‘Changing of the guard’ underway at Trican as Brad Fedora named new chairman

Murray Cobbe (left) has been either chairman or CEO of Trican for 23 years. Brad Fedora is the former CEO of Canyon Technical Services, which was acquired by Trican in June 2017. Composite image by JWN using files from Resource Merchant Capital and Canyon Technical Services.

There’s a change in leadership underway at one of Canada’s major oilfield service companies.

Trican Well Service has announced that Brad Fedora, the former CEO of Canyon Services Group, will become its new chairman this May. Canyon was acquired by Trican in June 2017, at which point Fedora joined Trican’s board of directors.

As chairman, Fedora will replace celebrated Alberta businessman Murray Cobbe, who is retiring after having been with Trican since 1996.

During that time, Cobbe helped shepherd the company's growth from a small regional well cementing company with nine trucks to the largest pressure pumping company operating in Canada.

“We view the appointment of Mr. Fedora as chairman as a ‘changing of the guard’ within Trican and we expect he will look to impart his conservative and cost-conscious strategies to a greater extent,” GMP FirstEnergy analyst Ian Gillies wrote in a research note on Friday.

“That being said, Mr. Cobbe’s impact on the company cannot be understated, having been either chairman or CEO of Trican for the past 23 years.”

The outlook for Trican is better than expected, Gillies added, with strong utilization on its active asset base so far in the first quarter of 2019, as well as its focus on pricing discipline.

“We view Q4/18 as an inflection point for Trican. The company’s stock declined 73 percent in 2018 and 48 percent in Q4/18 alone as the outlook for Canadian oilfield services activity — and in particular pressure pumping — deteriorated dramatically. However, the company has since rationalized its cost structure, paid down its senior notes and has appointed a new chairman of whom we have a favourable view.”

In January, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada reduced its 2019 drilling forecast by 1,000 wells from its 6,600-well forecast in November, due to ongoing market access issues and the implementation of Alberta’s crude oil production curtailment.