Within the world of, or rather, within the fields and beneath the ground of, America’s vast reserves of oil and natural gas, there is a revolution involving energy exploration, drilling and contracting on behalf of these projects.

This triumph in hydraulic fracturing is responsible for rapid job growth, the use of increasingly sophisticated products and services, and greater energy independence for the U.S.

Maintaining this momentum by ensuring the proper operation of relevant equipment, and by expanding the number of skilled technicians available to master this machinery, must be a national priority.

At a minimum, this subject should be an urgent responsibility for drilling contractors and workers throughout regions of the Midwest, the Dakotas and other sections of the country.

The machinery at the heart of this revolution – including the various pumps, valves and lubrication systems – must not stop running.

Educated employees are key

In the event of a breakdown in machinery or without workers able to repair this or that item, and without quick access to expert technicians who can fix this sort of a problem, a drilling project can become an economic mess.

Picture the events preceding this phenomenon: the surveying and analysis of potential sites for extracting natural gas or shale oil; the submission of proposals; the writing of a prospectus (by entrepreneurs or smaller energy companies), and its distribution among qualified investors; environmental impact studies; compliance with state and federal regulations; the cost of full-time legal counsel; testimony before city and county review boards; heightened media scrutiny; securing permits; hiring and insuring workers; moving and assembling equipment; building temporary housing; and finally, after having traversed this maze – just as the those drills start whirling – a screeching, metal-on-metal mishap, or the sound of a burst pump or a whistling valve, brings this behemoth to a grinding halt.

This situation, which pales beside even worse, life-threatening scenarios, can result in a permanent shutdown or interminable delays.

Again, I write these words from experience. In my role as president of FD Johnson, I know how crucial it is for vendors – for everyone with a stake in this matter – to keep their machinery running.

Hence the creation of the Lube School, which is my contribution to teaching buyers of the equipment described above, and the owners of the equipment featured below, how to use these systems in general and in particular.

Indeed, a simple review of the control panel, with its three controllers with multiple zone and feedback options (and its ability to track usage history, ensure data protection, and allow for the uploading or downloading of data via a USB flash drive), reveals that this compact item is an integral part – a vital pump – that serves multiple markets and applications.

Why not, then, know how to maximize the performance of this pump?

Why squander the chance to recruit the best technicians to teach your technicians about the intricacies of this product and others like it?

The questions are rhetorical, since there is no vendor who is a mere bystander to these events; and there is no manufacturer or drilling contractor who opposes good training.

In other words, the only thing these professionals have to lose is … nothing.

Drilling contractors need to enroll select workers in these schools, just as more product manufacturers and vendors should encourage the establishment of these programs nationwide.

As we broaden our energy independence, we should not restrict that freedom because of ignorance or indifference.

Class is in session.




Brian Robson is the president of FD Johnson, a leading supplier of pumps, valves and lubrication systems for a variety of companies and industries. With more than 80 years of history, FD Johnson has a commitment to keeping each client’s machinery running. You can contact FD Johnson here.