spwm drillingNicklos Drilling has been in business for 80 years. It had rigs stretching from North Dakota to South Texas after it was started in 1935.

In 1996, the company was sold to Nabors Industries. After which the grandson of Nicklos’ founder, Jim Nicklos, started a new Nicklos Drilling. The business plan was to keep the company small.

Two decades later, the company decided to expand into the Permian. Nicklos’ senior vice president Roland Smith said, “There’s no grand plan for 100 rigs. We’ll start with four rigs and if we go to six, great.”

There are three legs to a successful drilling company, Smith maintains. The right rigs, capital and people. He counts people as the most important, which is why the company offers wages higher than the going rate. (And don’t overlook paying 100-percent of employee insurance costs.)

“That third leg plays such an important role. If crews work together continually, that brings a lot of efficiencies that are not on the spec sheet,” Smith said.

“Everyone is talking about the Permian,” Smith said. “They come here, they don’t have all three legs, it doesn’t work out, they go home. So many companies don’t think long term. It took Nicklos four years to decide to come to Midland.”