#ShaleBenefits: After 59 Years, Buckeye Water Services Seeing Growth
Fred Badertscher has been in the oil and gas business for over 59 years and has no plans on slowing down anytime soon. With the development of the Utica Shale, Buckeye Water Services has retooled their business to become one of the premiere hauling and servicing companies in the Utica. This success wasn’t just given to him. Mr. Badertscher worked hard and successfully grew his business by 3 to 4 times in the past 18 months thanks to expanding development of our natural gas and oil resources.
When Fred Badertscher returned from World War II in 1954, he and his father started Kilbuck Inc., a service company for the oil and gas industry. Kilbuck performed a variety of tasks in the oil field from moving the dirt, to operating the drilling rig for the oil companies. Back then, the main formation being developed wasn’t the Utica, but the Clinton Sandstone; and they weren’t using triple rigs, rather just simple cable tool rigs.
After 2 years, Fred took over the company for his father and followed the oil and gas trend that was happening in Claysville, Ohio. Kilbuck Inc. worked wells through out eastern Ohio providing services for such Ohio oil and gas mainstays like National Oil and Gas and Buckeye Supply, which later became Oxford Oil.
In 1972, Fred Badertscher bought Buckeye Water Services and set up shop in New Concord, Ohio. At the time, the company moved and serviced rigs, did pad site development and hauled water and pipe. If a well needed work, Buckeye Water Service did what it took to make sure they were able to get the job done for the Clinton producers.
Mr. Badertscher has continued serving the oil and gas industry his whole career, always following the trends of the industry. Then about 2 years ago, at 82 years old, Fred decided he would like to help service the burgeoning shale industry in Ohio. He started the process of obtaining the proper certification and insurance needed to ensure his business could work for these new larger companies moving into the state.
Being an Ohio company who typically only worked with area producers, Mr. Badertscher didn’t have any contacts with the new large independent companies coming in to develop the Utica Shale. He knew he had to get in front of these people to let them know how he could help their business. Fred hit the road and visited pad sites across Ohio and got to know the people working on the rig.
It was a slow process in the beginning. The first six months was trying to get acquainted with the right people to get our connections made to find their requirements are to be qualified for an MSA, which is a Master Service Agreement. Sometimes they’re a little tough to get to the right people but it took some time and perseverance–Fred Badertscher
Throughout his meetings with the companies, Mr. Badertscher raised his insurance coverage from $5 million to $10 million to ensure he had the proper coverage to meet the rigorous Master Service Agreements he needed to acquire to work on the sites. He also invested $1 million dollars of his own money (something his wife wasn’t too happy about at the time) in new equipment to obtain the proper tools need to service the sites.
From building these relationships and obtaining Master Service Agreements, Fred was able to provide them with services they needed on the site. These services weren’t typically what his company was known for, but to build a good relationship you have to provide what the custumer needs. He started by getting a group to do housekeeping at one of the sites. He then provided security at another or hauled in potable water to a site. From there relationships were built and business began to take off.
Now, 18 months later, Buckeye Water Services has grown tremendously. Fred has added 6 water trucks, 1 tanker truck, 6 dump trucks, 5 roll off trucks and 50 roll off boxes to haul cuttings. Not only invested has he invested in equipment, but also in expanding his workforce. He has gone from 2 office workers to 6. He also went from 7 field workers to 28 field workers. All of these jobs were filled by local residents from Guernsey, Muskingum, Noble and Coshocton Counties.
The company has actually increased in personnel and equipment probably about 70% increase prior to where we were serving the conventional oil and gas development and local operators. – Fred Badertscher
At 84 1/2 years old most people Mr. Badertscher’s age are already or thinking about retiring but he saw this as an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
I saw it as a challenge. This is a whole new technology that came into the area that I read some about several years ago and more recently I got interested. I thought this may be the new horizon or the new boom and I wanted to be a part of it. – Fred Badertscher
Today Buckeye Water Services contracts with a number of shale producing customers excavating for well pads construction, hauling water in and out of sites, hauling drill cuttings and providing vacuum trucks to the shale developers. With this new growth Buckeye Water Services revenue has grown 3-4 times what it was 2 years ago.
Fred Badertscher is doing what he loves and continues to look for ways to grow his business not just for himself but for his employees. But this success story wasn’t just handed to him. It took persistence, hard work, long hours and a bit of ingenuity to make sure his company got the business when the shale developers needed help. He is a true testament to how the Utica Shale development is breathing new life into eastern Ohio.