Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Tri-State Oil Tool Co.: 45 Years of Success

Tri-State Oil Tool Co. was established in Bossier City on Dec. 1, 1945, co-owned by Gary H. Burnham of Longview, TX and Earl P. Sawyer of Hamburg, AR with only seven employees. They were a general oil field machine shop specializing in cleaning wells and correcting other problems in well drilling.

In six short years, the company grew “from a modest beginning to one of this area’s leading oil tool service and supply companies,” according to “officials of the firm.” According to Burnham, they carried “a complete line of squeeze, acidizing, and fishing tools, well testing tools, both formation and casting: all sizes of washover pipes, and several types of drill pipe equipment with tool joints.”

In 1951, they moved into their new headquarters one-quarter mile east of Benton Rd. on Highway 80. Here, they had “a 250-foot frontage as compared with the old 55 feet” giving the company a larger building, more storage space, and parking. They had a large fleet of cars and seven trucks offering their services to the Ark-La-Tex around the clock.
Tri-State Oil Tool Co. new headquarters, plant, and pipe yard built in 1951. Photo taken in 1959.
Collection ID: 2000.036.001-2.
By 1953 they boasted five branches throughout Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. They had a staff of 90 highly skilled employees divided among plants in Lafayette, La; Beaumont, Kilgore, and Corpus Christi in Texas, and Magnolia, Ar. They did not limit themselves to work only in the Ark-La-Tex. They also provided their services as far north as Canada, as far east as Florida, and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Cameron Parish.

In September of 1954, Tri-State Oil Tool Co. announced that they had perfected a new fishing tool. “The Tri-State Special Washover Drill Collar Spear is installed inside the washover pipe at a desired point so that it may be screwed into the fish before the rotary shoe reaches the stuck point. After the joint is securely tightened the working string is turned about one-eighth turn to the left and lowered. This operation releases the tool from the control bushing and washover operations may proceed with the comfortable feeling that when the fish is washed free it will be securely and safely caught.”
Tri-State Oil Tool Co.'s new Washover Drill Collar Spear.  
“Another interesting and time saving feature of this new tool is that the spear may be released and lowered to the control bushing and wash pipe laid down before having to do the usual difficult stripping job.”

“The remarkable efficiency of this new tool has been proven on many jobs under adverse conditions for such companies as Penrod Drilling Co., Phillips Petroleum Co., Hunt Oil Co., of Texas, Lion Oil
Co., and many others.”

Over the years, Tri-State Oil Tool Co. became a leading oil tool service and supply company not only for the tri-state area but for the country. For 45-years they remained an essential part of Bossier City’s economy; until 1990 when they merged with Baker Hughes International of Houston and relocated its corporate headquarters to Houston, Tx.

To learn more about the industries of Bossier Parish, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center at 2206 Beckett Street, Bossier City.

By: Amy Robertson

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