You don’t often hear about a female sociology student at the University of South Alabama who spends her summer vacation working on Alaskan pipelines and decides she enjoys it so much that she stays. Now, 36 years later, she considers it a very long, extended summer vacation.
While it is unusual, this is the story of Candi English, a girl who had received help while working to achieve her dreams in the oil and gas industry and the help she is giving to others she meets along the way. In 1975, she read in Time Magazine about pipelines being built in Alaska. Impressed with the sheer magnitude of the pipeline, she decided to take the trip of a lifetime and head to Alaska during her summer break and get a job as a construction worker. Working in a construction position didn’t intimidate her, as she was born and raised in Florida in a family who owned a small construction business. For her it was just like returning to her roots.
Today arctic conditions are her specialty and she has worked as an Arco Alaska downhole well group and intervention analyst in both Alaska and Canada. For the last 10 years, she has owned and operated a 32-man shop, Northern Solutions LLC, in Anchorage, Alaska that operates third party testing shop as well as specialty designed tools for intervention activities.
Candi says she owes her success in the oil and gas industry to the many people she has met along the way. Stricken with polio at age 2, life has always been a challenge for Candi, but she has a mindset that it isn’t about what she can’t do, but about what she can do. People in Alaska helped open doors for her, because they share a similar belief.
“The people I’ve met and the companies I’ve worked with have allowed me to keep that mindset,” said Candi. “It strengthened my abilities and allowed me to excel and help others along the way.”
When Candi was starting her own company in Alaska, she befriended a local business owner who allowed her to use office space for free. His admonition to her was to pay it forward. Today Candi helps companies and people in the industry anyway she can, not only as a way to give back, but because she believes in the industry and the people in it and wants them to succeed. She makes it a priority to support operators and contractors through collaboration and puts the right people in the right positions so that the best projects can be executed.
One way she giving back today is by helping Artificial Lift Company (ALC), a company with an innovative Electric Submersible Pump technology that significantly reduces ESP intervention costs. Candi is supporting ALC by allowing them to use space in her 25,000 square foot modern shop space at greatly reduced rent.
“I have a common link to ALC,” said Candi. “We have similar ideas about servicing our clients, demonstrating commitment and being transparent, meaning we are honest and sincere.”
ALC’s RIGLESS ESP technology has now entered the commercial deployment phase. Developed in conjunction with ConocoPhillips, the RIGLESS ESP is a groundbreaking artificial lift solution for the oil and gas industry that significantly reduces ESP intervention costs, since the ESP work-overs can be performed without requiring a rig. It was approved for commercialization in October 2009, and it is scheduled for several installations with IOCs and NOCs in North America, the Middle East and North Africa throughout 2011.
In West Texas the ESP system has successfully completed 20 pre-emptive wire-line retrievals and redeployments at depth and has also been running successfully for more than 450 days.
Because Candi’s office is equipped with enough space, safety equipment, shelving, racking and a five-ton crane, it is an ideal location for ALC as the company builds its business in Alaska. ALC could not be more grateful for Candi’s openness, support and assistance. “We have contracts with ConocoPhillips and other companies in Alaska and we needed a world class facility to perform our business,” said Alex Kosmala, CEO for ALC. “We met Candi, who had the space and safety aspects that allowed her to help us. She has been very professional and supportive as we begin establishing a proficient business that we hope will play a big part in the oil and gas industry.”
In addition to its new and innovative RIGLESS ESP solutions, ALC has very good team with global experience that focuses on safety, the environment and doing things right the first time.
“Service Quality and safety are our number one priority,” Kosmala said. “We don’t want to just say that out loud, we also want to walk the talk. The key to our business is that our RIGLESS ESP uses slickline deployment technology, meaning that a rig is not required past the first install, and we have full bore access for well intervention once the wireline ESP is removed, and live well deployment and retrieval. For offshore or remote wells or wells where the conditions are changing regularly (sand, productivity, etc) these features add up to savings of thousands of dollars a day.”
“It’s very exciting to play a role with ALC’s deployment in Alaska,” said Candi. “I would never have had a successful project if it wasn’t for the many wonderful people and companies who helped me along the way. They allowed me and my team to use their shop, connected us with their local contacts and were very open and helpful. I’m glad that I can give help, as I too have been helped. It’s going to be fun for me to see ALC succeed.”