CETCO maintains its focus on wastewater treatment as it grows and expands services.


Going from a small regional operation to a company that now operates in 12 countries globally took some work, but CETCO Energy Services is still focused on its foundation.          

“Water is where we started and still very much a core focus for us, although diverse,” says Greg Norman, vice president of CETCO. “It involves applications from oil and gas production to mining.”          

CETCO Energy Services started out as Gulf States Environmental and from 1995 to 1997 worked as a distributor for AMCOL International. The company focused on water and wastewater treatment.          

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In 1997, AMCOL purchased Gulf States Environmental, marking AMCOL’s entry into the energy sector. Gulf States Environmental did approximately $10 million in sales in 2000 and was also renamed CETCO Offshore.

In 2003, CETCO Offshore became a separately incorporated entity of AMCOL known as CETCO Oilfield Services Company.

“When we started with AMCOL, we were literally 0.1 percent of their gross sales,” Norman says. However, the company grew organically and through acquisitions that expanded its services.

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Well testing and deepwater well testing were added to its list of services in 2004. By 2007, two more companies had been brought into the fold and sales reached $100 million.

Pipeline services were added shortly thereafter, along with a few larger acquisitions. By 2010 coiled tubing had become its largest domestic division. The expanded offerings necessitated rebranding, and in 2013 the company developed into CETCO Energy Services.

“By May of last year we represented nearly a third of AMCOL’s portfolio,” Norman says.

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In May 2014, Minerals Technologies Incorporated (MTI) bought AMCOL.

“When you consider AMCOL, which is the largest bentonite clay mining company in the world, and combine it with MTI, which is the largest precipitated calcium carbonate mining company in the world, it gives us a heck of a mining presence and a core supplier into a variety of different industries,” Norman says.

CETCO Energy Services now has a worldwide presence in over 25 locations and employs approximately 1,000 people.

“We have a very diverse offering in how we deal with water,” Norman says. “As water as a byproduct or liability in many cases, we have dozens of technologies and take time to evaluate every situation as unique and offer the most varied commercial options in any industry. We have programs that allow customers to rent the equipment and personnel as needed, allow for rent-to-own packages or outright capital purchases through our CETCO Process Equipment Division.”

In the energy sector, CETCO recently introduced its consulting group called ORCA (Objective Root Cause Analysis), which takes a holistic approach to solving water problems.

“The evaluations are provided for the entire process, not just isolating what CETCO does,” Norman says. “It’s a great concept and provides great value to our customers even in cases where we have little to gain other than credibility.”

Expanding services

CETCO, which serves the upstream, midstream and downstream markets, has evolved throughout the years.

“We have developed into a solutions provider focused on listening to our customers and solving problems,” Norman says. “It’s this type of approach that leads to repeat business and longevity.”

Some of those expanded services and solutions have included coiled tubing, concrete slurification, nitrogen services, petroleum products, wastewater treatment, pipeline services and well testing to name a few.

The Water Treatment Division at CETCO specializes in water treatment processes and technologies to remove oil, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, solids, toxic materials and other items from a client’s wastewater stream.

“We have a whole family of medias for the smaller applications, from Hi Flow technology to CrudeSorb technology to a variety of medias that can remove things like mercury and arsenic out of water streams,” Norman says.

CETCO Process Equipment is another service the company offers and is considered the capital equipment product line for CETCO Energy Services. CETCO Process Equipment designs, engineers and manufactures various separation technologies for the removal of oil and solids from water produced by the oil, gas and mining industries.

“Technology is a moving target and if you are not investing in thenresearch and development, you are not listening to what your client is requesting and there’s very little doubt that what you have to offer is going to become stagnant, either from a technology standpoint or from an efficiency standpoint,” Norman says. “Continuous improvement is not just a saying for us, it is imbedded in our DNA and supported throughout the MTI organization. Literally thousands of Kaizen meetings are held annually, driven by improvement and communication. This is the exact combination needed to stay ahead of the competition, retain employees and kill complacency.”

Pipeline growth

One area of service Norman sees growing is the Pipeline Division.          

“Pipeline, or what we call the midstream sector of our business, is going to double in size in 2015 and a lot of that growth is due to regulations, but is also driven by our value proposition to key operators and owners,” Norman says. “A majority of the work is integrity and maintenance of the pipeline to improve both safety and throughput.”          

CETCO’s primary focus is getting those assets cleaned and making sure they are properly maintained, Norman says.          

“We offer an ability to design both chemical and mechanical cleaning tools along with project management services to get the job done safely, on time and on budget,” Norman says. “We have a family of technologies here that allow us to minimize the waste displaced from the line during cleaning and in many cases, if water is involved, clean it enough to be discharged back into a river or on land based on specific permit requirements. It’s pretty exciting stuff.”          

CETCO’s Nitrogen Services Division also helps with many of these pipeline applications where purging, blanketing, pressure testing and propulsion of pigs and smart tools may be needed. The company’s fleet of nitrogen equipment can provide flow rates ranging from 1,800 to 880,000 standard cubic feet per hour at temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.          

“Another technology example would involve an application where a pipeline may be plugged due to a stuck pig or hydrate formation,” Norman says. “EelReel allows us to actually get to the obstruction even miles away, and remove the obstruction and get the line back in service.”          

The EelReel is done in conjunction with CETCO’s Coiled Tubing Services and represents a unique state-of-the-art approach, Norman says.        

“The EelReel can reach plugs or stuck pigs greater than 23,000 feet away,” he says.

A growing company

CETCO does not just develop the technology and leave. It has specialized field personnel running and managing each project until completion.          

“Service makes up about 95 percent of our business globally and that means we provide the equipment, the people, the consumables and all the necessary project management and reporting until the project is complete,” Norman says.          

He adds that typically CETCO will have service teams wherever equipment is located, providing 24/7 year-round service. This has helped CETCO expand from its early years by helping those clients and building trust and a proven track record with them.          

“The oil business is a cyclic beast and anybody that’s been here long enough will fully appreciate that,” Norman says. “We started offshore first, but we’ve also diversified a great deal into the onshore shale plays as many other people have done and that’s really because current customers expanded and in many cases asked us to provide certain services in those markets, and we’ve done so.”          

CETCO, over the last 15 years, has averaged about 22 percent calculated growth per year and Norman says a lot of that success is linked to the companies it serves, many of which are among the largest in the business.          

He expects to see even more growth coming through CETCO’s international footprint.          

“Our hope is to selectively expand internationally where we can provide a high value proposition for our clients,” he says.          

Norman also believes CETCO has some of the best employees in the industry.          

“We have become the best only because the people here represent the best and care about their work and one another. It is one of the proudest accomplishments we have as an organization.”

More Information

CETCO Energy Services - 800/527-9948 - www.cetco.com


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