Thursday, July 12, 2018

Josh Ferguson, KY Plant Supervisor, Honored by ESGR

L to R:  Josh Ferguson, Ernest Pitt, Brandon Howard
On Thursday, July 5, 2018, Josh Ferguson, Kentucky Gas Plant Supervisor, was honored by Kentucky's committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) at a weekly Louisa Rotary meeting.  

Relief Operator, Brandon Howard, nominated Josh for this award to let him know how much he appreciates his continued support while on military leave.  Brandon is a staff sergeant in the 577th Sapper Company of the Kentucky Army National Guard (Prestonsburg).  A Sapper sweeps the battlefield to make sure the path is clear for others to go through.  

ESGR area chairman, Ernest Pitt, presented the award and noted that "supervisors like Josh Ferguson and companies like ABARTA Oil & Gas go beyond the legal requirements to support their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserves."

ABARTA thanks you, Brandon, for your service to our country.  And we are very proud of Josh for the fine work he does operating our plant.  

Friday, July 10, 2015

ABARTA Energy "Turns the Page"

Written by Jim Watson, Director of Unconventional Operations

Out there in the spotlight
You’re a million miles away
Every ounce of energy
You try to give away
As the sweat pours out your body
Like the music that you play

Here I am
On the road again
There I am
Up on the stage
Here I go
Playin’ star again
There I go
Turn the page
Excerpts from the lyrics of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page"

On April 6, 2015, ABARTA Energy “Turned the Page” on its history.  This marked the day that we became a horizontal operator, with spudding of the George Spriggs Unit H-1 in Johnson County, Kentucky.

Using ABARTA Energy’s Rig #1 (RD-20) we spud the G. Spriggs Unit H-1 at 0630 hrs.  By the time the sun rose the next morning, the Kentucky rig crew had drilled and cemented two sets of casing!  Two days later we reached total depth on the vertical portion of the well and were running electric logs (eLogs).  The logs helped AOG’s Geologist, Junior Jenkins, determine the exact land point (optimal production zone) for the horizontal portion.
Highlands Drilling Rig #6

On April 19, 2015 we began drilling with Highlands Drilling LLC  Rig #6 (SpeedStar 185 class).  This rig is capable of drilling 8,000’ straight down or, depending on true vertical depth (TVD), it can drill a well that is 1,000’ deep with a horizontal leg of 6,000’.

April 28, 2015 was the day that we reached our TD (total depth) of 3,884’.  We tripped out of the hole with our drill string and picked up a set of reamers.  Reamers are like “sandpaper” for the wellbore.  They smooth out any ledges and flatten (to a degree) curves or drops that were created while drilling.  The objective of reaming is to have as smooth a well bore as possible in which to run our packer system. The packers isolate a stage (every 150 – 200’) that will be completed.  In between every packer is a frac port (sliding sleeve).  During the frac job, different size balls are dropped to actuate the port.  The ball lands in a specifically sized seat, the pumping company pressures up on the ball once it is seated and shears brass pins that hold it closed.  Once the port shifts open, the formation between the two packers is exposed and we then pump the next stage in the treatment.  This process goes on until all zones/ stages have been completed.

The completion job (frac job) on the Spriggs Unit H-1 began and ended on May 19, 2015.  We pumped a total of 638,000 pounds of sand in 416,000 gals of fluid in 16 total stages.
Following the frac job, we drilled out the balls and seats and installed tubing, pump and rods with the ABARTA Energy service rig.  On June 9, 2015, 65 days after we spud the well, we had our first production.

My hat goes off to everyone involved with this project.  We literally went from a stop to 100+ MPH in a matter of days.  Special thanks to the guys out of our Kentucky operation.  They put in the very long hours in inhospitable weather and got it done.  It’s truly an honor to work with these individuals. 

So to bring it full circle, ABARTA Energy really has “turned the page” on its history.  We are in the spotlight and giving every ounce of energy we have to this project and yes, the sweat did pour out of our bodies.  We are on the stage, not only the ABARTA stage but also the Kentucky stage as well.  Everyone involved were the stars and with that, we “turn the page” and begin writing our new “horizontal” history.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Decorating for the Holidays

Employees at ABARTA's headquarters in Pittsburgh were invited to participate in the First Annual Door/Cubicle Decorating Contest.  In the days following Thanksgiving, wreaths and garlands were hung, lights were strung and little elves at 200 Alpha Drive worked nights and weekends to decorate their office doors and cubicles.  On December 10th, Dana Harshbarger, ABARTA Energy's Reservoir Engineer, was declared the winner and awarded a first place prize.
While doors were being decorated, Sandy Doyle, Secretary/Receptionist, and LeeAnn Ruk, Assistant Controller, created a magnificent 36 foot garland to adorn the open staircase in our lobby.  

Installation required about 10 people to carry the garland up the stairs, hold it in place and then wire it to the railing.  The 9-foot, fully lit tree at the bottom of the staircase made it feel a lot more like Christmas!  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Historical Prizes Found Restoring Home

Cliff Simmons, Pittsburgh's Director of Operations, his wife Marisa and daughter Whitney were recently featured in their local newspaper after restoring their 142-year-old home in Kittanning, PA.  Read more here:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Community Center Breaks Ground

community center  noun:  a building or group of buildings where there are classes and activities for the people who live in a community.  The community of O’Hara Township, where AOG headquarters are located, was sorely in need of a new community center.
Built in the 1950s as an elementary school, the Boyd Community Center housed the Lauri Ann West Memorial Library, classrooms and a non-regulation size gymnasium where a local community theater performed, basketball was played and yoga classes took place.  A catering company continues to work out of the original elementary school cafeteria kitchen, and groups rent classrooms and the gymnasium for private events.  But to say that the building has outgrown its useful life is a gross understatement.  Simply replacing windows and floors wouldn’t work.  The building was seriously out of date.

Long before the library moved to a newly-constructed building to become the Cooper Siegel Community Library, local residents anticipated the need and began working to raise funds to build a new community center to serve six local municipalities and beyond.  $7 million had already been raised when Jim Taylor, President and CEO of ABARTA Energy, was tasked with raising the remaining $1 million needed to construct the new Lauri Ann West Community Center.  Unfortunately, by the time the $8.1 million goal was met, the bids for construction came in at $9.4 million.  Thankfully O’Hara Township came to the rescue with a $1.5 million five-year loan so work could begin in the summer of 2014.

Above you’ll see Jim Taylor (third from the right), Shelley Bitzer (fifth from the right) and Lauri Ann West’s mother clapping in the foreground on that memorable day when the ground was finally broken.  The front portion of the existing building that housed the library has been torn down, but the gymnasium and classrooms remain so that operations can continue during construction.  The new 28,000 square foot facility will house a regulation-size gym, an elevated indoor walking track, drop-off child-care room, art and dance studios, a fitness center, a cafĂ©, an outdoor patio, a large community room and after-school arts and enrichment room for kids.

Jim reports that long ago before the elementary school was built the land was used for agricultural purposes, so the new center has been designed to remind one of a barn.

Imagine being able to say you played a major role in making it possible for this incredible facility to be built.  Jim is working with the Board of Directors and the Capital Campaign Leadership Team to make this dream become a reality.  According to Jim, “The Lauri Ann West Community Center, The Cooper-Siegel Community Library ( and the Aspinwall Riverfront Park ( are the three most important community assets that will be built during our lifetime.”

To date, 700 donors have offered their support, but fundraising efforts continue.  To see plans for the new center and make a donation, please visit

Just Like His Daddy

Luke Ferguson, son of Josh Ferguson (Kentucky Plant Supervisor), dressed for career day in kindergarten.  Of course he wants to be just like his daddy.

A Look Ahead at Potential Federal Regulation Changes

Ken Fleeman, Pittsburgh’s Manager of Engineering, was asked to write an article about proposed changes to Federal regulations that will affect the oil and gas industry.  This article was published in the December 2014 issue of The Northeast ONG Marketplace and can be found online via: