Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Service Providers Find Silver Lining in Oil Slump

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Service Providers Find Silver Lining in Oil Slump

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oil-field service providers were cautiously optimistic about the prospect of more drilling at a proverbial reunion Thursday. The commodity downturn provides opportunities for hiring, more research, and streamlining operations, several people said.

The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Expo drew more than 3,000 people to the Cox Pavilion at State Fair Park Thursday. The industry group Sustaining Oklahoma's Energy Resources hosted the 20th annual trade show. The group was formerly known as the Marginal Well Commission.

Several exhibitors said it's still worthwhile to attend the trade show, despite the industry's two-year decline. West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices rose above $50 Thursday for the first time since June 23. WTI closed the day's trading at $50.44, up 61 cents from Wednesday's close.

Thru Tubing Solutions President Andy Ferguson said it's not cheap to be an exhibitor and it takes a lot of work. But it's worth the time and expense because he can always attract new customers.

He said he isn't hiring, but he's always looking for talented people. In recent years, the trade show has been a great place to find people with decades of industry experience who were recently laid off. Those workers are often the first to be let go, because they are well-paid and costly to the company.

"I'm not looking for the cheapest person," Ferguson said. "I'm looking for the best."

Cudd Energy Services' Sammy Graham is hiring and he looked for potential employees among the attendees. It's important to get ahead of more anticipated drilling activity, he said. Graham said he's cautiously optimistic the bust is over and the industry is improving.

Baker Hughes' weekly Oklahoma rig count was 68 for the week ending Sept. 30, one more than the previous week. There were 97 active rigs a year earlier. The rig count for the country rose by 11, ending Sept. …

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