Sadhna Petroleum Services

Named after the Hindu word for devotion, Sadhna Petroleum Services provides that quality to all its customers’ projects. Founded in 1993 by Krishna Ramlogan – who has nearly four decades of experience in oil drilling and management – the family owned and managed company specializes in drilling and managing exploration and production oil wells in Trinidad, Tobago and the South American countries of Suriname and British Guyana, where the company has a registered office but no current projects.

“These are devout Hindus,” COO Denise Ali explains of her father, Ramlogan, who is managing director. “He’s pretty spiritual about a lot of the things he does.” It is this level of integrity that Ali cites when characterizing the company’s culture.

“We would always be very accommodating and bend over backwards to work with our clients,” Ali maintains. “Lots of times, we do a lot of extra work we don’t even charge for. It’s not a matter of just making money – it’s a matter of building that trust and commitment to our clients, so we can have that repeat business with them.”

As an example, she cites the company’s employment and training of local workers in Suriname. “We are probably the only Trinidadian contractor in Suriname where 98 percent of our work force is Surinamese,” Ali points out. “We have taken on that challenge to train and develop people to a certain standard. It would be cheaper to just pick up Trinidad drillers here in a country where the drilling industry is so much more advanced and mature. But we went a different avenue and built the expertise in Suriname itself. So we approach our business a bit differently in that aspect.”

Started in Client’s Office
Ramlogan started the company after decades spent drilling and managing oil wells for major oil companies such as Shell, Enron and Petrotrin, the state-owned oil company in Trinidad. “We run a simple operation,” Ali maintains. “When this company started, we didn’t even have an office – my father worked in a client’s office. We grew to the point where we now own rigs and have an actual office space and a structure. So this has been a company built from scratch. We’ve made a lot of progress from its point of inception in 1993 to this point.”

Ali, the eldest daughter, was already married and out of the house when her father set up shop in his living room. “My career has always been in the oil and gas sector – not operations and technology, but more finance and the commercial side,” she reveals.

“When he decided to make the leap and set up a formal office and really try cementing his base, I left my job at Exxon – because at that point I was the financial accountant for Exxon in Trinidad,” Ali says. She established Sadhna Petroleum’s procedures and documentation for accounting, purchasing and other business functions. Her sister, Nisha Ramlogan-Seesaran, oversees the Suriname operation, and Ali’s brother-in-law, Byron Biswah, is the company’s project manager.

Decades of Expertise
It is Ramlogan’s and his associates’ expertise that companies seek when they hire Sadhna Petroleum Services. “One of our biggest competitors is Well Services,” Ali reveals. “They actually provide rigs and drilling crews. They don’t, however, provide too much drilling management expertise. So what we tend to do is if we have a client approach us and say, ‘We want you guys to be the drilling managers for this well or campaign,’ we will then analyze what the client’s requirements are in terms of the sizing of the rig – the technical capacity of the rig that the client wants. If we don’t have that rig capacity, we would deal with Well Services. They are the primary rig suppliers in Trinidad.”

Well Services has larger and more rigs than Sadhna Petroleum Services does in its inventory. “Well Services wouldn’t deal with the other service companies, whereas we would work with the client to design the well and the slate of services required to meet the client’s specifications,” Ali explains.

Project Management
Sadhna Petroleum Services is an agent for Kemtrom Technologies, which provides mud screens, packaged mud recycling units and dewatering systems, to name a few.

The company has predominantly been engaged in short-term contracts, some as short as two to three months. “We are trying to market ourselves and get ourselves into these longer-term contracts – production contracts in addition to exploration – as the production campaigns tend to be a longer timeline,” Ali says.

She sees a trend in the industry developing toward project management, which currently is approximately 75 percent of the company’s work. “People are relying more and more on scheduling and costing and professional reporting,” she observes. “So we are building our capacity in that area.”