Behind the Scenes Support: Support services companies instrumental in keeping oil workers safe, fed, and comfortable.

Author:Newman, Amy

Looking behind the scenes of the oil and gas industry, it quickly becomes apparent that it requires a lot of moving parts to keep things running smoothly.

Businesses that offer support services to the oil and gas industry play an integral role in keeping the oil field operators supplied with the fuel, equipment, and parts needed to do the heavy work of exploration and extraction. They are also instrumental in helping to keep oil workers safe, fed, and comfortable while in the field.

The relationship between oil and gas companies and support services companies is a symbiotic one, says Cathleen Lewis, director of business development for Colville, whose family of companies provide essential supplies and services--including fuel, solid waste management, towing, and housing-to oil fields across Alaska.

"There are many aspects to the activities that happen up there," she explains. "It's really fascinating."

From transporting drill rigs and supplies via land, air, and sea to creating a home away from home for workers spending weeks at a time away from loved ones, work in the oil field would come to a standstill without the support services industry.

Powering Exploration

Oil and gas extraction requires equipment. And that equipment-drill rigs, turbines, fans, or handheld power tools--runs on power and fuel.

Arctic Energy helps power oil fields with heat and power energy solutions and specialty generators, which provide "an extremely clean source of power, no matter what fuel [it] runs on," President and CEO Greg Porter says.

"Mostly when we serve the oil and gas companies directly, it's in power on things like offshore oil rigs that don't have anybody on them anymore, so they need a generator there that doesn't need maintenance," he says. "There's a number of sites out there that aren't producing, but you can't just let them go dark because it's a shipping lane." The generators ensure foghorns, lights, and other critical items remain operational, he adds.

For onshore operations, Porter says the generators are used "where power's either hard to get from a utility because of expense or it's unreliable." Support services companies utilize Arctic Energy's services as well.

"In order to really serve the oil and gas industry, service companies like Little Red Services or Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, they need high reliability at their automotive shops, aircraft hangars, man camps, things like that," Porter says. "They also need to cut their energy spend," and Arctic Energy's equipment helps them meet those goals.

When electrical power sources aren't an option, fuel keeps things running.

"It's amazing all the little pieces of equipment that are needed to run a project that runs...

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