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Frederick Pheasey

Frederick William PheaseyFrederick Pheasey and Ron Sorokan started with little cash and built Dreco Energy Services into one of the world’s most respected manufacturers of specialized drilling rig equipment.

Pheasey and Sorokan started Dreco in the early 1970s with $16,000 of their own capital, loans from a few backers, and the ambition to build drilling rigs. After struggling to win work, Dreco signed a deal to build a rig for a client in Brazil, and that helped spur other contracts, including one with Danish firm Maersk to build an offshore rig that could be shipped inside a 747 airplane.

Once Dreco’s drill rig expertise was firmly established, the company soon became noted for its expertise with design and building equipment for extreme conditions, like Alaska’s North Slope and various offshore drilling sites.

The industry-wide slump in drilling activity in the 1980s nearly took Dreco down with it. The company faced high financing costs, and went into receivership, drastically reducing operations and going through several lean years. Nonetheless, the company emerged from the 1980s with a focus on international markets. During this period, Ron Sorokan, a senior Dreco manager, filed several patents for mobile drilling rigs, tubing removal systems, and other oil drilling inventions.

In 1997, Dreco was acquired by National-Oilwell Inc. of Houston in a friendly share-swap deal worth $510 million. The merger created the largest oil-rig manufacturer in North America, with a market value of more than $1.4 billion.

National-Oilwell has continued to market Dreco’s drilling rig expertise under their own corporate name.

Pheasey was inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame in 2002.

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