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Member Spotlight: David Ballentine, Northeast Ohio Oilfield Service, Inc.

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator, Monday, October 31, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The member spotlight series features legacy OOGA members who have been a member of the Association for at least 10 years. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven lyndsey@ooga.org

 

Background information:

 

David Ballentine was born and raised in the Mantua/Shalersville Township area in Portage County. He attended Crestview High School and has stayed around the area much of his life. Dave was raised on a dairy farm and knew pretty early on that farming was not going to be his chosen career path. Originally Dave didn’t know a lot about the oilfield business, as he had no ties to the industry. In 1975 Frontier drilled a couple wells on his family’s farm and as a young child he explored around the wells.

 

After graduating from high school Dave went to Ohio Diesel Tech in Cleveland Ohio and became a certified diesel mechanic in 1983. He then started working for a guy named Robert Bossow who owned many different businesses. One of Bossow’s ventures included a dozen investment wells he drilled around his shop in Freedom Township. Dave was hired as his mechanic but soon after Bossow purchased 22 miles of railroad track Dave’s business intelligence really shone through.

 

Bossow found himself with 22 miles of slag (after the steel and ties were sold off) and nothing to do with it. Dave was at lunch in a spot he frequented in Garrettesville and overheard some guys from Lomak Petroleum Inc. talking about how they needed to find slag for all their lease roads.

 

Dave introduced himself and proclaimed, “I’ve got all the slag that you could possibly need.”

 

This lead to a great deal of business for Bossow and Dave, and in 1984 they put in all of the lease roads for 186 wells that Lomak Petroleum Inc. owned. This was essentially what got Dave in the door of the oilfield.

 

“I originally started as Bossow’s mechanic and once I put the lease roads in, I started out being ‘just some kid,’ to a guy that made him a good profit getting rid of all the slag. I went from zero to hero in a matter of no time at all, which was my stepping stone to do other things.”

 

In working with Lomak, Dave made connections and learned of the shortage of water trucks the industry was facing. He convinced Bossow to buy some water trucks, so they got six trucks and had twelve drivers and operated 24 hours a day. They started Bossow Oil Management, got a UIC number and stayed very busy.

 

In 1986 Dave decided he was going to go into business on his own and sat down with Bossow to tell him his intentions. Dave planned to buy his own trucks from a company bankruptcy, but Bossow offered for Dave to purchase Bossow Oil Management since he was truly the original founder. The two were good friends; Dave bought Bossow Oil Management with supplementary financing from Bossow.

 

Work History Overview:

 

In 1985 Dave had started a production company B&B Oilfield Service and had almost up to 100 wells at one time. Managing the production and still running the Bossow Oil Management water trucks, Dave took ownership of the business and it became Northeast Ohio Oilfield Services, Inc. During the process Dave drilled a couple wells for Bossow with Dick Davis acting as Dave’s mentor as he was starting out. Davis also helped Dave with his first disposal well in 1986.

 

“Back then there were so many people that were always willing to help you or offer suggestions. It was a whole different business back then. Everyone was looking for help, they were busy.”

 

B&B Oilfield Service consisted of primarily Northeast Ohio production wells in Portage and Trumbull Counties. Dave focused on this aspect for the next few years, buying wells from companies that purchased them solely for tax benefits. Before the Persian Gulf War, oil was cheap and then skyrocketed as an effect. Dave started to sell of the majority of his production as the war was ending. Since then he’s only had 4-5 producing wells. In the 1980s Dave got his first disposal well, and acquired a handful (6-8) more throughout the years.

 

When the industry was facing a downturn in 1989, Dave bought some dump trucks and semi-tractors and started multitasking by doing a bit of aggregate hauling. In 1990 Dave stopped renting shop space from Bossow and built his own facility, which is where he still operates out of today. Northeast Oilfield Service generally operates with eight employees, including Dave’s son Marcus.

 

“We’ve been very fortunate over the years. We have a great customer base that have been loyal customers to me since the day I got in business, and we still work for them and have great relationships. Don Kreager has also been a great mentor, helping me complete all my disposal wells and guiding me into the shale age.”

 

Dave’s children were involved with the business as they were growing up. His daughter Amanda got an accounting degree from the University of Akron and worked for Dave while she was in college and as a full-time accountant a few years following. He has another daughter Jessica who is an ultra sound technician at Akron Children’s Hospital. Marcus was always more interested in the trucking side, and recently bought the dump trucks from Dave last fall, so Dave and his son still often work together.

 

“The part about the oilfield that is so enjoyable for me is that fact that the people are very friendly. It’s like your second family. It’s such a wonderful community of people to be involved with that would do anything for you to help you. Which is why I’ve always loved the oil and gas industry, the people are so fantastic.”

 

History with the OOGA:

 

Dave has been a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association since he started working for Bossow Oil Management in 1984. He was involved on the UIC workgroup and has served on the OOGA Board Of Trustees since 2014.

“The Association does a lot of good things. It has changed some over the years, but it’s always trying to help the local producers and now the shale producers. If you’ve got a problem you call the Association and they help you resolve whatever issues you may have.”

Dave feels now its even more important for OOGA to be involved as the industry has become more political over the years. Dave praised the Energy In Depth program in helping advocate for the industry. Energy In Depth has been helpful attending public meetings and in dealing with protestors at community meetings or specific work sites. Dave recognized this as the kind of program that stands out, is helpful, and doing something for the members of the Association.

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