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Alberta Oil’s Top Performing Service Company of 2016: Packers Plus

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Packers Plus is as much a technology firm as it is a service company, and the company proved that in spades in 2015


When he co-founded Packers Plus in 2000, Dan Themig probably didn’t predict that the company would eventually help revolutionize North American shale gas production. But, as Themig knows as well as anyone, energy innovation can be as unpredictable as the oil and gas industry itself. The company’s success lies in its technology, which is driving its expansion of product lines and service offerings, despite North America’s contracting market. “Innovation is key, regardless of the business climate,” says Themig. “And Packers Plus will continue to invest to stay an industry leader.”

It’s a mantra that contrasts sharply with the company’s peers. While North American energy investment was in full retreat in 2015, Packers Plus went against the flow. It started by cutting costs across its operations, including the consolidation of its Houston, Texas, offices into a single campus on the outskirts of the city. It then went on to establish its global technology and training center in Denver, Colorado, which the company says will serve as a world-leading facility to research new energy technologies while providing technical and corporate training to its clients on everything from tool theory to installation procedures. The center even includes a dedicated team of scientists focused solely on solving complex reservoir challenges.

While Packers Plus has been around long enough to become a household name to many in the oil patch, it has continued to progress its capabilities. Indeed, to look at the wide suite of technologies the company now employs, one might be inclined to think it’s more of a technology company than a service firm. But it’s also managed to shake up its corporate structure through entering new markets.

Packers Plus expanded its presence in South America in 2015, opening a service center in Argentina and a sales office in Brazil. It also deepened its ties in the Middle Eastern market. With a regional office in Dubai, the area’s logistical hub, the company focused on improving the efficiency of its well completions when compared to conventional plug-and-perf methods in several nearby oil-rich areas, such as Abu Dhabi, Turkey and Oman. “Dubai tends to be the business hub for much of the region, although completions work takes place throughout most of the Middle East countries,” Themig says.

In addition to its expanded market base, Packers Plus’s innovative efforts in 2015 earned the firm a handful of awards. The company’s Inferno system—an extreme high temperature completion system that operates as hot as 600F—was the 2015 recipient of the E&P Special Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation. The ePLUS Retina well-monitoring system, which verifies downhole system operations, won Best Visualization & Collaboration at the 2015 World Oil Awards. The company’s success is partly a result of its nimbleness, Themig says. “True innovation is more likely to come from smaller focused firms these days than from the large multinational service companies,” he says. “It’s hard to be good at everything, but Packers Plus has a proven track record of being great at what we do.”

Themig says the company is constantly trying to respond to industry’s need for technologies that both cut costs and have reduced environmental impacts as oil and gas producers are focused on solutions that will save on time, expenses and water usage, without sacrificing production. Perhaps the most intriguing addition to the technological arsenal of Packers Plus, which pioneered open-hole multistage fracturing completions with its StackFRAC ball-drop technology, is a suite of technologies for cemented liner completions. The company’s new QuickPORT IV sleeves are specifically designed to bring ball-drop efficiency to cemented wellbores and replace inefficient methods such as plug-and-perf. It might be the start of a whole new revolution.

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