It’s remarkable resiliency enables the Canadian company to endure in a continuously changing industrial sector. KSM Inc. helps its customers maintain their competitive edge by providing both new and refurbished oil field equipment.
The Nisku, Alberta, Canada-based company’s new fabrications represent the most advanced equipment design, offering customers a durability/reliability level almost incomparable within industry parameters and expectations – and that’s according to users, not the company. “People describe our newly manufactured equipment as the ‘BMW’ of service rigs,” comments KSM Shop Manager Brian Beckett. “Many of our top-quality units have run out of warranty without any downtime.”
However, KSM’s reputation is also buttressed by its remanufacturing capabilities, as the company routinely upgrades used equipment to meet increasingly high operating standards required by oil and gas operators. “While we’ve established ourselves as a fabricator of advanced technology, a major portion of our business involves refurbishing older equipment,” Beckett points out. “Actually, those two activities go hand in hand. If you’re going to build rigs, then it stands to reason that you’re also going to refurbish them, because rigs need to be inspected and re-certified every 24,000 operating hours.”
It’s a natural progression. Appropriately, KSM’s rebuilding services range from minor repairs all the way up to complete redesign that addresses or surpasses original equipment manufacturer specifications.
KSM’s comprehensive capabilities not only keep customers competitive but also position the company at the top of its game. Beckett points out that the first decade of the new century has been a boom period for the 23-yearold company. “I joined the company in 2001, in the last six years we have increased revenues by 700 percent. So, we’ve kept ourselves quite busy, even though 2008 does not look to be as big a year as 2007.”
No doubt, the global energy situation helped fuel company growth; however, the company’s resiliency, capabilities and corporate savvy can’t be downplayed. Beckett indicates how KSM has managed to maintain such high revenue levels: “As we have evolved, we’ve successfully advanced our rigs to keep up with the industry’s technological trends and new environmental requirements.”
It’s all about being able to go with the flow in a business sector whose essential nature is flux, he emphasizes. “As far as technology, the industry is in a constant state of development, and anyone who wants to keep themselves competitive needs to be able to roll with the punches.”
As he suggests, a status quo mentality just doesn’t cut it in KSM’s industry. “A company’s designs need to change, and leadership needs to possess the vision to address present and future needs,” says Beckett. “You can be certain that tomorrow will bring with it something different. Nothing stays the same.”
HOW TO SURVIVE EVOLUTION
As an example, he points to the different types of service rigs and how they’ve been evolving in recent years. “Typically, you have a single-service rig, which means that you can pull one joint of pipe at a time, or you have a double-service rig, a similar piece of equipment with a larger mast that enables you to pull two joints. About five years ago, the single-service rigs began changing. Companies began equipping the units with outriggers, which enabled the rigs to operate without anchors.”
Previously, anchors were drilled into the ground to stabilize derricks, which prevented them from moving or tipping. This anchor drilling also caused ground disturbance and problems with poorly indentified buried pipe and utility lines. Going anchorless removes that risk.
“Subsequently, companies that offered a freestanding rig – or a rig without anchors – could charge more per hour, as they didn’t have to provide anchors on the lease anymore, which saved the oil companies money,” continues Beckett. “Obviously, companies outfitted with outriggers can bid for the better jobs. So, today, if you have a single rig that’s not anchorless, no one will want to use your services. In fact, no one runs single-service rigs not equipped with outriggers – at least not in Canada.”
Likewise, companies need to adapt to constant readjustments to environmental requirements. As an example, Beckett points to how this impacts engines. “Every time the Environmental Protection Agency adjusts emission-level standards, manufacturers need to ensure that their engines are in compliance,” he relates.
“Again, if you go back about five years, and look at what was then available, you see that many rigs still used the older, two-cycle type of engine, which burned a lot of fuel and yielded high emission levels. They smoked like crazy. Today, new engines have been developed that operate at twice the power while burning half the amount of fuel. If a company wants to continue prospering, they need to make the necessary adaptations.”
KSM has been at the forefront of both developments.
CLEAN MANUFACTURING MACHINE
Indeed, KSM has adapted well, and even though it won’t match 2007 revenue levels, the company’s shop is full of work, and it’s still running two 10-hour shifts at its Nisku plant, a 20,000-squarefoot facility positioned near the area’s major highways and international airport.
“The facility is not only strategically located, but we equipped it with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology. Also, we have one of the cleanest shops that you’ll find in the industry, which is rather unique for a steel based equipment fabrication operation,” says Beckett. “Most welding shops tend to be dark and dingy places, but we consistently maintain the shop by cleaning equipment and floors and washing the walls. The place is spotless.”
The highly qualified and experienced personnel could eat their lunch off of the shop floor, if they were so inclined, Beckett quips.
CREATING AND RECREATING
When KSM was established in 1985, it initially focused on buying and selling used equipment. By 1996, the company bolstered its facility with full-scale manufacturing capabilities. Ever since, it has engaged in both the manufacture and remanufacture of oil field equipment.
Specializing in service rigs, drilling rigs and mobile pump trucks, KSM caters to clients throughout the world, particularly in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Libya – essentially all of the hot spots in the new era of fossil fuel exploration.
KSM’s service rigs, manufactured for easy operation, are designed to current industry standards and can be customized to meet specific customer requirements. Suitable for well servicing, workovers and drilling operations, the rigs ensure maximum efficiency and minimum downtime.
As far as drilling rigs, KSM can design or rebuild a basic rig, or it can provide a complete drilling layout package. A package can include items such as mobile drilling rigs, doghouses, workshops, accumulator rooms, generator rooms, crew change rooms, fuel tanks and other major components. Further, the heavy-duty drilling units perform in all types of climate conditions. In the pump area, KSM’s fabricated or refurbished mobile pump trucks are customizable, highly reliable, heavy-duty performers.
In addition to the aforementioned technology, KSM’s manufacturing activity includes workover rigs, mud pumps, mud tanks, utility skids, masts, draw works and general oilfield fabrication. The company also maintains an extensive inventory of spare parts for equipment repair, remanufacture and servicing. Further, these parts can be shipped anywhere in the world.
It’s no wonder that clients turn to KSM. Whether customers are looking to buy new equipment or possess equipment that require the extreme makeover treatment, the company will not only meet but also exceed expectations. KSM listens to its customers. The “real world” of the oil patch is not the controlled environment of the fabrication shop or graveled yard. As a result KSM invites suggestions from customers who are the real experts in field operations. These suggestions are evaluated and if they meet an exacting engineering standard will be incorporated as a standard or optional feature.