.