Oilfield Industry Experts

Shrieve Chemical Products Company
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

Fast approaching forty years in business, The Shrieve Group of Companies provides a broad range of quality chemical products into a variety of industries around the globe. The Group has a primary focus on oilfield chemicals, commodities and specialty chemical products including synthetic air-conditioning and refrigeration fluids, dielectric fluids, and other industrial lubricants and products.
Headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, Shrieve Chemical Products Company is an integral part of the Shrieve Group and a leader in oilfield drilling and fracturing chemicals as well as the HVACR (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration) sector. With a global network of sales offices, privately-held Shrieve has a solution-oriented philosophy and successfully builds on the vision and principles set forth by its founder, Jim Shrieve.

Working in a number of roles in the 1950s and 1960s for Shell Oil and Shell Chemical, founder Jim Shrieve gained considerable experience with chemical products. He envisioned the potential of a new approach to the marketing of sulfuric acid, a high volume by-product of various industrial processes. At the time, producers put little focus on the product other than making sure it was out of their facility. Shrieve looked at the product in a different light and formed parent Shrieve Chemical Company in 1978.

After partnering with key producers, Shrieve was able to demonstrate the value of a dedicated and disciplined approach to the marketplace. Nearly four decades later Shrieve is one of the largest marketers in the country of sulfuric acid with a network of domestic and international suppliers.

“A key component of Jim’s approach to business was a very open, transparent and mutually respectful relationship with his suppliers and customers in regard to market dynamics, competitive forces and other issues,” says Phil Beckler, president of Shrieve Chemical Products. “We now develop and manufacture all kinds of products and operate around the world, but we continue to draw on those early lessons demonstrating the importance of collaborative long-term relationships built on trust and on meeting the needs of both sides.”

Shrieve’s chemical portfolio today is diverse and encompasses hundreds of products and applications. Product lines include base fluids for drilling and fracturing, industrial nitrogen products, chlor-alkali, lubricants, completion fluids, stimulation and production chemicals, various organic and inorganic chemicals, plasticizers, soda ash, soybean oil and water-based additives. It also offers a wide range of formulated functional fluids for applications such as air and gas compression, dielectric fluids, metalworking fluids and more.

Beckler joined the company back in 1990 selling refrigeration lubricants, and high-voltage underground cable insulating fluids – some of Shrieve’s specialities.

As the business grew, so did his talents and responsibilities. After forming the company’s oilfield division in the 1990s, he later led the acquisition of a number of product lines from Chevron France and moved to England to establish Shrieve’s first international subsidiary, Shrieve Products International, Ltd. Now a Group shareholder and overseeing all global subsidiaries, Beckler is amazed at the contrast from the original handful of employees and products.

Today, Shrieve has grown into a global enterprise with approximately 170 employees worldwide. Personnel include technical, sales and marketing, customer service, operations and logistics. Shrieve employees with doctorate degrees possess expertise ranging from organic chemistry and metallurgy to geology, lubrication and refrigerant chemistry.

The company’s research and development capabilities enable it to develop and deliver innovative chemical solutions to a wide range of clients from its state-of-the-art facilities. “We also tend to hire experienced personnel when it comes to sales management and marketing, so we’ll typically bring in seasoned professionals with significant experience in a particular application area,” states Beckler.

“A lot of specialty and oilfield products are multi-component – many require very specialized processes – and those are made in advance and warehoused in bulk storage tanks, super sacks, iso container, drums or totes – a variety of containment,” says Beckler. “Between the different areas of the business, we have at least 500 leased railcars in motion at all times within the Shrieve fleet, and we move many thousands of trucks throughout the year – that’s domestically as well as other parts of the world.”

Shrieve has seen considerable growth in recent years. Shrieve Chemical Shanghai Ltd. was established in 2008 and has been one of Shrieve’s fastest growing and most successful expansions. Shrieve in China is a technology leader in automotive and stationary air-conditioning and air compressor lubricants. In 2013, Shrieve opened new technology centers in The Woodlands and in Shanghai. It also opened Shrieve Chemical Services US LLC, a manufacturing and blending facility in Marlin, Texas, along with two new international locations: Shrieve India (Private) Ltd. and Shrieve Quimica do Brazil Ltd.

Shrieve’s oilfield chemical business began in Houston two decades ago to support oilfield service companies in the American Gulf. Shrieve and Shell Chemicals established an enduring relationship to market synthetic base fluids to the industry. Later expansions included UK offices in Aberdeen and London to support Europe and the Middle East. Shrieve today offers a full range of oilfield product chemistries for land and offshore operations, and continues to expand its ability to deliver them from a variety of domestic and international locations.

Beckler is proud of the financially stable and relationship-driven business model that powers Shrieve. Even with recent slowdowns in the energy industry, it remains focused on the best possible solutions for all customers. “Helping our customers improve technology and contain costs, all at a very high level of service, is what we do best. We think the strategic improvements we’ve made in recent years are serving us well during the downturn, and more importantly, we are confident we will be well-positioned and in solid relationships with an expanded customer base when the inevitable uptick comes.”

In January of this year, the company furthered its interest in guar production. India and Pakistan are responsible for approximately eighty five percent of world production of guar or cluster bean as it is also known. Guar is added to cattle feed and fertilizer and is also used as a food and drink thickening agent in such items as ice cream and ketchup.

In industrial applications, guar’s thickening properties are ideal for the oil and natural gas industries, particularly in hydraulic fracturing. By mixing water with specially processed guar bean powder (guar gum) during the fracturing process, the water viscosity is greatly increased. This creates a mixture that can suspend sand particles and carry them into the formation, allowing the oil and gas to escape.

The company determined guar was a core material for its product line and established Shrieve India, Ltd. in 2013 with the purchase of a production and processing plant. Shrieve and partner Caremoli USA, Inc. subsequently constructed and recently opened the Shrieve / Caremoli Guar Plant in Houston, a highly automated world class facility able to manufacture 10,000 metric tonnes per year of fast hydrating guar powder and warehousing.

“Guar is a very high-volume material that is used in oilfield processes, and we became vertically integrated in the last couple of years in that product in order to control quality and cost,” comments Beckler. The product is shipped either as powder or slurry made at the company’s facility in Marlin, Texas.

Shrieve excels at solution-oriented relationships with suppliers and clients alike. Its team of highly-trained and knowledgeable staff, including technical and logistics experts and a professional sales team, has fostered many long-term relationships with oilfield service companies such as Schlumberger and Halliburton. It also works closely with original equipment manufacturers like Trane and Carrier on the HVACR side. The company’s industry leading customer service team are all Hazmat certified and trained in product stewardship and safe handling procedures. Shrieve also has 24/7 live customer service.

In 2014 Shrieve won a Top Workplace award from the Houston Chronicle for the second year in a row. Beckler says the award was the result of an anonymous employee submission and speaks volumes not only about the company, but the dedication of its staff.

“It is quite an honor for us, and something we hadn’t planned on or anticipated from a management standpoint. We are thrilled, because it was driven from the bottom-up. We feel it is really reflective of the culture at Shrieve. We’ve had low turnover over the years and a heavy emphasis on creating a positive working environment and fostering relationships within the company. We have a strong sense of community here at Shrieve, and it is highlighted by this employee driven award.”

With a growing global presence, The Shrieve Group continues to make strategic investments in technology, manufacturing and service capabilities. Shrieve remains firmly committed to the oilfield sector and continues to enhance global capabilities in the energy industry and other core sectors as it sets it sights on the next forty years.



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