LouTex Contractors

SHREVEPORT-AREA PIPELINE FIRM RELIES ON PLANNING AND PEOPLE TO COMPLETE LARGEST JOB TO DATE

Oct 4, 2013

Komatsu equipment - “guaranteed uptime”

In less than a decade, LouTex Contractors has grown from a small company with a handful of employees doing gathering and well-hookup work, to a full-fledged pipeline company with more than 600 people on the payroll. Brothers Anthony and Mike Harvey started the company in 2003 in their hometown of Joaquin, Texas, which sits near the Louisiana state line about 30 miles south of Shreveport, hence the name LouTex. They felt well-prepared to run their own firm, after working as superintendents for several other pipeline contractors for many years.

“Together we had about 50 years of pipeline experience prior to starting LouTex,” said President Anthony Harvey. “I won’t say we thought we’d seen it all, but we had definitely learned a lot. So we felt we had a good idea of what we were getting into and what it was going to take to make the company a success.” The brothers’ business philosophy centers around hard work, honesty and integrity, and perhaps most important, hiring knowledgeable, dependable people who share their work ethic.

“We’ve been fortunate to be able to bring on what we think are some of the top people in this industry,” said Anthony. “My brother Mike, who’s our Vice President, heads up field operations and he’s one of the hardest-working guys you’ll ever find. Superintendents Will Smith and Curtis Mayfield are well-known and well-respected throughout the industry. Project Manager Steven Watson knows how to get business and get things done. We think very highly of all our management personnel. This can be a transient industry, but we try to keep our key field people because they’re the guys who can make or break us.

“Pipeline work is all about getting pipe in the ground, and doing it safely and productively,” he added. “Jobs don’t always go according to plan, so we have to be flexible and be able to respond as challenges arise. I think our ability to overcome obstacles is LouTex’s greatest strength as a company. All the credit goes to our field personnel, including operators and laborers, but especially our foremen and superintendents, who keep things moving forward.”

Parkway Pipeline

LouTex is currently nearing completion of the largest project in its history, the Parkway Pipeline. The total Parkway project is 140 miles long, from a refinery in Norco, La., to an interconnection with existing facilities in Collins, Miss. The project is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan and Valero Energy. LouTex is a subcontractor to Kinder Morgan on the job.

“Our section of the Parkway Pipeline is 105 miles, from the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain to Collins, Miss.,” explained Project Manager Steven Watson. “We’re laying 16-inch pipe and doing the associated earthwork.”

The cost of the entire Parkway Pipeline project is $220 million. It will initially carry 110,000 barrels per day (bpd), with the ability to expand to more than 200,000 bpd, if and when that amount is needed. The pipeline will help supply petroleum products from the Louisiana Gulf throughout the southeastern United States.

“This job puts us at another level as a pipeline company,” said Watson. “Many of our previous jobs were much shorter distances – 10 miles and less. We believe the way we’ve handled this, completing the work on time and on budget, will open doors for us to do other large projects in the future.”

H&E and Komatsu – a winning equipment combo

Doing a job like the Parkway Pipeline requires a large amount of equipment, and the machines have to work day-in and day-out.

“Downtime isn’t an option,” emphasized Watson. “We’re out in the middle of nowhere so service calls could be problematic. But the biggest issue is that we can’t afford to wait for a machine to be fixed. We have time lines to meet and pipe to put in the ground. There are no excuses. Our job is to get it done. To accomplish that, we need equipment that works.”

After checking out potential suppliers, LouTex selected H&E Equipment Services to be its primary supplier. That’s because H&E agreed to significantly beef up its rental fleet, including adding two dozen new Komatsu hydraulic excavators, specifically for LouTex and the Parkway job.

“Having access to brand-new Komatsu PC240LC-10s and Komatsu PC290LC-10s was a big deal to us because it virtually guaranteed we’d get the uptime we had to have,” said Watson. “H&E really stepped up to the plate for us because it’s a big investment on their part too. Adam Weaver, our H&E Rental Rep out of Bossier City, was instrumental in making it happen, as was H&E Regional Vice President John Engquist Jr. We were very pleased with the way H&E responded to our need, and the Komatsu excavators have been great.”

In addition to the 22 Komatsu PC240s and PC290s, LouTex also rented three PC360LC-10s, five PC200s and two PC210s, as well as three Komatsu dozers (two D65s and a D61) and a WA380 Komatsu wheel loader, all for the better part of a year.

“We were confident in Komatsu equipment,” confirmed Watson. “We’ve used it before and have high regard for it. Our operators speak highly of it too. But the bottom line is that any machine is only as good as the dealer supplying it, and H&E is very good. They were even willing to go so far as to put service techs on site with us throughout the job had we needed them, but with the uptime we’ve gotten from such a new rental fleet, that was never necessary. But it’s a good example of how H&E was willing to work with us to help us make this a successful project for LouTex.”

The machines were rented through the Bossier City branch, which is nearest to LouTex’s company headquarters, but the job is actually closer to H&E’s Kenner and Jackson, Miss., branches. “Both of those stores, led by James Brown in Kenner and Greg Tubb in Jackson, and especially PSSR Adam Coleman from Jackson, did an excellent job of putting the equipment out and helping me support LouTex,” said Weaver. “This was a true H&E team effort.”

Optimistic about future

Looking to the future, President Anthony Harvey is optimistic about the pipeline industry and LouTex’s place in it.

“As a nation we’re dependent upon energy, and at least for the foreseeable future, that means oil and natural gas,” said Anthony Harvey. “Pipelines are a key component in getting raw material to refineries and refined product out to customers across the country. We believe there will be lots of new pipeline construction in the years to come.

“At LouTex, especially with our successful work on the Parkway Pipeline, we believe we’re well-prepared and well-positioned to do projects large or small, anywhere in the U.S.,” he added. “In addition to Texas and Louisiana, we’ve worked in neighboring states such as Arkansas and Mississippi, as well as such distant states as New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. We’ll go almost anywhere for the right job. And as long as we continue to deliver a quality, on-time project for the customer, I’m optimistic we’ll be able to continue to grow in the years to come.”