For years, the Smith family made its money by installing public site work projects for commercial and educational projects throughout upstate New York and Pennsylvania.
In 2008, however, the natural gas boom began to form in New York, and W&D Smith and Sons Construction Inc. earned its big break by building pads for wells throughout the shale region. After landing its first contract with a major New York state energy company, Smith Site Development began to land similar work in Pennsylvania.
Today, W&D Smith’s primary source of revenue stems from the natural gas industry throughout Pennsylvania and New York. However, through parent Smith Companies, the Smith family is ready to deal with those ebbs and flows as they occur.
As the oil and gas market opens up to private businesses in Trinidad and Tobago and the government-owned oil operation awards contracts to external companies, opportunities abound for firms that can handle these jobs. Very few companies in this Caribbean nation have the capabilities Sadhna Petroleum Services Co. Ltd. boasts, giving it a distinct advantage over the competition.
“We offer a gamut of services, so we can perform from cradle to the grave,” says Denise Ali, COO of Sadhna Petroleum. “We can work with relevant agencies to get approvals, and we also have equipment in place to build drilling locations and access roads. Through our internal capacity and our partnering, we’re able to provide a full gamut of services and plans.”
No roadways lead to Kiyuk Lake in Nunavut, Canada, where the summers are warm and winter temperatures average a bone-chilling 20 below zero F. Despite those rough conditions, the Prosperity Goldfields Corp. team endures both seasons in the hope that its explorations will lead to a gold mine.
Explorer and company President Adrian Fleming has been working in the mining industry for nearly 40 years. In that time, he has been fortunate to be a member of three different teams that turned mineral exploration into a mining project. “Once you have had a bit of exposure to a project that gets through to the point of being a mine, it’s addictive,” Fleming says. “I work for drill fixes. It gets the blood going and you want to do it over again. It’s such a blast.”
Some companies take oil and gas properties and drain them of their resources, but Opal Resources LLC takes a far different approach. President Rick Lester explains that the Houston-based firm specializes in developing properties and selling them to others so they can exhaust the resources.
“We look for selling opportunities,” he explains. “We don’t look to amass assets and create large reserves. We’re looking to create value in a niche, [and] where we create value is in early project development.”
Based in Houston, Opal has historically sourced and developed projects in Texas before selling them to larger companies. Lester co-founded the company in 2007, with equity commitments from Goldman Sachs. Today, Opal employs a staff of 10 workers. “We’re a small group,” Lester says. “We’re not carrying a whole lot of overhead, so we’re fairly nimble on our feet.”
Mohawk Energy has had its work cut out for it since 2004, when it entered the expandable tubular products market. As Vice President Scott Benzie explains, the small start-up faced some serious competition right out of the gate, going up against heavily-capitalized giants. “The biggest challenge would be our competitors,” he says. “They had a lot of weight behind them.”
However, Mohawk Energy has a lot going for it. Even though the Houston-based company doesn’t have the same level of financial resources behind it as some of its competitors, Mohawk Energy has a strong base of unique technology, a devoted team focusing on delivering the best product to the operator and entrepreneurial spirit that Benzie says has helped it create a niche for itself in a highly competitive market. Mohawk Energy may be one of smallest in its sector, but Benzie says the company has more than enough advantages to keep it running strong for a long time.