The Value of Oilfield Partnerships

Home News Updates The Value of Oilfield Partnerships

September 24, 2020

The Value of Oilfield Partnerships During a Pandemic

There is no argument among our industry that 2020 has been a year for the record books, and it is a notion that we at High Roller Sand (HRS) agree with wholeheartedly. It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to have the foresight in place 12 months ago to be prepared for everything that the events of the current year have imposed upon our industry. Nevertheless, time has proven that the core principles upon which HRS was founded, and strives to maintain each day, can weather the storms of demand disruptions and perilous pandemics. Our principles of quality, consistency, and reliability are the litmus test by which we weigh each decision and manage each action. Ultimately, we began to see that 2020 was not really doom and gloom, but was an amazing opportunity in disguise. An opportunity to set our goals and expectations higher while learning to be leaner and more efficient.

While our commitment to quality, consistency, and reliability may be most associated with our customers, products, and service, it in fact began much earlier in the process than most would think. Before we ever purchased property or conducted resource analysis, we determined being leaders in the regional frac sand industry would require us to place quality at the top of our list. We also knew that the customers we chose as our partners would have to be carefully managed and sustainable for the long term, not just the rush. Everyone needed sand, and the prices were ridiculously high. We had a choice – maximize the short-term gain or develop a business for the long haul. Having already built and sold our first in-basin sand plant, we knew that this plant would need to be better and that the customer relationships would need to stand the test of time. Since everyone in this region of West Texas was starting with essentially the same raw product, we knew that the level of quality that would separate us would need to extend well beyond the small silica grains that wind and time had congregated. Thus, this formed the beginning of our plant leadership.

Long before the first piece of equipment arrived at the plant site, we were building a management team of leaders who shared the same principles that we did. Leaders who could, and would, adopt our vision as their own and propagate it through our entire team until we each shared a singular goal…to be the best. Our plant manager, Roy Perez, our assistant plant manager, Bill Scott, our Sales Manager, Danny Gasser, and our controller, Miranda Turner have done just that with the help of a talented and committed staff of individuals who have proven over and over again that they are willing to do what it takes to get the job done right. It is only for lack of space that we do not list each name on our amazing team. In the economic climate of 2020, these team members have been challenged to think outside of the box and search for efficiency in all aspects of our process, and they did just that. From Mining, Production and all the way through our Finance, HR, Marketing and Sales teams, no item was too small and no gain too insignificant to overlook.

Our commitment to our principles extended to our suppliers. When searching for organizations to design and construct our processing plants, we met with several firms and toured many operations to determine the best fit for our goals. Ultimately, we chose two different EPC companies and split the task between our washing and drying processes.

For our wash plant we chose to work with Raw Resources Group (RRG) out of West Virginia. RRG proposed a design that simplified the washing process by going vertical. The design would utilize larger pumps than what would normally be found in the beginning of the process. This design would elevate the product to the top of a large structural steel frame so that the efficiency gains of gravity could be captured to reduce the number of moving parts versus what would be found in a more orthodox system. The results of the design have been made manifest through decreased maintenance and increased uptime. From the beginning we pushed the plant to find the bottlenecks, and as expected, we found opportunities for improvement. RRG was committed to being part of that process and part of the solutions. When we saw that the demand for frac sand would begin to drop earlier this year, we worked side by side with them to implement the remedies that would allow us to get the absolute highest performance from our asset and be prepared for when the market rebounded and demand increased.

For our drying, classifying, and storage solutions, we chose to work with Industrial Accessories Company (IAC) from Mission, Kansas. This was due in large part to the complete involvement of their leadership team beginning at the very onset of our inquiries. From the owners to the field technicians, it was clear that IAC was committed to delivering a plant to us that would meet or exceed our expectations. Following the successful start-up and commissioning processes, IAC continued to work alongside us to make sure that their products performed at their best. If they saw an area for potential gain, or if they had “lessons learned” from other projects, they would work with us to implement those. They certainly made clear the value of a vendor partner who is willing to stand behind their products.

For our customers, we chose a small mix of Service company leaders and strong E&P partners. We needed to ensure our long-term commitment to over-deliver on our promises was respected and mutually recognized. The partnerships we have with our customers have proven the unique oilfield mantra that relationships can matter, if both sides are fair, loyal, and honest in their intentions and execution during good times, and bad.

What has all of this culminated in? Our customers demand the best quality and they require that we be consistent, cost effective and reliable. Our equipment and our vendors play a key role in that, but we cannot underscore enough the value of our team. We have a safety record that is among the top in the industry, and our employee turnover is among the lowest. All these things coalesce to produce a team that experienced the lowest disruption of operating schedules in the Permian basin during the historic downturn of early 2020. We take great pride in this fact which was reported by Infill Thinking, in September, 2020.

Having said that, it’s not recognition that we’ll hang our hat on but we will use it as a reminder of what it takes to get here, and more importantly, what it will take to continue to improve.