A slowdown in Wyoming’s coal bed methane play brought Greg’s Welding to the Bakken, but during the most recent downturn, diversified projects in Wyoming and the Bakken helped keep his businesses going in both plays. Now, his company is poised to emerge from the downturn with a brand new product to manufacture, one its inventor believes should take every play in the country by storm. The invention is a new and safer lockout system for pump jacks, by Pat Loc Safety Systems.
Presently, to put the brakes on a pump jack, it requires one person to hammer one moving part into place while another person has hold of a brake handle. It’s an operation that can and has gone wrong in oil patches around the country, despite all effort and care to the contrary, Young says.
“Honestly, I just got sick of beating those into place,” he added. “You know, it’s when a company man tells you they want that engaged for safety, but yet you have to overlook safety for a second to even use the safety tool. I thought it was kind of ridiculous. You shouldn’t have to do that. The tool is there, it’s just missing a few things.”
So he went to work in Greg’s Welding shop one day on those missing things. And what he came up with so impressed the owner, Greg Dougherty, that Young found an instant champion and mentor.
“I cannot believe someone didn’t think of this 20 years ago,” Dougherty said. “I was so impressed with Pat to come up with this. He had it pretty well designed by the time I got involved.”
Dougherty helped Young build a prototype for his patent application, which is now pending, and agreed to serve as the manufacturer for them. Their invention was one of several bright ideas getting a lot of attention Wednesday at the Bakken Oil Product and Services Show, which started Wednesday and continues through today at the Raymond Center, 1002 11th St. W. The show is free for workers in the oilfield, and costs $100 for exhibitors.
Other ideas getting a bit of interest included an automatic greasing machine available from Timco, an authorized Grayco dealer, unique pipeline insulation solutions and a product called the Oil Spill Eater, which has a new approach to spill response. That’s just to name a few of the many offerings at the show, which, while smaller than usual, still brought innovation and big ideas to the floor.
Jeff Zarling with DAWA Solutions is the organizer of the show, which has been held the past five years in the Bakken as a way to connect all the various oilfield services together for a big networking event.
“Attendance was about half what it was last year so far,” he said. “People have come to expect that. It’s just where the market is. Everything is kind of half what it was. So we are feeling the same effect of that, like everyone else.”
Nonetheless, just as in year’s past, deals were being cut on the floor of the BOPS show, Zarling said, big deals that will help companies continue to work their way through the low price environment.
Many of the exhibitors at the show said they felt the quality of their interactions was higher than it’s ever been, despite the show’s smaller size.
“We’ve had a lot fewer tire kickers,” Steve Kyathfield with Purity Oilfield Services LLC said. “As we get further into the downturn, you’d think things would be getting worse, but for us it’s been the opposite. The size of this show was smaller, but in terms of people germain to our business, it’s been very good.”
Connie Rueb, manning the Purity Oilfield Services booth with Kyathfield, agreed.
“We came away with a lot of really good contacts today,” she said. “We’re meeting a lot of new people and they are learning about our business services, and we are learning a little about theirs as well. So it’s been really, really good so far.”
While many companies didn’t take out their own booths this year, they still opted to send people to the event, both to network and check out the products at the show. Among these were John Rogers, a Sidney resident employed by C & J Energy Services.
He is an environmental supervisor, and was leaving the event with a bag stuffed full of brochures for services and products he thought could be useful, either to himself or to his company.
Among these were training classes with TrainND he wants to take, as well as a particular type of boot that got his eye. The best, though, was probably an environmental product he found that helps prevent or contain spills in a temporary situation.
“Flexible spill containment,” he said, pulling out a large green brochure that explained the product in more detail.
A picture in the brochure showed a pad, placed under a truck that is loading, to prevent an accidental release. That is one of the common causes of smaller spills listed in the state’s spill-tracking database.
Rogers had been looking for something like this, he said. And finding it at the show didn’t surprise him in the least.
“That’s one of the great things about the show,” he said. “You can find something that pertains to each part of the oilfield industry.”