SUNDAY, AUGUST 31, 2008 has been circled on calendars at Precision Drilling Trust for quite a long time. That’s the date when the non-compete agreement with Weatherford International Ltd. expires and Precision can pursue an international growth plan.
It was about three years ago when Precision sold its considerable international business to Weatherford for $2.28billion (U.S.).“I am frustrated that there is a very buoyant market for rigs, but we are having to just get ready,” said Precision CEO Kevin Neveu, 47, after the release of the company’s first-quarter results in late April.
“We have an operations group we are building, we have field superintendents and rig managers lined up, an operations vice-president lined up and we have a sales team that we are building. We are receiving all kinds of inquiries, which we are getting ready to execute on.”
As of March 31, Precision, the country’s largest land driller, owned a fleet of 246 drilling rigs, with 231 in Canada, 14 in the United States and one in Chile, as well as 233 service rigs. At his company’s 2007 annual general meeting in early May, Neveu, who took over the helm in August last year, said retention rates in several key rig positions at Precision is more than 90%.
“As we’re looking forward to 2008 Q3 and Q4 and into next winter, I think our confidence that 2009’s winter will be a very strong winter is growing every day,” he explained. “We do believe that if the industry gets to the level it expects to get to in 2009, we’ll see an uptick during the course of 2008, possibly as early as Q3 but probably no later than early Q4.”
“Precision is very well positioned right now to meet that challenge both in Canada, as we grow in the U.S. and as we look internationally,” he said. “We have the core leadership in place, we have a process to generate employee recruitment and reactivation. We feel very confident about that.”
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