Frederick Pheasey and Ron Sorokan started with little cash and built
Dreco Energy Services into one of the worlds 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 Drecos drill rig expertise was firmly established, the company
soon became noted for its expertise with design and building equipment
for extreme conditions, like Alaskas North Slope and various offshore
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 Drecos drilling rig
expertise under their own corporate name.
Pheasey was inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame in
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