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Vol. 14, No. 4 Week of January 25, 2009
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Arctic Directory: From urban port expansion to enhanced oil recovery projects, Udelhoven sets standards for excellence

Udelhoven’s project managers, engineers, quality assurance inspectors, startup technicians and other specialists form proud, dependable team

Q. When was Udelhoven Oilfield Service Co. founded? Who founded it, and what was its original name?


A.  It was founded in 1970 by James Udelhoven in Kenai, Alaska. Its original name was Udelhoven Oilfield System Services, Inc.

Q. Where is your company located?

A.  Our operations are in Anchorage, Nikiski, Prudhoe Bay, and Houston, Texas.

Q.  Who heads up your company and who is on its senior management team?

 A.  James Udelhoven is CEO, Jim Gilbert, president, Tim Jacques, senior vice president, Milton Allen, vice president, and Cathy Duxbury is controller/CFO.

Q.  What is your primary business sector, and what services do you offer?


A.  Sixty percent of our revenue is from the oil patch; the other forty percent is from construction work, i.e. mechanical, plumbing and electrical, usually as a subcontractor. We do work in the commercial, industrial and private sectors as well as on military bases and various airports around the state. We supply project management personnel to the producer companies, which includes project engineers, quality assurance inspection services, functional checkouts and facility startup technicians and engineers.

Q.  Who are the company’s main clients?


A.  They are BP, ConocoPhillips, Marathon, Chevron, Tesoro, XTO and Pioneer on the energy side, and  Alcan General, Neeser, Osborne, Watterson, UIC and the Unit Company on the construction side.

Q.  How many employees does Udelhoven have? How many in each of its locations?

A.  We have 100 in Anchorage, 140 in Nikiski, 180 at Prudhoe Bay/North Slope and 100 in Houston — so 520 total.

Q.  Does your company have subsidiaries? If so, what services do they provide?


A.  We recently purchased True North Management LLC.  They are a provider of project management personnel to the producer companies. TNM was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary under Udelhoven Oilfield System Services.

Q.  Describe your essential equipment in general terms.


A.  We have about 150 equipment items, from light duty trucks to heavy equipment, i.e. backhoes, loaders, telehandlers and a D6 or two.

Q.  Is Udelhoven expanding any of its operations and/or locations?

A.  We have seen growth in our company at the rate of 10 to 15 percent per year, by continuing to do what we do best, which is offer a quality product and high-quality personnel. Whether it is building a school in Bush Alaska or managing a multi-million- dollar project to enhance oil recovery, we put our best assets (our people) to work on it until completion. We work in China, offshore, and Tbilsi, Georgia, a former Soviet state, doing project management and functional checkout activities.

Q.  Is the company changing any of its services?

A.  We continue to be a service-oriented company, and in that we strive to compete on a level playing field.

Q.  What is your company’s main strength, i.e. its edge over the competition?

 A.  Our owner’s integrity which guides us in all of our business dealings.

Q.  What new markets, clients and/or projects did your company attract in the last year?

 A.  We have seen an expansion of our work with the independents as they come into the state. We purchased a majority ownership in a company that specializes in software applications for industrial projects and we’re currently using that on two major projects.

Q.  Has the company invested in any new technology in the last two years?

 A.  We’ve performed some upgrades to our job costing/accounting system which is moving into a Windows environment. We’ve also invested in a software tool that helps us perform functional checkout on production facilities for our oil and gas clients.

Q.  What is the most challenging job the company has undertaken?

 A.  All of our jobs are challenging; it would be hard to pick just one.

Q.   What are the biggest obstacles to completing work the company undertakes?  

A.  With the changing political scene there are many obstacles, some of them go by initials like DNR.

Q.   What do you see as your company’s biggest challenge in the next five years?


A.  Finding qualified personnel to do the work.

Q.  What do you see as future trends or opportunities for your company from, say, political events or long-term weather fluctuations?  

 A.  We operate in the Arctic, so we are accustomed to weather and the adverse effects it can bring to a project. As mentioned, we are also very concerned about the current political situation and how it affects the gas pipeline project. Alaska needs the gas line; it is as simple as that. But we don’t seem to be able to bridge the political chasm that exists between reality and the government. The U.S. must become more energy independent, and continuing to lock up ANWR and failing to build the gas pipeline are counterproductive to achieving that independence.

Q.   Is there a humorous story you can share from your company’s years in business in Alaska?

 A.  A guy calls me one day and asks whether he will need a passport to work in Alaska.  I tell him it probably wouldn’t hurt.

Q.  Does your company have an anniversary or other landmark event coming up?

A.  In 2010 we will have been in business 40 years.

Q.  What is the average length of time employees work for the company? Are you hiring for any positions?

 A.  Overall the average is 4.3 years, but management has a 13-year average. Yes, we are always hiring.

Q.  What is your company’s safety record?


A.  Excellent. We are coming up on six million man-hours without a lost-time accident.

Q.  Does your company or its partners or subsidiaries maintain websites?

A.  They are:,, and

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