Company Spotlight
(Source: Frank’s International)
Frank’s International on safety and digitalization
President & CEO Michael Kearney discusses its upcoming Expro combination, automated solutions and the industry’s long-term focus.
Ariana Hurtado, Senior Managing Editor, Publications
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ounded in 1938, Frank’s International has been around to see more than a few industry cycles.

The global oil services company provides a broad and comprehensive range of tubular running services, tubular fabrication, and specialty well construction and well intervention solutions with a focus on complex and technically demanding wells.

Oklahoman Frank Mosing originally founded Frank’s Casing Crew in Lafayette, La. “His dedication built this local tubular running services startup into a publicly traded international company providing specialty cementing technologies, downhole service tools, drilling technologies, hammer and slot recovery services, and large OD tubulars and connectors around the globe,” Frank’s International President & CEO Michael Kearney said.

In March, Frank’s International and Expro Group, a privately held international energy services company, announced the companies’ intent to combine in an all-stock transaction expected to close in the quarter ending Sept. 30, according to a company news release. Upon closing, the combined company will assume the Expro Group name and will retain the Frank’s brand name for its well construction solutions.

“We are in the process of combining with Expro Group to better serve our customers with a broader offering and technological capabilities across the well life cycle, with the greater scale and financial strength to support our long-term success,” Kearney said.

In an exclusive interview with E&P Plus, Kearney dives deeper into this recently announced combination, overcoming industry and pandemic-related challenges, and its current R&D projects.

E&P Plus: Based on the recent announcement of the combination with Expro Group, how does that affect the path forward for the combined organization?
Kearney: Our anticipated combination with Expro Group will only bolster our plans. This transaction will create a more resilient company with even more financial strength and the ability to capture more opportunities in a cyclical market. While Expro provides well access, well flow optimization and well intervention services, Frank’s offers tubular running services, tubular fabrication, cementing equipment, drilling tools and specialty well construction solutions. This means our companies’ service offerings are largely complementary, so we can offer a full suite of solutions across the well life cycle.

We will also have exposure to global offshore and onshore markets, plus a healthy balance between customers’ capital and operational spending. If you underpin all of this with a very strong balance sheet and enhanced liquidity position, it adds up to resiliency, service quality and innovation. This is what excites me about this proposed transaction.

E&P Plus: How has Frank’s International been able to optimize its business during these challenging times?
Kearney: Frank’s International operates in approximately 40 countries on six continents and provides diversified products and services across both onshore and offshore markets. This broad offering and wide footprint allow us to meet our customers’ complex needs across the globe. In the wake of COVID-19 and other economic impacts, our customers have turned to our unique digital, automated and integrated solutions that directly address the new safety and efficiency challenges our customers are facing. As we have further diversified our assets and revenue, we have maintained a strong balance sheet, which has served us well during the pandemic.
Portrait photo of Michael Kearney in a black suit with a green tie
“Digitization, automation and intelligent machine learning are all core to the future of our industry.”
—­ Michael Kearney, Frank’s International
E&P Plus: What is the No. 1 challenge your clients are facing in the field right now?
Kearney: Our priority has been to support our customers’ safety, and that is even more paramount in these challenging times. This is followed closely by the need to increase efficiencies at the rig site to save on rig and other operational costs. Our digital, automated and intelligent solutions address these concerns. Reducing the number of personnel on board (POB), especially in the red zone, reduces inherent risks and costs not only at the rig site but also on road, helicopter, plane and marine travel. It also reduces the equipment footprint on the rig and maintenance downtime. For example, our CENTRI-FI technology consolidates the controls for our tubular running equipment into one single, remotely operated digital tablet, which allows for increased efficiency and safety for our personnel.
E&P Plus: Does the company have any R&D projects in the works right now? Will you be releasing any new technologies to the market this year?
Kearney: R&D is at the core of Frank’s capabilities, from digitizing our connection make-up solutions to our automated casing equipment and intelligent software applications. Our technology continues to enhance safety and efficiency for our customers. In fact, enhancing technology is a core component of our proposed combination with Expro Group. Once combined, our R&D function will be further strengthened and will allow us to participate more in energy transition and contribute to a lower carbon future. We have proven to be leaders in technological development and expect to announce new technologies as they become available.
E&P Plus: As a leader yourself in the oil and gas industry, what do you see as the path forward from here?
Kearney: The industry is extremely resilient and creative, solving some extremely difficult challenges to provide affordable energy to the world. Digitization, automation and intelligent machine learning are all core to the future of our industry. That has been and will continue to be our focus for the long-term and is key to unlocking additional safety and efficiency gains. In this current environment, we know that our strong balance sheet, coupled with our culture of innovation, will enable us to continue to invest in our people, operations and technology.