Improvements in hydraulic fracturing have spearheaded an oil and natural gas revolution in recent years, leading to increased demand for frac water transfer – and that’s just fine with Fast Line Services. Fast Line Services provides frac water and associated services to fracking operations. “Our market is to oil and gas operators,” says Mason Schwarz, sales and operations manager. “Our capabilities are endless.”
Fast Line Services operates in Texas with sites in Midland, Ozona, Pecos, San Antonio and Cotulla. Based in Zwalle, La., it was founded by Monte Mokszycki at the start of the frac bonanza.
At that time, there were only a handful of frac water transfer companies operating in Texas. As water fracturing increased in demand, so did the supply. Now, there are some 50 frac water transfer companies in Texas.
Fast Line Services strives to create a comfortable relationship in which operators “can call at any hour to handle anything they want done.” Growth is the goal of any company; however, Schwarz says Fast Line Services does not want to grow so large that “everything becomes a number, creating multiple levels of approval to accomplish simple tasks. A simple task needs to be done timely and efficiently and that is Fast Line’s goal.”
As for the tools of its trade, Fast Line Services uses “lay-flat” hoses as well as aluminum pipes for water transfer. Originally, these lay-flat hoses were used for farm irrigation. Now applied to water fracking instead of farming, the hoses can be more effective than standard 10-inch aluminum pipes. “It’s a huge advantage. We saw this would give us a competitive edge so we started using lay-flat even though aluminum is cheaper,” Schwarz says.
Lay-flat hoses don’t leak and can handle large water volumes. “It is a very good product for high volume and high rate; it’s mobile, light and requires less labor,” says Schwarz.
Good help is hard to find
Finding qualified new employees is among the top challenges faced by Fast Line Services, Schwarz says. It is difficult to find workers with frac water transfer experience, and with employees living onsite at remote work yards, recruitment becomes still more difficult.
Retaining good employees is a challenge, too. The turnover rate for employees in this field can be as high as 50 percent. “There is a shortage of people,” Schwarz says. “It’s very difficult to find good people to work in oil fields. We work long hours and these guys are away from home.” Recruitment is sometimes conducted by word of mouth as workers may recommend colleagues from past jobs, Schwarz says.
Fast Line Services offers on-the-job training to its new employees. Although effective, the training can be costly and difficult logistically since it requires multiple people doing the same task. “It’s better to have more experienced people and a lot of the operators require this,” Schwarz notes.
Plans for the future
Although it is difficult to recruit, Schwarz nonetheless foresees steady growth for Fast Line Services over the next 10 years. “We want to get to a good sweet spot where we can handle growth and continue adapting to customer needs,” he says.
“We are privately owned and want to keep it that way; we don’t want to become a big corporation. We don’t have a lot of upper-level executives or multiple investors involved, although we would like to pick up more operators to do hydraulic water transfers in order to grow and sustain our work.”
Owner Mokszycki can often be seen manning the pumps, putting a line together and performing other mechanical work. “He is extremely hands-on and that’s a big rarity,” Schwarz says. “A lot of times, company owners are not even in their offices but he is out there showing us how to do things.”