Energy Excellence Awards: Oilfield And Professional Services Firms With Global Ambitions Spreading Canadian Know-How To The World

The second annual Energy Excellence Awards (EEAs) program, presented by the Daily Oil Bulletin, uniquely recognizes energy excellence and focuses on the advancement of collaboration within Canada’s energy industry.

The country’s oil and gas industry is entering what could be the most challenging period it has ever experienced. While the current COVID-19 crisis will undoubtedly touch each one of this year’s nominees, there may be no better time to celebrate the achievements of those developing the energy solutions for the future.

For 2020, the DOB received close to 90 nominations in four broad awards categories — Project Execution Excellence; Innovation & Technology Excellence; Exporting Excellence; and Environmental Excellence — recognizing work completed last year. The nominees were further broken down into 12 subcategories across the four groupings, before being judged by a committee of industry leaders.

From April 21 to May 6, we will be sharing the finalists in each of these subcategories. Today, we feature the best in Exporting Excellence in the subcategory of Oilfield and Professional Services.

Special Note: Starting May 7, we’ll be hosting a series of special online webinar presentations to honour these companies and announce the champions in each category. Register here for these events.

With a preponderant focus on the North American oil and gas industry, Canadian oilpatch companies sometimes neglect the larger global market for their products and skills — to the detriment of both. With leading-edge technology and know-how, Canadian companies have plenty to offer the larger industry — and the industry at large has much to gain from adopting the development expertise honed by companies in Canada.

Three local companies that leveraged their leadership in their areas of expertise to great success on the world stage rose to the top of the list of finalists for the Energy Excellence Awards in exporting oilfield and professional services.

From its earliest beginnings in Edmonton, Master Flo Valve Inc. founders were confident Canadian talent could take on the world — even mastering technology for offshore oil and gas development. From valves to many other products, it continues to be a world leader in its areas of proficiency.

Specialists in multi-stage stimulation and sand flow control for extended reach horizontals, Steelhaus Technologies Inc. has brought expanded operations to almost two dozen countries in recent years in a major growth spurt — growing staff almost six times over and helping to spread the shale gas and tight oil revolution around the globe.

And Belgrave Oil and Gas Corp. helped bring about the first successful cyclic steam stimulation enhanced oil recovery test in India with the design and implementation of a pilot project conducted in the Jodhpur sandstone reservoir of the Baghewala heavy oil field in North-West Rajasthan. A novel fit-for-purpose design and operating strategy overcame the challenges associated with very high reservoir pressure and lack of wellbore cement to surface.

Master Flo Valve Inc.: the world is its oyster

It seems incongruous to see a landlocked Alberta-based company become a leader in any kind of offshore technology development, but Master Flo Valve has shown that the province’s deep well of engineering talent can accomplish the unexpected.

A leader in surface and subsea flow management solutions, Master Flo has become one the largest subsea choke suppliers in the world with some 3,000 in service up to one mile below sea level. It also supplies severe chokes to handle steam-assisted gravity drainage and offshore platforms in some of the harshest environments on the planet.

“Our engineers provide customized solutions for customers’ specific applications while maintaining world-class quality and consistency,” said Master Flo. “We love the challenge of ensuring that our customers have the safest and most environmentally-conscientious product available. Our customers rely on our choke valves, control valves, actuation, automation and communication solutions to lower cost and optimize production through reliable flow for the life of their fields.”

Master Flo ships to between 35 and 40 countries all over the world in any given month, from the U.S. and Mexico to Europe, Africa, South America, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and the West Indies. Customers are oil and gas producers both onshore and offshore — including subsea, geothermal, gas storage and other severe service applications.

It provides local support through 16 locations outside Canada and many local partnerships. Major centres include Houston, Texas, Aberdeen, U.K., Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. “We have representation in every market we service, and add local content in major markets through our own operations and service centres linked back to the Edmonton headquarters,” the company said.

A pioneer in extreme service applications with high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) and erosion mitigation choke valve technologies and products, the company continues to lead in offshore production innovation. In November it announced the development of the first 20 kilopound per square inch subsea production choke approved for use in the Gulf of Mexico by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement. “Breaking into uncharted territory, Master Flo has the proven technology to develop HPHT chokes for both surface and subsea applications,” the company said.

Established in 1979, the privately owned Canadian company is part of the Stream-Flo Group of Companies also headquartered in Edmonton. Stream-Flo manufactures wellheads, gate valves, check valves and surface safety valves for the worldwide oil and gas industry. The head offices, research and development, and manufacturing facilities of both companies are part of their sprawling 1.5 million-square-foot Center of Excellence in Edmonton.

The companies have deep roots in Alberta. The Stream-Flo Group of Companies was founded in 1962 by Duncan McNeill, founder and chairman emeritus, who saw then that Canadian expertise could compete with the world.

“Everything that was manufactured for the oilpatch [in the 1960s] came up from the U.S.,” he described of the company’s start in a company video. “I thought it was about time to give it a try — I thought I could make it… possibly go into the manufacturing. We had Canadians out there drilling these wells and completing these wells, [and] the engineers in Alberta were just as good as any place in the world and we felt, why not manufacture here?” The rest is history.

Steelhaus Technologies Inc.: Rapid response, rapid growth

Two aspects that define Steelhaus Technologies’ activity in recent years are rapid growth and international expansion. A vertically integrated supplier of innovative completion tool technologies for the global oil and gas industry, Steelhaus brings Canadian technology to 23 countries.

Its primary markets are found in the Middle East, Russia, Kazakhstan, the U.S., Argentina and Canada, which account for over 60 per cent of its business. In 2019 the Calgary-based company expanded into Tunisia, Libya, Nigeria, Bahrain, Oman, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Malaysia, Angola and Cuba.

The company’s focus is on providing an integrated line of completion tool technologies to the world’s leading energy service providers, with specialties in multi-stage stimulation and sand flow control for extended reach horizontals. Steelhaus provides a full suite of primary and thermal tools used in the completion of oil and gas wells.

Steelhaus set out to provide its industry partners a unique blend of engineering design and development, rapid prototyping and proof of concept, rapid testing, fully integrated manufacturing, marketing and operational support. Its commercialization process has resulted in a robust portfolio of tools, making Steelhaus one of the fastest growing energy service companies in North America.

Some 80 per cent of company revenue is generated from primary and thermal well completions equipment, coil and ball drop fracturing technology, degradable and perforating fracturing plugs, along with fully integrated manufacturing. Added value is derived by combining advanced tooling technology with rapid response product development, testing and delivery.

In the first quarter of 2018, Steelhaus operated from an 11,000-square-foot facility with a total of 28 full time staff. Then business took off. “The development of a vertically integrated supply chain has provided an exceptionally fertile growth environment, allowing massive expansion to over 170 full time staff with a total of 130,000 square feet of production power in less than two years,” said Steelhaus.

The company has a unique partnership with other local and international service companies through its Business to Business energy service, including oilfield services giant Schlumberger, which has allowed it to enjoy continued international success.

Belgrave Oil & Gas Corp.: Making old oilfields a new source of supply

While much of the recent discussion on where the marginal barrel of new oil will come from focuses on unconventional plays, that misses the large upside and potentially lower supply cost that can be gained from already discovered fields, through application of improved oil recovery processes, according to Belgrave Oil & Gas.

Additionally, heavy, extra heavy and bitumen oil resources total around 10 trillion bbls, nearly three times the conventional oil in place. But this huge resource is not without exploitation challenges.

Conventional primary and secondary recovery methods will produce only about one-third of the oil discovered. Under current economic conditions tens of billions of bbls of additional oil could be recovered in North America alone, with the successful application of existing enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology, notes the private Calgary-based petroleum development company.

Application of proven high-impact EOR methods has been limited in part because of steep learning curves in their design, implementation and operation, the company believes.

John Belgrave, president and CEO, has created value in a variety of technical and managerial capacities in Trinidad, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, United States, Kazakhstan and Libya, involving conventional oil, heavy oil, bitumen and gas operations, with a focus on reservoir characterization, simulation and EOR, particularly air and steam injection.

Belgrave focuses primarily on the development and application of high-impact improved and enhanced oil recovery technology to increase oil and gas production, improve recovery and add reserves. It has had some of its greatest impact in India, where it designed and recently commissioned the first successful cyclic-steam stimulation (CSS) pilot test in that country.

A novel fit-for-purpose design and operating strategy overcame the challenges associated with very high reservoir pressure and lack of wellbore cement to surface, greatly increasing production. “Post-steaming oil production rate at the Oil India Limited (OIL) Baghewala heavy oil field in the province of Rajasthan in India proved to be a substantial multiple of that on primary,” said Belgrave.

The Jodhpur sandstone occurs at an average depth of 1,100 metres and contains an estimated oil-in-place of 77 million bbls of 14-17 degrees API oil. Laboratory tests indicated a 1,100-fold reduction in oil viscosity corresponding to an increase in temperature from reservoir conditions to steam temperature at reservoir pressure. This, together with ample reservoir energy, motivated the testing of CSS in the Jodhpur.

The relatively high reservoir pressure and a lost circulation zone at intermediate depth presented challenges. A comprehensive approach that included use of vacuum-insulation tubing, pressurization of the casing-tubing annulus with nitrogen (avoiding the need for a thermal packer) and control of wellhead steam injection pressures proved successful.

CSS was implemented in two more wells followed by field-scale implementation. Steam injectivity and well productivity exceeded expectations. The information obtained sets the stage for thermal exploitation of the uphole heavy oil-bearing formations that contain an additional 370 million bbls of heavy-oil resource.

 “This is a significant and confirmatory milestone for India’s first successful steam injection project,” said the company. “Process design, commissioning and support training were provided by Belgrave.”

Belgrave has also announced its engagement with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) — India’s largest national oil company — to optimize its leading Santhal air injection EOR operations. The engagement includes hands-on air injection training for their reservoir specialists, at the front end.

About 90 per cent of India’s oil production is now through artificial lift systems and application of enhanced oil recovery and incremental oil recovery techniques for depleting, heavy oil and marginal fields.

The Exporting Excellence awards category is brought to you by our Industry partner, Fluor Canada.

Since 1949, Fluor Canada has been involved in the engineering, procurement and construction of a wide range of energy related projects that are spread across the Canadian landscape. Throughout its 70-year history in Canada, Fluor has provided local, regional and international clients with full-service capabilities, which include economic evaluations, conceptual engineering, feasibility studies, program management, detailed engineering, procurement, transportation and logistics, modularization, fabrication, direct-hire construction, construction management, commissioning, start-up, operations and maintenance.

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