Local branch of oil company to close amid industry decline

Published 10:12 am Thursday, September 3, 2015

The local branch of the Houston, Texas-based oil service company Allrig has become the latest victim in the downturn in the oil industry, company officials said.

Marizza Piche’, Allrig’s vice president of general counsel and compliance, said the former Vicksburg Marine Inc. facility on U.S. 61 South, which was part of the company’s offshore rig maintenance repair and supply business, will close before the end of 2015, affecting 42 employees.

“We don’t have an absolute date, but we are doing the planning for that now,” she said, adding Allrig acquired what was then Vicksburg Marine in 2013.

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She said the offshore drilling industry is reducing its presence in the Gulf of Mexico, adding, “Activity is migrating to the Middle East and Asia, where clients are demanding localized capability and supporting these regions from the U.S. is becoming increasingly difficult.”

According to the company’s website, Allrig has facilities in Dubai, Singapore and Alkmaar in Europe.

Allrig, she said, acquired the Vicksburg facility because it represented quality employees, products and services.

“Unfortunately, the downturn in our industry has caused an impact on our business,” she said.

“For the past 15 months, our focus has been, along with our investors, to carry the operation in hopes the industry would begin to turn up,” she said. “All indications now show the industry turning around no earlier than 2017.”

Piche’ said employees at the local facility will be offered the option to transfer to other positions and branches within the company.

“A number of our Vicksburg-based field service employees remain unaffected and will continue to be employed by Allrig and dispatched to rigs all over the world,” she said.

“Because we care about our employees, we are treating them with the respect they have earned and that they deserve,” she said.

“We will be relocating some of the Vicksburg employees to other locations. For those employees who are staying, we are providing them with severance packages that can be described as generous and unprecedented. We are also providing assistance in building their resumes and time during the day to go on job interviews.

Wayne Mansfield, Vicksburg port director, said the Allrig facility here was involved with maintenance on offshore drilling rigs and also made some parts for rig equipment.

“Anytime you have an industry that’s closing, you’re going to have a negative impact, but I don’t see a major impact,” he said. “Many of the employees who worked for Allrig lived outside of Warren County. We have a good number who live in Warren County, but there is also a good number who lived outside. Their employees would pass through here, but go work on a rig offshore. All over the world.”

Formed from a conglomeration of five companies: U.S.-based independent companies Vicksburg Marine Inc., Southern Technology & Services and Benchmark Instrumentation, Netherlands-based Willteco and Singapore-based Willtech Asia, Allrig offered offshore drilling contractors a variety of services including rig upgrades, jacking systems and crane inspections, drilling equipment from mud pump, draw-works, top drive and BOP refurbishments, derrick and rope access inspections and competence-assured academy training.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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