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Vol. 12, No. 44 Week of November 04, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

PETROLEUM DIRECTORY: HC Price: On the leading-edge of engineering, procurement and construction projects

Mechanical/electrical-related pipeline projects, electrical power and process facilities and infrastructure installations in Alaska and the Lower 48 represent HC Price Co.’s core competency

While not a company with a high-profile general public presence, HC Price Co. concentrates its resources on recruiting and retaining the most qualified and experienced professionals, providing good value to its customers and maintaining its record of a solid 32-year performance.

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

A. HC Price has distinguished company origins. The company has been in business for 86 years and was established utilizing new technology for the time that has now been adopted as an industry standard. The company was founded as HC Price in 1921 when Hal Price borrowed $2,500 to pursue the development of electric arc welding in Bartlesville, Okla.

Q. Where is the company located?

A. The corporate headquarters for HC Price Co is in Dallas, Texas. We have regional division offices in Iowa, Alaska, and Nisku, Alberta. The Alaska regional office was established in 1975 during construction of Section 3 of the trans-Alaska Pipeline.

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

A. HC Price Co. is led by Charles Price (third generation and grandson of Hal Price) chairman; Tom White, president; and Mike Langston, executive vice president. David Matthews is the vice president and Alaska area manager.

Q. Describe any partnership arrangements and when they became effective.

A. HC Price Co. responds to projects, both independently and in partnership or consortiums where appropriate to the client or project scope. These relationships historically have been project-specific. In 2006, we initiated a partnership with an Alaska regional Native corporation and anticipate making a public announcement in the fourth quarter, 2007. We have on-going strategic working arrangements and terms with companies involved in engineering, equipment, contractors, financiers, vendors, etc.

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

A. In Alaska the company’s business is about 50 percent new pipeline construction and 50 percent heavy mechanical and electrical facility construction. In the Lower 48, around 90 percent is new large-diameter pipeline construction and 10 percent mechanical facility construction. In Canada, around 70 percent is new large-diameter pipeline construction and 30 percent is maintenance work for oil and gas and tar sands projects. We are pioneers in the pipeline construction field, bringing innovations to the industry in welding (first to use electric arc welding), shield arc welding, removable back-up rings and the “stove pipe” method of welding around a pipe, as well as the first to use pipeline coating systems for buoyancy control.

Our services include logistics planning, budgeting, constructability reviews, engineering coordination, procurement, schedule management, construction management, subcontractor management, and construction execution.

Q. Who are the company’s main clients?

A. Multi-national energy companies, independent oil and gas companies, oil and gas transmission companies, electrical cooperatives and governments.

Q. How many employees does your company have?

A. Like most companies of our type, employment levels vary dramatically based upon the scope of the projects and stage of completion we are undertaking. In 2007, we have employed more than 500 in Alaska, while our corporate employment for the same period is more than 1,500.

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

A. RMS Welding in Edmonton, Alberta, offers mechanized welding systems for large-diameter pipeline construction including sales, service, rentals, and technical support.

Q. Describe your essential equipment in general terms. Purchases planned?

A. We own specialized equipment necessary for large-diameter pipeline construction. A common industry measure for pipeline companies’ capabilities is expressed in its equipment capacity, called spreads. This includes the necessary fleet of equipment to support and outfit a large-diameter cross-country pipeline construction project. In the Lower 48 and in Canada, we have two spreads each. In Alaska we have a specialized smaller spread. Our Alaska equipment fleet is designed for Arctic conditions and for work in the building and trades type projects. This year HC Price Co. is investing in increasing its equipment capacity by 30 percent by developing a third spread in the Lower 48.

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

A. As mentioned, we are adding a third spread of equipment to the Lower 48. This is a very large equipment investment. We routinely move equipment to and from our project locations as projects require. The large-diameter pipeline construction business in the Lower 48 is robust and is expected to remain so for the next several years. Accordingly, we are working with our clients to prepare for these projects.

Q. Is the company changing any of its services?

A. In Alaska, we see a value to clients by being involved during the planning and budgeting of projects, vs. the construction execution phase only. We have considerable EPC experience that clients have not fully utilized. We have developed these expanded capabilities for several years and plan to fully make our clients aware of what this can mean to their project timelines and bottom line.

Q. What is your company’s main strength?

A. HC Price Co. has been in the construction field longer than many of our competitors and clients and has pioneered many industry standards for quality and safety. Our company size and structure also offer the access and flexibility to respond to clients’ unique project requirements which increases our value to clients.

We are a lean, capable organization that understands risk and project execution.

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