Western Drilling Tools
Western Drilling Tools Inc. was established in 2004 in Calgary by current owner and president Constantin (Costa) Burca, with the primary focus of being recognized as a high-quality drilling-tool machine shop that caters to the diversified needs of the expansive drilling industry.
With a steady addition of new machines and capabilities, Western Drilling is ready to take on the industry’s biggest and toughest machining challenges. In addition to that, Western Drilling celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. During the company’s first decade in business it has grown from a three-person operation to 40 as of today and it’s well positioned for steady sustainable growth moving forward.
Leadership is the key
Leadership is always an essential ingredient to success and Burca comes equipped with more than 35 years of machining experience while having been a key member in developing many popular products that are now common within the drilling industry. He also holds patents on several unique products, such as the roller stabilizer. Burca has been involved in machining drilling tools for nearly his entire career and continues to expand his production portfolio. He is an expert machinist and knows exactly what it takes to successfully complete any project, large or small. Before opening Western Drilling Tools, Burca was the owner of two other machining companies that helped develop his vast experience in the field.
Along with the oil industry, Western Drilling Tools also services the construction drilling, environmental drilling, mining exploration drilling, geotechnical drilling, geothermal drilling, mining exploration, oil & gas, seismic drilling and water well drilling industries.
The essential mission for Western Drilling is to provide customers with the absolute best quality tools, accessories and service anywhere in the industry. They are supported by many years of hands-on experience, trained professionals and a full machine shop that allows them to follow through on their promises. Furthermore, the business recently moved into a new building which will help to better service their customer’s needs. Some of Western Drilling’s products include: Various Drill bits, pipes, casings and a comprehensive catalogue of coring equipment.
WDT employs full and part-time machinists, whose average experience within the industry exceeds 10 years. Along with their qualified machinists, Western Drilling Tools also employs three full and part-time welders, five full-time mechanical engineering technologists, and two full time QC/QA personnel.
Products and services
Vice President Dennis Burca says there is a vast diversity in drilling technology and the application of those technologies. This has resulted in many niche markets and specializations dealing with specific types of drilling or production. This has presented a lot of opportunity for both small and larger companies to have a diversified product base and competencies as well as very specific specializations.
“Drilling programs are also typically seasonal and subject to micro boom bust cycles,” says Burca. “As a whole, drilling still follows general market trends but also has tremendous disparity between hot and cold seasons. An example is, drilling pilings for construction is very active in the warmer months, slows down tremendously in the winter. Alternatively, exploration drilling is more active in the winter when the ground is frozen and less active during warmer months.”
The WDT team has developed and patented a new Overburden Casing advancement system. This is a substantial improvement over other overburden systems currently available. It is a concentric system that allows for substantially improved hole symmetry at higher rates of penetration. The wearable parts are easily replaced in the field at far less cost and time then other systems.
“We have also designed it to solve several problems facing many other systems including jamming caused by aggregate formation getting trapped by moving parts,” Burca notes.
According to Western Drilling’s marketing manager Ervin Bata, all the company’s machinists are trained on how to program and set up CNC machines, unlike most other companies who rely on a central programmer to carry out this task. This gives us an edge when solving problems on the shop floor. Western Drilling’s machine shop uses state of the art CNCs to manufacture parts to extremely high precision and accuracy.”
They constantly acquire and stock quality raw materials to reduce lead times on products, along with working closely with customers to continuously improve their products in an effort to reduce costs. They also maintain an impressive comprehensive inventory of parts at all times, ensuring consistent delivery times for customers – because time is money, after all.
Asked what makes Western Drilling stand out amongst the competition, Bata says it’s “being privately owned” that ultimately makes a big difference along with knowledge of the industry, hard work and dedication. Being a standalone entity allows the business to offer highly competitive rates; timely delivery and their aggressive expansion have helped them stay extremely competitive. With offices in Fort MacKay, AB, they are able to provide timely delivery of drills to the oilfields in nearby Fort MacMurray.
Along with manufacturing, Western Drilling also offers design and drafting services. The team is able to design and draft products and services for a wide variety of clients. Welding and Fabrication is also a big part of what the Western Drilling Tools machine shop is all about. Welders can fabricate tools and equipment to customized needs and specifications.
“Western Drilling has a good name in the industry and people want to work here,” Bata proudly states.
To keep their valuable employees, Western Drilling offers competitive salaries and overtime, and provides a generous amount of vacation between Christmas and New Year, which can often be one of the busiest times of the year for the industry. What helps Western Drilling’s reputation in the industry are employees who are willing to go that extra mile for their customers and having two shifts running to get the parts delivered to their customers. Bata says the team of five sales people can drive to Fort MacMurray for parts for a customer, if needed. Along with finding and keeping hard-working, loyal employees, sourcing out new machines greatly benefits in the efforts to fill out customers’ orders. Their new building now houses a pair of new machines to help fulfill these important orders.
WDT’s new home
“Our new building is tailored to suit our needs and gives us substantial room for growth and expansion,” Burca reveals. “The facility has a 42,000 sq.-ft. manufacturing and fabrication facility situated on 3.6 acres of land for additional testing and storage. We are also regularly bringing new products into the market and are starting to develop and strengthen our market share. We are developing substantially more focused marketing strategies to promote our products and our business both nationally and internationally.”
“The biggest challenge is not to over expand,” Bata says.
Western Drilling has come a long way in its first 10 years of business, under the leadership of Costa Burca. With their new building, top-notch employees, quality products and exceptional customer service, the enterprise can look forward to many more productive years serving Canada’s oilfields and customers around the world. Dennis Burca says the future looks bright.
“Over the next three to five years we plan to ensure that the current intellectual property we are working on successfully makes it to the market,” he reveals. “And that it helps our customers preform their jobs safer and more effectively. Quality, cost and innovation are the cornerstones of our business.”