Saturday, May 31, 2008

Boom Brands

I just got back from the Permian Basin and the joint is jumpin’. Barbara and I traveled up to Denver on US 87 through Amarillo and back to Houston through eastern New Mexico to Fort Stockton, then I-10 homeward. I don’t think we drove from one horizon to another without seeing at least one workover under way, sometimes more. Probably isn’t a single truck-mounted rig or vac truck west of the Mississippi that’s available for new work.

At yesterday’s close, oil is $127 a barrel and gas is $11.70/MMBtu. Activity is up everywhere, from the Permian Basin of west Texas to the Barnett Shale of north central Texas and eastern New Mexico as well as in the dusty Panhandle and the Anadarko Basin of western Oklahoma. With so much money on the table, you’re looking at recompletions, infill drilling, installation of secondary recovery projects – and everything else that’ll squeeze more oil and gas out of existing reservoirs.

For energy-related brand-watchers, it’s a boom time. It’s no surprise to see the “bigs” like Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes.

But, e.g., I ran into a long-time colleague at OTC: Donna Smith is now Director of Communications for Stallion® Oilfield Services. Having thereby raised my consciousness – and thanks to her efforts for the company – I must have spotted every orange-and-black Stallion logo-ed vehicle and field office from Centerville (outbound) to Ozona (inbound). Key® Energy Services is out there in strength. There are hundreds more contractors and subs out in the field right now and you can play a sort of drive-by brand bingo on the roads out west.

Reading the papers, you’ll recognize that everyone is unhappy with the cost of oil or – more critically – the price of a gallon of gas at the corner station. I’d ask you, as marketers, to think about our “situation” from several, quite different angles.

First, the economic impact of oil and gas prices is creating opportunities for companies (and their employees) nationwide. That’s an economic good…as well as a particularly fine time for strongly branded firms with long-established customer relationships.

Second, this in an excellent period in which you should be building on and communicating the positives of your energy business brand. Let your stakeholders know if you are, in fact, doing well – and why. You’ll be creating a foundation of good brand impressions for the down cycle if and when it comes.

Third – and this is a personal note – maybe once time soon some oil company executive will stand up and ask Dianne Feinstein, “Just what, Senator, is your problem with the concept of profit?”

That’s enough for one weekend. All the best for a great June!

Any omissions or errors are my own. Photo © Jim Parkin

1 comment:

Richard Laurence Baron said...

I realize that most of this activity takes place so far out of the public view that signage is silly. Still, quite a few recompletions and new-well projects are near major US highways, some more traveled than others.

Are there legal reasons why the resource developers, contractors or subs can't do more effective brand-building on site? Or are tiny signs simply the custom "way out west?"