Schlumberger broadens its reach in Lonkar purchase

One of Red Deer’s corporate success stories has joined the ranks of oilfield services giant Schlumberger Ltd.

Frank Tirpak

One of Red Deer’s corporate success stories has joined the ranks of oilfield services giant Schlumberger Ltd.

The Lonkar group of companies was acquired by Schlumberger effective Nov. 9. A public announcement concerning the sale was not made, but Lonkar president Frank Tirpak said on Tuesday that the deal involved Lonkar Well Testing Ltd., Lonkar Services Ltd. and Lonkar U.S. Ltd.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Headquartered in Red Deer, Lonkar employs about 330 people and has about 75 active wireline trucks. It operates offices in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Colorado.

“I think we’ve got about 18 different centres,” said Tirpak, who owned Lonkar with his wife Pat.

Claude Durocher, Schlumberger’s vice-president of slickline operations, said Lonkar’s expertise in slickline wireline, cable-conveyed measurement and well-testing services was attractive to his company.

“We have a very limited footprint in these businesses in the Western Canadian marketplace, so the acquisition of Lonkar enables us to extend the provision of these services across the Western Canadian basin.”

Lonkar’s other services are complementary to those provided by Schlumberger, he said, and the two companies have similar corporate cultures.

Tirpak agreed, adding that the ability to offer integrated services is becoming increasingly important.

“It kind of provides all the services that are needed to complete a well and maintain a well,” he said of the combined Lonkar-Schlumberger entity.

Having access to Schlumberger’s global resources will also be beneficial, said Tirpak, including opening the door to new opportunities for expansion and growth.

Lonkar will continue to operate as a stand-alone business, with Tirpak remaining president. He will report to Durocher in Paris.

No significant operational changes are expected for Lonkar, aside from Schlumberger appointing a vice-president of operations and a controller.

Lonkar was founded in 1985 by Dennis Kennett. The Tirpaks and Tim and Lisa Albers bought the business in 1994, with Frank and Pat becoming sole owners in 2006.

Tirpak said his staff has responded positively to the sale, particularly in light of the current economic downturn that has battered the oilpatch.

“To have someone like Schlumberger as a backer, I think it just gives a good frame of mind that you’re working for a very stable company and moving forward.”

Durocher, who was in Houston, Tex., on Tuesday, said despite the industry slowdown his company is optimistic about the future of Canada’s oil and gas sectors.

“In the long term, we’re very confident that the Canadian market will be a major player in the global scheme of things.”

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