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The Sundown Success Story

Prairie Ranger Photography.

It’s no secret that while oil and gas companies – which produce, refine and distribute oil and gas products – invariably get much of the high-profile attention, investment and sometimes controversy, the heart and soul and lynchpin of the oil and gas industry are oilfield services. Usually behind the scenes, oilfield services provide the vital drilling, extraction, installation facility and pipeline fabrication support for oil and gas operations.

Some say oilfield services makes it all happen. Close to home, it is the 20-year experience, expertise and industry-respected oil and gas success story that is Sundown Oilfield Services.

According to company co-owners Dean Arias and Elden Nelson, it is a 20-year milestone for solid customer relationships, the Sundown team of skilled and up-to-date professionals, a focus on safety, and lots of hard work which earns Sundown’s industry-respected reputation for providing reliable and responsive pipeline maintenance, oilfield construction and fabrication.

“The oil and gas industry is an exciting dynamic,” Arias explains. “Our team works throughout northern Alberta and British Columbia, specializing in facility and pipeline, fabrication, construction, maintenance, shutdowns, abandonments as well as pumpjack installation and services.”

He explains that the innovative oilfield services company specializes in pipeline oilfield maintenance, construction and fabrication, and emphasizes its quality of work, superior workmanship and cost-effectiveness of all Sundown projects, from start to finish.

Elden Nelson underscores an important aspect of the Sundown uniqueness. “We are very hands-on when it comes to our work, as well as our customer relationships. That is so important! As a locally owned and operated company, we are fully involved in every project to effectively oversee the quality and efficiency of all jobs.

“We own all our equipment, and it allows us to consistently provide responsive and prompt services. Particularly in the oilfield services sector, that is an expected and required essential.”

Both seasoned and passionate oilfield services professionals proudly explain that Sundown’s 20th anniversary is a testimonial about quality, workmanship and safety in the oil and gas industry. “It’s all about our people and our solid client base,” Arias says. “And the quality of what we do and how we do it. Getting the job done, on time and on budget.”

In peak season there are 500+ staff (300 year-round) working on Sundown projects, including pipefitting, B-pressure welding fabrication and structural shop welding fabrication, oilfield maintenance, QA/QC programs and more.

“We earn a reputation for not only quality workmanship but also workplace safety on every Sundown project,” Nelson points out. “Our welding procedures are approved by ABSA and we maintain a COR certification for the highest level of safety on all jobs. Safety is a core focus. Our entire Sundown team – the expert and skilled tradespeople, foremen, supervisors and management – are highly experienced and unconditionally committed to workplace safety.”

The trained, skilled, qualified and up to date team are also approved by ISNetworld® and ComplyWorks and ensure the highest level of safety standards on all jobs.

Because sustainability is such a hot topic in the oil and gas industry and among its clients, sustainability has also become a key focus for Sundown Oilfield Services.

The recent focus on sustainability is triggering the oil and gas sector to be more carbon-footprint focused, adopt more environmentally conscious approaches that not only prioritizes sustainability but minimizes harm to the planet and works toward recovering and enhancing the natural environment.

The oil and gas industry, and the vital oilfield services sector, defines sustainability as the practice of managing available resources, investments and technologies to maintain and optimize operations with an emphasis on safety, reliability, efficiency, environmental and social awareness.

Although “quality control” is a familiar, sometimes throwaway buzzword in modern business, it is a critical aspect of what Sundown Oilfield Services does and how they do it.

As an important part of the company’s strict and uncompromising Quality Control Program, Sundown provides ABSA-approved weld procedures. From regular pipe to heavy wall pipe and pipeline procedures, a key Sundown specialty is the ability to construct pipelines to any size and scale, in a variety of terrains.

As with most businesses and industries, technology continues to be a transformative game-changer in the oilfield services sector. “And we’re right on top of it,” Nelson points out. “Technology and being up to date is so important. It not only allows us to do our work better and more efficiently but, in the end, it is much more cost efficient for our clients. Operating systems and technology like electric welders and scanners give us an upper hand where we can increase efficiencies on projects.”

The oil and gas industry, and the oilfield services sector which they rely on, are bombarded by predictable and uncontrollable factors and challenges. The price volatility of oil and gas, the economy, environmental and safety regulations, heavy competition and geopolitical risks. Additionally, the transition towards renewable energy and more sustainable practices are also redefining traditional oil and gas operations.

“Constant changes and flux are normal aspects in the oil and gas industry,” admits the seasoned and tremendously experienced Dean Arias. “There are always good times and unexpected speedbumps. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster since 2015, with highs, lows, ups and downs. But we are fortunate. We have an exceptional client base and a highly skilled and loyal staff.

“Many of our people have been with us for 10-20 years. In every way, whether it is constant upgrading and training, the work environment, the company culture, the atmosphere and the complete employee relationship, Sundown is an exciting and special good feeling. It really is like a family!” he says.
Constantly looking forward, Sundown is solidly rooted in community and tradition. The company is committed to developing a culturally diverse workforce and maintaining positive, long-term, trusting relationships within the indigenous communities where it operates.

“And we continue the traditions of Sundown founders Kirk and Marla Nelson,” Arias says with reverence. “It is what attracts amazing people we work with, and contributes to Sundown’s success.” He emphasizes that smart businesses walk the talk and live by the philosophy: Take care of your employees and they will take care of the business.

The highly technical and industrial oilfield services business doesn’t usually rely on social media or unsolicited feedback, although Dean Arias and Elden Nelson admit to being delighted while very occasionally scanning Sundown feedback on Google.

“Great company to work with. Very high quality and a pleasure to do business with.”

“Nice guys always great service.”

“The greatest company to work for. They truly make you a part of the team.”
There are other subtle and significant aspects of the Sundown Oilfield Service success story. “We stay up to date, we maintain our focus, we manage adversity when it happens and we achieve growth. With the support of our clients, we work hard, always look forward and succeed. Hey!” Nelson smiles with emotion and pride. “In 2015 we had 20 to 100 staff. Today we have 300 to 500.”

The two Sundown co-owners enthusiastically agree that the company’s milestone 20th anniversary is a rewarding and gratifying testimonial that, with a skilled and loyal team of professionals and a solid client base, providing prompt and professional oilfield services can happen without sacrificing safety and quality.

Heading into its next decade, Sundown Oilfield Services is busy and, by all industry indications, will continue to get even busier. A growing number of analysts and forecasts are calling for the return of US$100 oil in the new year.