GasSearch Drilling Services Corp.

GasSearch Drilling Services Corp. engages in the drilling and servicing of oil and gas wells. The company was founded in 2006 and previously operated as a subsidiary of Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., according to Bloomberg. In 2009, Energy Services Acquisition (ESA) Corp. entered a stock purchase agreement to acquire GasSearch Drilling Services Corp. based in Parkersburg, W.Va. According to, the agreed-upon total acquisition cost $23.5 million that was payable in a combination of cash and stock. In cash, ESA paid $17.5 million to cover current debt and capital expenditures already planned. ESA shares equal in value of $3.5 million made up the rest of the deal.

According to, GasSearch Drilling Service Corp.’s entire management team remains with the company. President and CEO Denny Harton continues to serve in this capacity, and he since has been named executive vice president of ESA, as well as added to the ESA board of directors.

Harton served as president of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia (IOGAWV) in 2006. This organization serves as a statewide nonprofit trade association that represents companies engaged in the extraction and production of natural gas and oil in West Virginia, and the companies and individuals that support extraction activities, IOGAWV says.

“IOGAWV was formed to promote and protect a strong, competitive and capable independent natural gas and oil- producing industry in West Virginia,” the association reports.

“IOGAWV’s primary purpose is to promote and protect the West Virginia oil and natural gas-producing industry.”

IOGAWV explains that it accomplishes these goals through:

  • “Identifying and educating our members of the challenges and opportunities confronting our industry;
  • “Encouraging and projecting a unity of purpose among our membership;
  • “Educating the general public, elected and appointed representatives about the importance of the industry;
  • “Protecting and improving both the business and natural environment of our state.”
  • The organization has a number of committees focused on specific areas: commerce, communications and education, environmental and safety, finance and taxation, governmental affairs, insurance, investments, membership and programming.

Legislative action
The association works with legislative agencies at the state and federal levels to inform them about issues facing the industry and to encourage them to support the natural gas and oil industry with favorable legislative acts and executive decisions. IOGAWV also works closely with the various state and federal regulatory and environmental agencies to ensure fair and equal representation for the industry.

“IOGAWV has an active committee structure which utilizes the talents and expertise of its membership to the fullest extent,” the association says. “Committee chairs are appointed by the president with approval from the board of directors. Any member who desires to become more active in the association is encouraged to contact the committee chairs or the president about serving on one of the committees.”

IOGAWV’s membership services include three regularly scheduled events – its winter meeting, summer meeting and a sports meeting. The winter meeting is scheduled every January or February and is held in Charleston, W.Va. The purpose of this meeting is to provide a forum to update members on important industry and tax issues, the association says, as well as sponsor a legislative reception. The sports outing is held in early fall in northern West Virginia and is centered around a golf event.

IOGAWV offers educational seminars designed to provide timely information on relevant topics, it says. Recent topics include environmental issues, drill site safety and taxation. An association-based major medical insurance program and other related services also are available to members.

A healthy industry
IOGAWV says it offers the premier association health insurance program in West Virginia. It has a partnership with Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield (MSBCBS) and Wells Fargo Insurance Services of West Virginia Inc.

“The stability of the plan allows our members to focus more on their business since all services are provided by IOGA, Wells Fargo Insurance Services and MSBCBS,” it says. “Plan features offer availability to groups of one or more, competitive rates, reduced employer risk exposure, multiple plan options, tiered rates and outstanding customer service.”