Game changer

April 1, 2015

When you think of oil and gas, JJ Giraldi wants you to think of Packers Plus Energy Services Inc.

“We joke about trying to be the Google of the oil industry,” says Giraldi, the company’s CFO, “but really that’s what we’re aiming for.”

The 22-year veteran of the oil industry has worked for the $40 billion Schlumberger Limited, the world’s largest and oldest oil-service company, and he also has experience in financing, manufacturing, and distribution, having worked at places such as Citibank and Monsanto Company. At Packers Plus, he’s in charge of executing the company’s financial strategy and participating in the design of its growth strategy, and by helping the company continue to focus on its creative endeavours, he has been able to push it to dramatic new heights.

Giraldi joined Packers Plus in 2007 and was immediately thrown into discussions regarding its strategic planning and development, not only in the finance department but in everything from auditing to IT—any area that could add value for the company’s shareholders. “It was a company that had a culture of innovation and empowerment for its people,” Giraldi says, “so there was a chance for the company, as well as myself, to grow.”

Since the start of Giraldi’s tenure, Packers Plus has ballooned by more than 400 percent, going from 40 employees to more than 900 and from 2 service centres in Edmonton and Houston to 16 centres in 14 countries and operations in 34 different countries.

“The challenge was in the internationalization of the company,” Giraldi says. Luckily, the CFO, originally from Venezuela, is a four-language polyglot, and his background helped him deal with all of Packers Plus’s new jurisdictions. As the company has expanded, it has continued to attract attention with unique products and services. “We live by innovation,” Giraldi says.

A large portion of the company’s budget is spent on research and development in both Canada and the United States, and it works at the same time to maintain efficiency. “We try to use the best applications, the best software, and try to make all the processes as efficient as possible,” Giraldi says.

Packers Plus also invests a large portion of its budget in automation in order to ensure its products are high-quality. The quality control has allowed the company to export to China, a country that is not usually on the receiving end of manufactured products.

And, specifically in the finance department, Giraldi and his team recently worked on revamping how they treat expense reports by implementing new technology. Instead of submitting a paper report, members of the Packers Plus team out in the field can now simply take a picture of the report with their smartphone and send it directly to accounting.

Packers Plus has specifically become known for StackFRAC, an open-hole multistage completion system that has transformed the oil industry by helping company’s capture formerly unrecoverable resources. The technology, which has 81 patent families, is able to restimulate oil wells and recover up to 25 percent of oil in a reservoir. (Previously, companies could only recover a paltry two percent.) “Our technology brought back the energy market to the United States and gave it new life,” Giraldi says.

To continue its legacy of industry-shifting ideas, Packers Plus has close to 90 open projects in its research arm. One of those projects, if successful, will increase the effectiveness of oil and gas recovery in the Canadian oil sands. From there, the idea could be taken to places such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. “These are game-changing technologies,” Giraldi says, “and we will revolutionize the oil industry once again.”