Leading with Integrity
As one of the most exciting players in energy’s E&P sector, the newly rebranded Gravity Oilfield Services is proving that agility is the key to growth
Author Terry Pratchett once wrote that a rock has no detectable opinion about gravity. True enough, but we know of an enterprise that has very deep feelings about rock and the bounty that dwells beneath it: Gravity Oilfield Services of Midland, Texas.
Gravity, which is backed by affiliates of Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., is the union of two major oil and gas service providers in the fabled Permian oil and gas producing basin: Globe Energy Services, L.L.C., based in Midland, and Light Tower Rentals, Inc. of Odessa, Texas. In 2017, the firms surrendered to the pull of attraction, creating a dynamic combination of oil field services that includes water infrastructure and logistics, power generation, specialty production chemicals, wellbore, and down hole solutions.
In addition to its strong presence in the Permian, Gravity is active in several major domestic oil and gas producing plays, most notably in America’s largest natural gas field, Appalachia’s Marcellus Shale, and in the rapidly reawakening Bakken shale play, which stretches between North Dakota and Montana.
Shale plays, often referred to as unconventional oil and gas resources, are Gravity’s preferred terra firma. Gravity’s predecessor, Globe Energy, started in the Permian in 1994 and expanded beyond the West Texas basin in 2008 into the aforementioned Marcellus and Bakken shales, as well as into the Denver Basin, Louisiana’s Haynesville Basin, Eagle Ford in Delaware, and into several other significant producing regions.
The company’s impressive presence in the lower 48 is directed by Rob Rice, late of Archrock, Inc. and Exterran Energy Solutions, who became CEO in September of this year.
"I am thrilled to join the team of dedicated professionals at Gravity," Rice said in an announcement. "With Clearlake as its partner, Gravity is formidably positioned to continue executing on its strategy to provide comprehensive water solutions and other oilfield infrastructure services to operators during a time of critical change in the energy sector. I'm excited to join the Company and start executing our compelling growth plan. I believe Gravity is in great position to capitalize on the continued growth and expansion of the oil and gas infrastructure needs we service today."
A Force to be Reckoned With
Producing resources from shale rock requires sophisticated drilling completion and production techniques that use a significant amount of water, power, and chemical treating to bring the energy to market.
Gravity is unique in the sector, offering managed water solutions in addition to the largest private, portable power fleet for the oil and gas business. The firm’s vibrant and growing chemical business rounds out their offerings.
The June acquisition of McKenzie Energy Partners LLC, a contracted inground water management solutions provider based in the Bakken, is expanding Gravity’s capabilities in the processing and transportation sectors of the industry, commonly known as midstream. McKenzie offers their midstream solutions through a network of water-gathering pipelines and water disposal wells.
Gravity builds and runs over 125 miles of dedicated pipeline infrastructure designed to manage high-volume water needs throughout the lifecycle of a well. Extracting energy from shale rock is a notoriously complex and time-consuming process. As Gravity continues its transformation, developing long-term solutions for the sector — and the accordant long-term relationships with their clients — will be key.
The cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry is the stuff of legend, attracting legions with the promise of riches, and spitting out all but the strongest, most dedicated, and well-prepared companies and leaders.
Down cycles can serve as an important strengthening phase for firms like Gravity, who work to excel regardless of market actions. Down cycles weed out weaker competitors, shuttering operations not built for functional and operational excellence. Gravity’s agility enables them to successfully work through market troughs. Now, as the industry pulses upward once more, Gravity is able to smoothly continue their robust growth, thanks to prescient down cycle efforts, such as improving back office processes.
Successfully handling formidably complex safety challenges is one of Gravity’s core capabilities, and is a conversation that never ends in the organization. Protocols include a Stop Work Program that allows an employee to step away from any work situation that could be dangerous to them or others, a meticulous jobsite safety monitoring program, mandatory monthly safety training, and the Job Safety Analysis Program, which, according to the website, “requires all employees to complete a job safety analysis form before each task or delivery and at the end of every day.”
Safety, innovation, and constant development are what have made Gravity so successful, and these are the traits that the company plans to employ to carry it to future success as well.
Gravity is a single-source supplier of oil field services operators needs to go non-stop, from planning through production. Gravity has decades of expertise, deep resources, a large fleet of vehicles and high-performance equipment and an expansive footprint in the major oil and gas producing basins, particularly in the Permian Basin, all of which makes them well-positioned to serve their customers.