LOGAN – Benchmark Wireline is a Logan company that designs and manufactures custom wireline trucks for the oil and gas industry. Unless a person drives by while one of the trucks is pulled out of the building at 1850 N. 600 W., no one would know what goes on the building.
General Manager Russ Porath said they have 16 skilled local craftsman who turn raw materials into a technical masterpiece.
“Our trucks, built right here in Logan, are used in Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America as well as Canada,” he said. “The closest ones are in the Vernal and Evanston areas.”
After drilling a hole for energy exploration, Benchmark equipment operators use modern technology to send cables down the hole to analyze what they can’t see from the surface. The trucks’ cables even offer the ability to set a plug to cap a hole or set off explosive charges. The cables have a working depth of over 15,000 feet below the surface of the earth.
“The cables have sensors that go down and measure the different types of the earth,” Porath said. “The probes can tell the difference between rock, water, sand gas or oil.”
Benchmark starts with Kenworth truck chassis and build the rest of it from the wheels up.
The trucks have a mobile control cab with computerized controls that measure everything the monitors find. There is wire, or E-line, that can be used for a video a camera or other electronic tools to explore the depths of the hole.
“Currently, we are producing one vehicle every other month,” Porath said. “When we are at full capacity, we can build two and a half trucks a month.”
He said there have been mine cave-ins and other disasters where cameras have been deployed to get information in the depths of the disaster. That’s the kind of things the trucks are capable of doing.
Porath was one of three original founders of Eclipse, the original company that manufactured the trucks before Benchmark took over. Porath is the only remaining founder, the others have left the company to pursue other interests.
“I’m the only one of the three founders left,” he said. “I was working for a competitor when we started Eclipse.”
“Eclipse was owned by investors and sold to Benchmark, one of our suppliers, after the recent economic turn down.”
“Everything built here is sent to Texas, then sent on to other locations,” he said. “Anything built in the United Kingdom is for off-shore exploration.”
As general manager, Porath is the company salesman, advertising exec and manger of operations. He said they have also been featured in trade magazines and other publications.
“It seems like our sales are affected by the election cycle and when gas and oil prices fluctuate,” he said.
Porath said he is also using social media to get the word out about the wire trucks, and has found some success that way.
“Social media wasn’t something we used when I first started in the business,” he said. “I’ve been able to learn what I need know to get our trucks out there.”
All of the trucks are all custom made to meet the client’s needs and generally the trucks alone cost in the neighborhood of $500,000 and with all the different add-on’s can easily reach $2 million per outfit.