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Top-rated Suppliers Remain Focused on Customers

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As a steep decline in oil prices resulted in one of the more surprising years in recent memory for the oil and gas industry, oilfield suppliers struggled to build on past gains in customer satisfaction, according to results from EnergyPoint Research’s 2014 Oilfield Products & Services Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Top marks in total customer satisfaction in 2014 went to tubular goods manufacturer Vallourec, onshore driller Helmerich & Payne, oilfield services providerNewpark Resources and offshore driller Ensco. While these and other previous industry segment leaders continued to post strong customer satisfaction scores, other suppliers appear to have lost sight of their customers to some degree.

In many cases, progress in meeting the needs of customers in some of the most fundamentally important areas of the survey, including product and service quality, appeared to have stalled in 2014. As suppliers now grapple with the reality of lower demand for their offerings, providers that have continually paid close attention to customer satisfaction remain best positioned to grow market share in 2015.

Now in its 11th year, EnergyPoint’s closely followed survey is the only independent study focused on the oil and gas industry’s satisfaction with major upstream oilfield suppliers. Survey respondents rate suppliers in four segments: oilfield services, oilfield products, onshore contract drillers, and offshore contract drillers. A total of 49 suppliers received the minimum number of evaluations needed to be included in the final rankings.

Vallourec rated first in total satisfaction in the oilfield products segment of the survey. This is the second year in a row in which the company captured the top spot in the segment. Vallourec also ranked first in 10 additional categories, including casing tubing, connections and couplings, engineering and design, performance and reliability, tubular goods, high-pressure/high-temperature (HPHT) applications, and four other categories.

Perennial customer-satisfaction leader Helmerich & Payne rated first in total satisfaction among onshore drillers. This marks the seventh consecutive survey in which the Tulsa-based contractor has garnered the top ranking in the segment. The company also rated first in several additional areas, including safety and environmental (HSE), performance and reliability, shale-oriented applications, technology, and three additional categories.

In addition to ranking #1 in total satisfaction in the survey’s oilfield services segment for the third consecutive year, Newpark Resources also earned first-placed ratings in several additional areas, including fluids services, drilling-related services, safety and environmental (HSE), interior Texas & Mid-continent, job quality, U.S. & Canada, and four additional categories.

Rating first in total satisfaction, Ensco repeated as the top-rated offshore drilling contractor in the survey for the fifth consecutive year. The company also ranked first in several additional areas, including deepwater drilling, safety and environmental (HSE), North Sea, harsh environment wells, technology, Latin America & Mexico, and three other categories.

As customers of oilfield suppliers collectively adjust their capital spending downward in light of lower commodity prices, a protracted buyer’s market may result in certain segments. But caveat emptor. While embracing steep discounts from more marginal suppliers might prove tempting, history has shown what is often delivered is of sub-standard quality. Better to pay a bit more if that’s what it takes to ensure the appropriate level of performance.

In addition, EnergyPoint offers the following suggestions for customers of oilfield products and services looking to get the most from their suppliers in 2015:

  • Determine what supplier attributes really matter to your organization, then measure them. While non-productive time and safety performance are certainly useful, dimensions like flexibility, professionalism and post-sale support can also be telling.
  • Lofty commodity prices allowed some providers to grow complacent in recent years. So, get suppliers focused on adding value based on today’s environment. If necessary, incorporate financial incentives and penalties into supplier agreements to underscore the issue of performance.
  • When you can, think longer-term with your preferred providers. The more stable and predictable the work flows you provide, the better the performance you will likely receive.

The annual survey, which has been conducted by EnergyPoint Research since 2003, is the leading independent benchmark study focused on the oil and gas industry’s satisfaction with the products and services it purchases and utilizes. A total of 49 suppliers received the minimum number of evaluations needed to be considered for this year’s final rankings.

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