Abrupt closure shocks some Basic Energy employees in Pratt

Fran Brownell
Basic Energy Services at 10244 KS-61 on the north edge of Pratt stands deserted after shutting down December 17, leaving an estimated 25 Pratt employees jobless just one week before Christmas. The Pratt-Liberal facilities were the only operations in the state of Kansas affected by the shutdown. Twelve other Basic Energy Services pumping operations in five other states were included in the shutdown.

Basic Energy Services, LP with corporate offices in Ft. Worth, Texas, shut down their Pratt pumping operation mid-December, laying off the entire work crew of an estimated 25 employees.
“It was a shock and unexpected. I didn’t see it coming,” said Darrell Martinez of Pratt, who had been employed as a Basic Energy Services driver for seven years.
Rocky Pierce, also of Pratt and another of the laid-off employees, said the shutdown didn’t take him by surprise, given the current economics of the oil field industry.
The shutdown affected 13 Basic Energy drilling operations in six states, with the Pratt and Liberal locations being the only ones in the state of Kansas.
“They shut down the whole pressure pumping division,” said Pierce. “I feel sorry for the young employees with children. They got no notice, nothing.”
Pierce said the he wasn’t as affected by the layoff as the other workers because of his plans to retire on December 31.
“I worked for them for 14 and one-half years,” Pierce said. “They treated me well. I hate to see them close.”
Basic Energy field workers at the Pratt location worked in one of three areas comprising the process of pressure pumping—cementing, acidization and fracking, according to Pierce, who said he was involved in the acidization process.
Basic Energy Yard Manager Justin Westerman was reported to be currently still on site, but was unavailable for comment and did not return phone calls to The Pratt Tribune.
Multiple calls to the Basic Energy corporate offices in Ft. Worth, seeking updated information on behalf of the Pratt Tribune, also were not returned though plenty of time was allowed.
Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce Manager Kim DeClue said she had no comment regarding the closing since Basic Energy is not a chamber member.
Basic Energy Services, Inc., stock (BASX) closed at 29 cents per share on the New York Stock Exchange at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard last Friday, January 4, 2020, up 3.16 per cent from just under 28 cents per share at 10 a.m. the same day.
Basic Energy stock closed at 43.5 cents per share on December 2, 2019, according to financial data reported by yahoo!finance.com.
Pratt Hope Center Director Pam Ford said the Hope Center has had some inquiries from laid-off workers and families, but the agency has resources to help those put in an economic bind by the abrupt closing.
Danielle Lang, human resources director for Glassman Corporation, headquartered in Hays, said her company was inviting inquiries about an apprenticeship program for plumbing and sheet metal trades from the laid-off Pratt Basic Energy employees.
Lang said the firm fills positions in several regions of the state.
Lang said the program provides opportunity to earn while learning a trade.
“We’re looking for eight to ten career minded applicants,” Lang said. "Anyone can apply at our website online."