Headlamp – Koniag purchases Glacier Services, Inc. and Goliath vs. Goliath.

Koniag purchases Glacier Services, Inc. Alaska Native regional corporation Koniag Inc. acquired oil field automation services firm Glacier Services Inc. Glacier Services is the largest Alaska-owned oil field automation services operation. It has clients and projects across the state, from the Kenai Peninsula to the North Slope, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Thursday. Koniag’s board chairman and interim CEO Ron Unger said the addition will strengthen the corporation’s oil field services capabilities. The corporation also owns Dowland-Bach, an oil field equipment manufacturing firm. The corporation hopes to operate the two companies in tandem. “We believe this acquisition to be strategic in that it leverages our past success with Dowland-Bach and takes advantage of synergies with clients to create a more comprehensive solution for oil companies in Alaska,” Unger said. Koniag said in a news release that the corporation has shown four years of continued profitable growth, with revenues of $270 million in fiscal year 2017 and assets of $170 million.

Laid off workers will have opportunity to work for new contractor. A contractor at Alaska’s largest oil field will lay off 261 mostly union employees, after BP, in a cost-conscious move, hired a new contractor that will employ a non-union workforce. Mistras Group and subsidiary Quality Services Laboratories will exit Prudhoe Bay and lay off the workers on March 31 or shortly thereafter, according to a letter to state officials from Julie Marini, vice president of human resources for Mistras. Of Mistras’ 261 workers, 182 are union employees represented by the Quality Control Council of the United States, said the letter, dated Jan. 23. Mistras has provided integrity inspections of pipeline and infrastructure, said Dawn Patience, a spokeswoman with BP in Alaska. Mistras is based in New Jersey. Kakivik Asset Management will take over the contract, said Sheila Schooner, a spokeswoman for the Anchorage-based company owned by Bristol Bay Native Corp. Kakivik is now looking for workers and plans to employ “more than 200” people to inspect the pipelines, Schooner said in an email.

There’s no place like Nome – “it’s important, it makes sense and Alaska really needs it.” More than two years since it shelved the project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will take a new look at a deep-draft port in Nome. The Army Corps and the City of Nome entered into a formal agreement last week to split the cost of a new study of the regional benefits of a port expansion in Nome. A deep-draft port able to handle large ships would be the first of its kind in US Arctic waters. According to Nome’s mayor Richard Beneville, that’s significant. “It’s important, it makes sense and Alaska needs it,” Beneville said. “The world needs it, but Alaska really needs it.” Beneville’s vision for a maritime Arctic starts in Nome but would eventually see ports throughout the region. He says it will help diversify Alaska’s economy, beyond dependence on oil and gas extraction. And he sees it as a way to make the most of record-low sea ice levels. It’s a vision shared by Alaska’s congressional delegation. One of the loudest voices in Washington calling for a Nome deep-draft port is Senator Dan Sullivan. “There’s challenges of course, but there’s also opportunities opening up in the Arctic as the sea lanes become more prominent and the shipping traffic increases,” Sullivan said. “The way in which we can take advantage of them is to have more infrastructure in place to do that.”

Goliath vs. Goliath. Halliburton Co. isn’t content to limit its battle for market share with Schlumberger Ltd. to the oil field these days. It’s opened a new front in an unlikely place: the patent office. The Houston-based provider of drilling services is waging an aggressive campaign to persuade the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel some of Schlumberger’s fracking-related patents, telling the agency they’re not inventions but old ideas repackaged. At the same time, Halliburton is pursuing more patents and was awarded 35 percent more in 2017 compared to the previous year. “They’re the two big dogs in the space,” said J. David Anderson, an analyst at Barclays. “Halliburton and Schlumberger have been battling for that top spot in North American services for a decade, so the fact they’re going after each other with patents is not surprising.” Halliburton has long been the top North American contractor while Schlumberger has dominated international markets, but they’ve been increasingly encroaching on each other’s turf as crude recovers from its worst crash in a generation. In North America, Schlumberger is directly challenging Halliburton’s title as the top fracker after recently acquiring roughly 1 million horsepower-worth of rock-crushing pumps from Weatherford International Plc. Meanwhile, Halliburton grew at a faster pace in all international markets than Schlumberger in the final three months of last year.


First Reads:

Alaska Native corporation acquires oil field automation firm
AP News, February 9, 2018

Mostly union force of 261 to be laid off in Prudhoe Bay contract change
Anchorage Daily News, Alex DeMarban, February 9, 2018

Nome deep-draft port back on the table
Alaska Public Media, Zoe Grueskin, February 8, 2018

Halliburton Takes Fracking Fight From Oil Field to Patent Office
Bloomberg, Susan Decker, David Wethe, and Christopher Yasiejko, February 6, 2018