Artesia, N.M., Contractor Builds Locations for Oil, Gas Industry

April 9, 2013

Carl and Gwenetta Morgan have weathered the ups and downs of New Mexico’s oil and gas industry for almost 20 years. When the industry fell into a deep slump a couple of years ago, they knew how to survive.

“It was rough, but we knew eventually it would turn around and it is improving,” said Gwenetta, vice president of Morgan Tools Co., LLC. “In fact, we started the business during one of the toughest times for the oil and gas industry, and we got through it because we focused on a particular need and set out to be known for filling that need with an emphasis on customer satisfaction.”

That has helped Morgan Tools develop a reputation as one of the premier oil and gas service companies within a 100-mile radius of the company’s base in Artesia. The Morgans specialize in oil- and gas-well pad construction that often includes building a road to the pad and constructing ponds that are used during drilling-completion operations.

“Our services start with staking and putting the site to grade, which can involve hauling in caliche, if needed, for the road and pad,” explained Carl. “If the oil or gas well is a dry hole, which is not the case very often, we will come back and return it to its original state. We offer the same after a well has been plugged and abandoned. Most of the work we do is for customers we have worked with for years, including some of our very first.”

A welder by trade, Carl started Morgan Tools by offering those services. Because he also had experience running heavy equipment, turning to grading and excavation work was natural. Some of the first jobs he did involved digging out old, plugged and abandoned wells so they could be re-entered.

“It was often tough and dangerous work, but it allowed customers to see that Carl was willing to do whatever it took to get the job done,” Gwenetta said. “It is still that way. If a customer comes to us with a project that needs to be done within a certain time frame, our goal is to meet it.”

“Outstanding group”

The Morgans say their staff takes the same approach. “We are a small business, but we can do sizeable projects because our staff is as conscientious about customer satisfaction as we are. They are an outstanding group of employees,” reported Gwenetta.

“We have several longtime, key employees who are supervised by Stephen Wilson, our foreman, who’s been with Morgan Tools for almost its entire history.”

Komatsu, Road Machinery play role in success

“A breakdown with a competitive brand we previously used led us to Komatsu,” Carl recalled. “We had a practically brand-new dozer that broke down. The dealer could not seem to get it fixed, which caused significant downtime. I asked the dealer to bring me something to replace it. Sure enough, they did. They drove up with this old Komatsu dozer with about 6,000 hours on it. I did not think it would even be able to get off the trailer because it looked like it had been quite abused. But that machine fired up and it did not miss a beat. I told myself right then, ‘If Komatsu makes equipment like this, I am going to have to get some.’ Now, that is all I run.”

Morgan Tools currently has three Komatsu dozers, including a new Tier 4 Interim D65-17. “The Komatsu is far superior to anything else we have run, both in terms of productivity and longevity,” Carl pointed out. “For comparison, over the same period of time that our competitive dozers would have needed tracks replaced, our Komatsus still have at least 50 percent of their track life left. That is a huge difference.

“I am very impressed with the improvements made on the new D65-17,” he continued. “The Sigma blade allows more ground to be moved during a longer push. Because the ground we move can be hard, we use the ripper quite often, and the D65 has the power to get through it.”

In addition to dozers, Morgan Tools has a GD655 motor grader, a PC200LC-8 excavator and a WA320 wheel loader, all purchased from Road Machinery, LLC’s El Paso branch with the help of Account Manager Gabe Mendivil. The new D65-17 dozer’s services are covered under the new Komatsu CARE program that provides complimentary scheduled maintenance service by the distributor for three years or 2,000 hours and complimentary Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter exchanges for two times on Tier 4 Interim machines. Road Machinery handles service on the other Komatsu pieces through a service agreement.

“The service agreement is very valuable because it ensures our maintenance is done on time,” said Carl. “Road Machinery tracks our equipment with KOMTRAX and sets up the services at our convenience. I also like that they track our machine usage with KOMTRAX. The service we get from Gabe and Road Machinery has contributed to our success.”

In it for the long haul

The Morgans have seen many peaks and valleys over the years, but have seen increased activity in the oil and gas industry within the last few months. “There are vast oil and gas resources here and we are confident that the industry will continue to grow,” said Gwenetta. “And as long as there is a demand for our business services, we will be here ... we are here for the long haul.”