Diversification keys continued growth and helps CMS Oilfield Services provide year-round client support.


When Chris Halgas became president of CMS Oilfield Services amid the burgeoning oil industry boom in 2011, he knew he had to make the company stand out.

CMS Oilfield Services began as a water-hauling service but now offers everything from roll-off trucks, winch trucks, flatbed hauling, super-vac service, drilling rig washdown, lease road flagging and well-site security services to frac tank cleaning and hydroexcavation.

“We’re a little diverse because with the boom of the oilfield business there was a lot of opportunity and it made sense to serve your clients with as many services as you can,” Halgas says.

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CMS Oilfield Services also offers waste removal transport and soon it’ll be expanding into air excavating work.

Currently, CMS has a service area of New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio – the Marcellus and Utica shale plays.

“Business has been extremely good,” Halgas says. “We’re constantly expanding and are now looking to expand outside of Marcellus and Utica.”

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Halgas visited Wyoming in September to research expanding into that region. “The good thing about being a trucking company is we have wheels, so we can expand our operations pretty easy.”

The Fleet

In total, CMS has 66 trucks, including everything from excavators to transport and box trucks.          

“We have excavators, we have transport trucks, meaning Class A tractor-trailers with 130-barrel tanks on them,” Halgas says. “We have 110-barrel tri-axle water trucks that haul water in and out of sites and waste in and out of sites. We have 100-barrel quad-axle trucks for carrying heavier waters and muds in and out of sites.”

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Most of the company’s trucks are Peterbilt 388s, but there are also some Freightliners mixed in with five Macks and five Internationals.

CMS also has two GapVax combo units (HV-57 and HV-57 High Dump) and another on order. Other vehicles include box units, which are used primarily for hot-water washes on rigs and decontaminations on the frac tanks.

“We also have lots of Dragon frac tanks – 500-barrel – that are available for rent to our customers along with light plants,” Halgas says.

The company moved into doing hydroexcavation work about three years ago, starting with the first combo truck they received from GapVax.

“Obviously [hydroexcavation] is big right now and will be big for the next 10 years in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania,” Halgas says. “Really, all over as the infrastructure of the country grows for moving LPG and all the various gasses that need to be moved across the country.”

Halgas says adding hydroexcavators to the company’s menu of services was an important step.

Cleaning Work

CMS Oilfield Services has helped out on spill cleanups and recently worked on a spill in West Virginia for FEMA where they had to deliver potable water. The company delivered the water with its 130-barrel semi-trailers.

Getting those types of jobs can be difficult, but Halgas says it helps to network and know people.

Besides the spill cleanup in West Virginia, the company has also handled jobs for the State of Ohio as well as towing companies.

“Towing companies have used us for spills and oilfield related things, like a sand-can rollover or something like that, which has happened,” Halgas says.

Spill cleanups are not the only cleaning services CMS offers its customers; other services include rig washdowns and frac tank cleaning. Halgas says about 20 percent of the company’s business comes from cleaning jobs.

“We do waterblasting with a 10K, but there are different applications for the waterblasting obviously,” Halgas says. “We have box trucks with 5Ks with heated hot water. We have four of those units right now.

“Every job we do starts with our full-time safety coordinator who has a lot of experience and who inspects the job conditions, equipment needs and sends the appropriately trained personnel and safety equipment to complete the job in a timely manner for the client,” Halgas says. “All of our guys are Safe Land trained. All of our guys are OSHA 10-hour. Our management is OSHA 30-hour, and all of our technicians have confined-space training.”

The safety staff then supervises the actual cleaning work, Halgas says.

“We have lead technicians and regular technicians who will then go in and clean out a tank or go up on a site and do rig washdowns or clean out the cellars or whatever needs to be done on a rig site,” Halgas says.

Keeping Employees Involved

To keep its fleet running, CMS Oilfield Services has 75 drivers, 20-plus flaggers and an eight-person mechanic shop that operates 24 hours a day.

Safety is a big focus with all employees throughout the company.

“We have a vice president of safety compliance who manages the local safety guys and he’s also the one that schedules all of our training,” Halgas says. “We do Safe Land training every two months. We do OSHA 10-hour every month. Confined-space training is as-needed, but it can happen on a daily basis as we’re ramping up.”

Halgas says that members of management, who are trained instructors, conduct the majority of the courses. The one course that isn’t led by management is Safe Land, which is administered by a course instructor who visits often.

Beyond the training exercises, CMS has found other ways to keep its employees involved in daily activities.

“We have an employee of the month program that we’re doing and we’re getting ready to roll out a couple of other programs,” Halgas says. “A lot of them are safety-based, where if they have a certain amount of days without incidents, they get a bonus.”

The truck drivers aren’t left out either. They are involved in a program called Street Smarts in which a Fleetmatics program can monitor the drivers’ speed and driving habits to make sure they are following company policies. “Our vice president of safety, whose name is Bob Evans, thought it would also be fun to hand out Bob Evans gift certificates when certain goals are met.”

“Our company policy is 5 miles per hour under the speed limit and we can tell if they’re following that or blowing stop signs or anything like that,” Halgas says. “We closely monitor it and Bob will hand out awards monthly as they hit goals.”

Staying Busy

CMS also offers a way to help oil and gas companies in the Marcellus and Utica shales keep operating in the snowy, cold winter months.

When Halgas joined the company, he realized pretty quickly that he could bring something to the table that he had plenty of experience with: snow clearing.

“When I first started in business at 18 years old, I had a landscaping company, and I’ve been doing snow plowing every year since,” Halgas says.

After moving to St. Clairsville, Ohio, Halgas saw that many new businesses were opening and many were in remote areas that required snow removal. “I still had all my snow clearing equipment and our customers were asking for it, so I slid my stuff in.”          

It’s a service that helps the company stay busy during the long winter months when things would normally slow down.

“We can keep the sites open with our snow clearing services,” Halgas says. “We have hot water for deicing, we also have different mixes of CL water to keep oilfield and pipeline operations going.”

Halgas says his company also plows and salts roads to allow his trucks through and oil and gas company vehicles moving to and from sites.  

“We are constantly purchasing more equipment to service the expanding needs of our clients,” Halgas says. “That’s what we do every day here: make sure we’ve provided a service that is superior to everyone else and make sure we have the best training for employees so when you call us you get what you need safely and efficiently.”

More Information

Dragon Products, Ltd. - 877/231-8198 - www.dragonproductsltd.com

Fleetmatics - 704/716-7662 - www.fleetmatics.com

GapVax, Inc. - 888/442-7829 - www.gapvax.com


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