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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: PRA offers superior geoscience, engineering, project management

Seventy-member professional team to celebrate PRA’s 11th anniversary advising Alaska’s petroleum industry

PRA’s professional staff includes more than 70 of the most competent, experienced oil and gas professionals in the Alaska E&P business. It is known for technical and ethical excellence and as a premier oil and gas consulting company. PRA provides integrated teams or individuals to help clients address the challenges of exploring and developing oil and gas in all of Alaska’s basins.

Q. Where is your company located?

 

A. Our offices are at 3601 C Street, Suite 822, Anchorage, AK 99503.

 

Q. When was the company founded? Who founded it, and what was its original name?  

 

A. PRA was founded in 1997 by Tom Walsh, Chet Paris, Chantal Walsh, Bob Ravn and Doug Dickey. It is an independent Alaska-owned corporation.

 

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

 

A. The two managing partners are Tom Walsh and Chris Livesey.

 

Q.  What is PRA’s primary business sector? What services does the company offer?

 

A. Our primary business sector is oil and gas exploration and development. We offer geoscience, engineering, project management, and management consulting services. To learn more about PRA’s capabilities, we invite people to visit our website (www.petroak.com) or contact Tom Walsh or Chris Livesey, managing partners, at 907-272-1232.

 

Q.  Who are the company’s main clients?

 

A. PRA has master service agreements to provide technical staff for short or long-term projects with most of the oil and gas companies active in Alaska, as well as several state and federal government agencies and Native corporations. Master service agreements (MSAs) are contracts between client companies and vendors to provide specified services to the client – in our case technical professional consultants or contractors. With an MSA in place, the client has the flexibility to acquire temporary technical professional assistance with a one-page work order.

 

Q.  How many employees does your company have?

 

A. We have 70 employees in Alaska.

 

Q.  Describe your essential equipment in general terms.

 

A. We have a computer network and applications to perform reservoir geoscience and commercial modeling and risk analysis. We also have an extensive well log database.

 

Q.  Is your company expanding any of its operations?

 

A. We have been expanding steadily since 1997 in terms of number of employees and diversity of skills offered.

 

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

 

A. Our strength is the knowledge and skill of our employees. Most of our technical professionals have 20-30 years’ experience in the Alaska oil and gas business, and we have expertise ranging from new basin geologic evaluation to production and transportation issues.

 

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

 

A. PRA has been working with the North Slope Borough providing support for management of the Barrow Gas Fields. PRA has recently completed phase 1 of a study assessing the potential resource value of methane hydrates associated with the Barrow Gas Fields, and is embarking on a second phase of the study in which the Borough will drill one or two methane hydrate test wells. This is very exciting, cutting edge work, and the potential positive impact for the Borough and for global hydrate research effort is tremendous.

 

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

 

A. We have invested significantly in our well log database, providing access to much-needed oil and gas well information across the state.

 

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

 

A. Attracting and retaining people in a volatile market. We have a very flexible and generous compensation package that has helped to attract and retain key people through the years.

 

Q.  What do you see as future trends or opportunities for your company?

 

A.  The eventual sanctioning of a gas pipeline to deliver North Slope natural gas to market will have profound effects on the oil and gas business, and we expect to see significant growth in the need for technical professionals in the upstream and downstream sectors. The need for experienced contractors is growing along with the activity level (spending), primarily because it provides flexibility to both the client and the contract professional.  

 

Q. What is the most humorous story from your company’s years in the business in Alaska?

 

A. A very heated argument once took place between two of the original partners at a downtown Anchorage restaurant during a busy lunch hour. The outcome had very positive results for the company, but not so for the restaurant, which went out of business shortly thereafter. Its demise, we were told, could have been unrelated.

 

Q.  Does your company have an anniversary or other landmark eve coming up? If so, describe.

 

A. We celebrated our 11th anniversary this past summer. 

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

 

A. It’s about five years and growing. We are always in the market for qualified technical professionals who can bring value to our clients.

 

Q.  What is your company’s safety record?

 

A. Our safety record is perfect. We have had no workers’ compensation claims and no lost-time accidents in eleven years. 

Q.  Does your company maintain a web site?

 

A. Yes we do. It is www.petroak.com

 



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