Energold Drilling Corp.
It’s been a wild ride for Energold Drilling Corp. (Energold), as the company grew from just six drilling rigs in 2006 to a staff of roughly 2,500 in 22 countries operating a rig fleet 230 strong. Energold is one of the largest drilling service providers in the world for the minerals and energy exploration markets today. The company’s increasing focus on serving clients in logistically challenging locales continues to fuel its growth.
Energold focused on mineral exploration and mining efforts for roughly half if the company’s history; it was only within the past decade that Energold refocused efforts to become a third-party drilling services provider. More specifically, Energold moved to position itself as a leading expert for highly specialized drilling in frontier areas. Overcoming the inaccessibility of heavily forested areas was just one advantage of Energold’s platform, as the team looked to develop a drilling rig that was both highly mobile and minimally invasive to establish.
“We designed our rigs to be both socially and environmentally sensitive, which has allowed us to penetrate a market that has become increasingly concerned with those two issues,” expands Fred Davidson, president and CEO of Energold. The Energold team anticipated the industry’s shift in focus toward frontier areas and retooled itself to provide a comprehensive range of drilling services.
Breaking It Down
Energold’s mobile drilling units essentially serve as the cavalry units in the exploration and mining industry, establishing operations in highly remote sites, often at high altitudes with little or no connections to conventional logistics and transportation grids. Energold transports each drill rig in modular components by airplane or helicopter wherever possible, or by boat, pickup truck, canoe, mule or by foot if necessary. Energold’s Diamondcore surface drill rigs can be taken apart in roughly 45 minutes and the heaviest component weighs just 400 pounds and roughly 90 percent of the components are interchangeable with Energold’s EGD Underground Rig. By focusing on keeping drill rigs simple and lightweight, Energold is able to employ locals and ultimately provide jobs and social benefits to the surrounding community.
“These rigs can be rebuilt on site, without building any long, extensive roads and with dragging equipment across fields and damaging the environment in the process,” expands Davidson. “In fact, we can literally build the rigs around trees so we can leave the site almost as pristine as when we arrived.”
Energold provides end-to-end drilling services for clients, coordinating international shipments and transportation of equipment from Vancouver headquarters, and relying on its global network of offices for local coordination and on-the-ground support. Given the remote location of Energold’s drilling operations, the local offices can step in to keep the drill rig teams of 15 to 20 people efficiently and safely operating using local suppliers if possible, and flying in the most basic amenities and foodstuffs if necessary.
Reinforcing Robust Growth Potential
Mineral drilling accounts for over half of Energold’s total business, the rest of which is split between manufacturing and energy drilling services. Fellow Canadian-based Bertram Drilling Corp. (Bertram) serves as Energold’s wholly owned subsidiary for all energy related drilling services, especially oil sand coring, geothermal, shot core seismic, pipeline and diamond drilling services. Energold acquired Bertram along with U.K.-based Dando Drilling International Ltd. (Dando) in 2011, adding over 150 years of specialized manufacturing and engineering experience to produce drilling rigs and ancillary equipment for water wells, mineral exploration, and both geothermal and geotechnical applications.
Even before the back-to-back acquisitions, Energold’s organic growth rate hovered around 33 percent annually. The company plans on pursuing an even more robust expansion into new markets, given the potential of both newly acquired subsidiaries. “Our increased capabilities and engineering experience on the manufacturing side will allow us to bring Dando’s very big, very complex multipurpose rigs to areas with dramatic growth in recent years like West Africa,” expands Davidson.
Anticipating Tomorrow’s Trends
The company’s combined capabilities will provide enough diversity to enable a swift shift in gears should certain markets fizzle out and new niche markets emerge. Energold’s seismic services have taken off in the Marcellus Shale region, but the company is also keeping an eye on mineral exploration activities in the western part of the country where it already operates some geothermal drilling units out of an office in Billings, Mont.
Even as the manufacturing arm gears up for significant growth, Energold’s energy division is gearing up for the impending explosion of pipeline drilling. “The simple fact is that the world needs oil and western Canada has huge oil reserves, but it’s landlocked, so it’s really a question of when and not if those pipelines will be built,” concedes Davidson. “We’re currently one of the larger suppliers to the oil sands area in Alberta and our target is to become one of the top five in the world, which I believe we’re quite capable of achieving in the next five years.”
Energold isn’t going to rule out the possibility of further acquisitions that would aid in that growth either. Armed with a diverse array of capabilities and global network of talented professionals, Energold Drilling Corp. has positioned itself to continue leading the drilling industry, while setting the standard in socially and environmental sensitive exploration.