Customers in Action

WCE Oil Field Services

MOVE TO NORTH DAKOTA LEADS TO CHANGE IN FOCUS FOR FORMER RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY

March 17, 2015

Komatsu equipment - increase productivity

WCE Oil Field Services

Two adages seem to apply to WCE Oil Field Services. One, timing is everything. The other, when one door closes, another opens.

About six years ago, Todd Louis started a company that provided earthwork to the residential market of Minnesota, which was right about the time the bottom fell out of the economy. Faced with dwindling work, Louis decided to move to North Dakota and offer the same services – excavation and utility installation – in the booming oil field sector.

“That’s how we started, but within a relatively short amount of time, we transitioned into serving the oil and gas industry exclusively,” said Louis, President and CEO of WCE Oil Field Services. “Our basic values of treating customers right, being honest and getting jobs done in a safe and timely manner has helped us grow. A customer offered us a small excavation job, liked what we did and it grew from there. We had two trucks, a skid steer and a trailer at the time, and things just took off.”

Now WCE Oil Field Services has three divisions and a wealth of work from repeat customers who rely on the company to provide a variety of services. Its Pipeline Division installs midstream and gathering pipeline systems for oil, natural gas and water. A Hydrovac Division provides hydro excavation, which is often used to locate and expose existing pipe, and the Roustabout Division handles facility construction and oil field equipment maintenance.

“We provide everything from constructing tank batteries and setting pump jacks to the associated sites,” said Louis. “We don’t do much in the way of earthwork anymore, other than clearing the right of way, digging trenches for the pipe and covering it. We’re running about 60 crews that handle small to large types of jobs.”

Staff deserves credit

Louis’ initial move brought him to Stanley, N.D. Now WCE Oil Field is headquartered in Fargo, with locations in Dickinson, Watford City and Stanley. The company is building a new facility in Watford City and has plans to build a new office in Stanley later this year.

“We serve the entire Bakken Shale right now, and we’re also building a new location south of San Antonio, Texas, to serve the Eagle Ford Shale,” said Louis. “So, we’ve experienced massive growth in a short amount of time. We’re able to handle the work load because we’ve attracted some of the best workers in the industry. They deserve a great deal of credit for our success and the solid reputation we’ve built with our customers.”

Currently, WCE Oil Field Services employs about 300. According to state records, it’s the fourth-largest employer in Mountrail County, where Stanley is located. A key individual is Director of Fleet Matt Weber, who oversees more than 100 pieces of equipment and more than 80 service trucks.

Komatsu and General Equipment increase productivity

WCE Oil Field Services

WCE Oil Field Services needed a lot of equipment quickly as work in the oil and gas sectors ramped up. Weber called on General Equipment & Supplies and talked with Sales Manager Matt Kern about renting Komatsu excavators.

“We rented a couple of PC240LC-10s, and our operators really liked the power and efficiency, so we continued to add Komatsu pieces through purchase and rental,” said Weber, who’s also purchased light towers and a JCB telehandler from General. “Now we have several excavators, as well as D155 and D65 dozers. We use the dozers to clear the right of way and the excavators for trenching and setting pipe.”

Weber said he appreciates Komatsu’s reliability. “We’re in remote locations, so a breakdown could be a major issue. I have confidence that won’t be the case with Komatsu equipment. I appreciate its reliability, and that’s another reason we keep adding Komatsu machines.

“I also appreciate everything that General and Matt do for us,” he added. “They’ve been great about getting us the equipment we need quickly and backing it with parts and service support when needed. If I need anything at all, I call Matt or anyone else at General, and I know that it will be taken care of.”

All of WCE’s Komatsu pieces are Tier 4 models, so General Equipment & Supplies covers scheduled maintenance complimentary under the Komatsu CARE program, using KOMTRAX to track machine hours and location. Weber also uses KOMTRAX to track hours and location, as well as fuel usage, temperatures and idle time.

“KOMTRAX is an essential tool that allows me to better manage the fleet,” said Weber. “It’s worked so well that we’ve added it to some of the light towers so I can track where those are too. Komatsu CARE is an added-value. It gives me peace of mind that the services we need are done on time and are done right by General’s technicians.”

Gearing up for growth

WCE Oil Field Services

WCE Oil Field Services recently wrapped up its largest project to date, installing 30 miles of 10-inch steel pipe to move oil from Keene, N.D., to New Town, N.D. As with nearly all projects, the company cleared the right of way, put the pipe in the ground at a depth of 5 feet and covered it.

“We don’t really have a typical job, but that particular project is indicative of what we do on the pipeline side,” said Louis. “It was fairly straightforward with little to no challenge. That’s common for us.”

Louis expects a lot more jobs like that moving forward.

“As busy as the oil and gas sector is, I don’t think we’ve hit the full boom yet,” he said. “I anticipate it going strong for quite some time, and that’s why we’re investing in growth, both in North Dakota and Texas. We’re gearing up for larger projects and increasing our service offerings so we can offer our customers even more services than we already do.

“At the same time, we are aware of what got us to this point, which is providing good service and completing projects safely and on time,” he added. “As long as we continue to do that, I believe the sky is the limit for WCE.”