Our expertise and technical strength are key to who we are at Wild Well Control. As we celebrate 45 years in the industry, we’d like to introduce you to our team and share their insights on the oil and gas industry. The second feature in our Well Controlled series is Chris Stover, General Manager, Well Control Operations. Keep reading to learn more about his experience, insights on industry trends, and what he loves about working with the team at Wild Well.
Name: Chris Stover
Role: General Manager, Well Control Operations, Wild Well Control
Location: Houston, TX
Q: How long have you been with Wild Well Control?
A: I joined Wild Well in April 1998 and started off in equipment maintenance. I was told when I started that it would be a couple of years before I’d get to go out on an emergency response incident, but after just three months I was dispatched to a blow out just north of Houston – and I’ve never looked back.
For several years I worked as a well control specialist/shop manager. From there, I moved on to become a senior well control specialist while still running the shop, and then I was promoted to operations manager before becoming general manager of operations.
My day-to-day role involves taking job calls, handling finances, attending job-related conference calls, and maintaining close contact with our clients to make sure that we have completed the job to their satisfaction. I’m also asked to give presentations to clients about what we do and how we do it – from the mobilization of equipment and quickly pulling a well site team together, to how we sting a well or remove a wellhead on a burning well. Their positive reaction is always rewarding.
I do love my current role but I’m a bit of an adrenalin junkie and the one thing that will get your adrenalin going, is responding to a well fire. This may sound strange, but for me, those high-risk situations when a well is blowing out is where I do my best work, I’m able to get out of the office and back in my element. There is a huge sense of accomplishment when we have a client who needs support and we can solve their problem, and get them back to normal operations.
Q: Can you describe your industry experience?
A: I’ve worked on well control situations in many parts of the world. Originally, I wanted to join the FBI or the U.S. Marshall’s Office and I studied pre-law at Central Michigan University. I then worked in construction running heavy equipment. I saw oil and gas emergency response as a rewarding challenge and I thought my equipment experience could be a benefit.
In this line of work, you never know what tomorrow will bring. All you can do is minimize the risks. The late Pat Campbell, who was President for many years, told me: “If you treat every job as the big one, you’ll never miss a step.” It can be those seemingly small or straightforward jobs that can be the most challenging. If you don’t take all the correct precautions you can suffer the consequences. Being a little more cautious has worked very well for me!
Q: What trends are you seeing in the industry?
A: The oilfield has scaled back currently because of lower prices. However, it always comes back around and I think it will do the same this time. The oil industry is cyclical. There will always be a need for it.
There is also a greater focus on higher levels of safety, which has been an important development and we’re constantly looking for ways that will allow us to do our job safer.
Emergency response times are improving. We’re supporting this trend by ensuring we have equipment strategically placed in key locations around the world, close to our clients.
The pandemic has been a challenge for people moving around globally, but we’ve managed to overcome travel restrictions to continue serving our clients wherever they need us.
Q: What makes Wild Well Control what it is today?
A: We’ve been in business for 45 years and the fact we still employ some of the original people from 1975 says a lot about who this company is, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. Throughout our history, we’ve always stuck to what we started out to do. Our people have decades of experience, are extremely capable, and are rightly proud of their job.
As part of the 45-year celebrations, we’ve brought back one of our older company logos. To see the fire logo again has been a huge deal for our field employees. Back in the day, you had to earn the right to display that fire logo on the door of your vehicle or coveralls, and it reminds us all of our history and our values.
Q: What excites you about working for Wild Well Control?
A: The excitement of working on a major well control event is one thing. The gratification from clients when you get their well back to a controlled state is another. This is a very demanding line of work, and it takes a certain dedication and passion to do it. I certainly won’t be retiring anytime soon, I love the challenges this job brings and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Want to learn more about the history of Wild Well Control? Read more here.