January 25, 2013

Local boys lead company benefiting from new finds in Grady County oil

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Everyone loves to hear about hometown boys making it big and Grady County natives Jason Knowles and Bryan Murrell are two that are cutting their way through the energy industry via Environmental Drilling Solutions.

Knowles, the Western U.S. Regional Manager for EDS said the company has become an innovative leader in taking cuttings generated by drilling a new hole, extracting the oil based liquid from the cutting and giving the cuttings back to the energy companies drilling the well to be reused in the drilling process.

Murrell, an operations manager for EDS said this is in no way a new technology, but EDS is the first company to take this process mobile.

"A traditional company would need four sets of equipment to run one rig," he said. "We can all of this with one truck. We have taken an old technology and turned it around."

Knowles said EDS has been using this process since 2009 and has grown from just 15 people working on a mobile unit to 300 people in three years.

"Every year we take on more people," he said.

The mobile trucks allow EDS to do in 30 minutes what would take other companies three days to accomplish according to Murrell.

"It's very efficient equipment," he said. "We just took and old technology and turned it around."

Some areas, like towns in southeast Oklahoma have found an unexpected use for the extract that EDS pulls from the rigs.

"The company down there used this stuff for road bed," Knowles said.

Murrell compared the extractions to the under bed for a gravel road.

"Essentially we are just pulling dirt from a lower geography," Knowles said. "You have to look at like a wash machine on spin cycle. Our vertical dryers extract the fluid leaving behind the excess."

As far as utilizing the remains for road bedding here, Knowles said it's something he thinks the county would have to consider.

"It's really up to the commissioners and I am the sure the EPA would want do some testing to see what's left in the extract before putting the bed down," he said.

Murrell said commonly, the extract contains less oil than the asphalt on the road.

Although both Murrell and Knowles travel around the country to meet the needs of several different clients, both agreed that they could be spending a lot more time in Chickasha in the coming months.

"I would say between now and the end of the summer I expect it (SCOOP excavation) to take off," he said. "Around this time next year we will see a big influx of people."

Murrell said he saw a similar boom on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas after the discovery of the Barnett shale.

"You can expect to see hotels popping up out of the blue and a whole lot of retail," he said.

A similar boom was seen in North Dakota, with the excavation of the Bakken formation according to Knowles.

"What a boom is going to do is take Chickasha from having 17,000 people to 19,000 or 20,000 in a few weeks," he said. "When I was in North Dakota fueling stations actually ran out of gas about every other day and Walmart would run out of food. People were everywhere."

EDS is just one of many flocking toward the SCOOP.