As a petroleum engineer for Franks Petroleum in the mid-1960s, L. R. “Bob” Brammer, Jr. saw a niche in the oil and gas industry and thought often about filling it.
The native Oklahoman had come to Shreveport in 1954 after earning his engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma and serving his country in the Marine Corps in both WWII and Korea. Bob was an intelligent, hard-working professional who had a tremendous capacity to manage multiple complex projects simultaneously. Coupled with his strong work ethic was a very admirable business ethic and integrity that won the trust and confidence of many a person and client.
With experience under his belt, a love for his work, a reputation widely admired in the Shreveport area, and the support of his mentors like John Franks and Ralph Gilster, Bob left Franks Petroleum and formed Brammer Engineering, Inc. (BEI) on September 9, 1968. His first partner and client were his former boss and close friend, John Franks. The company, as Bob envisioned it, would be a contract operating firm to service local independent oil and gas operators in the Arklatex. The goal was to provide value-added, high-quality engineering and operational services at competitive prices. He envisioned the company as a vehicle that would enable many independent oil and gas people in the region to control and operate their own deals and properties. His vision became reality in spite of the fact that Bob was out sick his first week in business and his wife, Dot, was left to answer the phone in his absence.
Today Brammer Engineering, Inc. provides services to a wide variety of E&P organizations, ranging from tiny shops to the global super majors. Brammer also provides a wide variety of services to financial organizations and many other businesses unrelated to the domestic E&P business. It is a full-service operating, property management and consulting firm that provides a wide-range of operational and administrative services. Among them are drilling, completion, facility and pipeline construction, procurement, wellsite supervision, production management, operations, land, accounting, regulatory, oil and gas marketing, health, safety & environmental services, compliance & reporting, and risk management & insurance services.
Bob felt that many small exploration geologists neither had the resources nor the activity to justify their own staffs. He understood the need for, and created a company built on the “outsourcing” concept a few decades before it became commonplace in the oil and gas world. For the first 15-20 years of the company’s existence, the Arklatex, and later the South Louisiana market, were the primary areas of Brammer Engineering’s activity.
Early clients were Franks Petroleum (John Franks), Goodrich Oil Company (Henry Goodrich), Grigsby Oil and Gas (Jack Grigsby) and Harvey Broyles. These men were all Shreveport independents and personal friends of Bob’s. By aggregating multiple accounts of business, Bob could support the staff necessary to drill, complete and operate properties, and still supply quality service at a reasonable price.
By the mid-to-late 80s, oil and gas properties began to change hands frequently. One of those transactions, SONAT’s acquisition of Franks Petroleum’s North Louisiana properties, proved to be a seminal moment for Brammer Engineering. Because of that sale, one of Brammer Engineering’s clients, Kelley Oil and Gas Corporation, acquired operations on approximately 200 of those wells and hired BEI to contract-operate them. This new piece of business more than doubled the size of the company in a very short period of time and helped position Brammer Engineering for new growth opportunities in the future.
While Shreveport had been a thriving hub for large and small companies in the 1960s and 70s, that changed in the 80s as the domestic energy business suffered through a very tough period. Many of those companies had begun relocating to Houston and as the 90s arrived, it was evident that BEI’s future growth opportunities were primarily with E&P companies located outside of the Arklatex. The company began targeting potential clients in Houston and elsewhere. Those efforts provided the growth that carried Brammer Engineering into the 21st century.
On New Year’s Day 1995, Bob retired from the company, turning the reins over to Keith Evans. Keith was a petroleum engineering graduate from LSU who started his career with Shell and joined the company in 1982. The new management team realized that maintaining the high standards that Bob had set during his 40-plus-year career were vital to the company’s continued growth and success. They also clearly understood that the legacy that Bob left both personally and professionally was the principal foundation for the company’s success in the future.
One of the many sales trips to Houston in early 1996 was a visit to a friend at Amoco. The timing was right and thinking “out of the box”, Amoco hired BEI to drill three wells in North Louisiana that summer. The success of that first project led Amoco to name Brammer Engineering as project manager for its East Texas drilling program a year later. The relationship continued through the merger with British Petroleum (bp) in 1998. Since that time, Brammer Engineering ultimately drilled and completed hundreds of wells for bp in East Texas.
The new millennium brought continued growth and more opportunities as the outsourcing model became more widely accepted within the industry. The emergence of private equity into the domestic E&P world in the 90s has fostered exceptional growth opportunities. Many relatively small E&Ps, funded by private equity, are a perfect fit for Brammer Engineering’s business model.
In January, 2005, two longstanding oil and gas family businesses in Shreveport, Anderson Oil and Gas and Franks Petroleum, purchased sizable positions in the company. Evans remained with the company as the managing partner, and soon after ownership was extended to several employees of the company. These transactions have made the company even stronger and have been mutually beneficial for all involved.
Brammer Engineering continues to develop new relationships with large and small companies alike. The emergence of domestic shale development with horizontal wells and quickly evolving hydraulic fracturing techniques has been exciting for our company and the domestic oil and gas industry as well. Equally as exciting is the challenge to produce mature conventional assets on a cost effective basis. Cutting edge or basic operational execution; both are essential and both are what makes the domestic oil and gas business so challenging and rewarding.
Brammer Engineering has been blessed through the years with exceptional employees who have blended a service mentality with competence and high quality operator execution to establish a 50+ year track record of excellence. Many of our employees have 20+ years with the company while we are also very fortunate to have some younger, very capable emerging leaders who continue to bring new energy and ideas to their jobs every day. The blend of many gifts and talents has enabled our company to prosper for over a half a century and to look forward to the next 50 years with excitement and enthusiasm.
We recognize that we are truly blessed and that we stand on the shoulders of a giant as we celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2018. Bob left our company and this industry a great legacy that we will continue to preserve, protect and build on well into the future.