Leading the Way in Casing Cementing Equipment


Top-Co supplies oilfield casing cementing products – including float shoes, collars, centralizers and hardware – and deliver real time wellbore solutions and product support to meet the time-sensitive needs and challenges of the industry. A Canadian enterprise headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Top-Co has maintained a record of quality, unblemished service as a specialized niche company supplying and supporting casing cementing equipment since it was formed in 1963.

“Over the years, Top-Co has differentiated itself from its competitors with testing equipment, specialized application engineering for horizontal wells, and order fill performance, the most important key performance indicators in our industry,” says Gerald McLaughlan, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to acquiring Top-Co from its founders in 2006, Mr. McLaughlan was involved in a number of successful business ventures, including working with leading manufacturing companies with international operations and distribution for the previous 15 years. When he took over at Top-Co, his aim was to drive growth organically and through strategic acquisitions. The team at the company was successful in a number of ways, which saw organic growth achieved through market share gains in Canada – from 22 percent to over 40 percent – and impressive expansion into markets in the United States with the opening of four regional sales / distribution platforms and establishment of a network of distributors. Today, Top-Co has distributors in 25 different countries, supported by corporate sales / product support platforms in Colombia, Moscow, Australia, China, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.

Since taking over the reins at Top-Co, Mr. McLaughlan has also made a number of other strategic moves, such as the acquisition of two U.S. companies with proprietary patent protected products, leading to the ability to participate in the high value deepwater drilling sector. The company has also introduced engineering application resources specializing in horizontal / extended reach wells which are supported by “fit for purpose” tools such as low friction polymer centralizers.

The company has also implemented strategies to improve productivity and increase profit margins, such as introducing lean manufacturing practices, robotics, employee motivation (100 percent operate with performance bonus plans), and relocating production closer to the source of raw materials.

Merger with CaseTech

Last December, Top-Co Inc. was pleased to announce that the company had entered into a merger agreement with CaseTech International Inc. Based in Houston, Texas, the merger of the two entities further reinforced Top-Co’s position in and commitment to the American market. As a leading provider of cost-effective, high-quality casing cementing products, CaseTech offers a suite of patented, in-line deep water centralizers.

For Top-Co’s clients and staff, the merger has been beneficial, notes Mr. McLaughlan. “CaseTech conveyed several benefits,” he says, “such as U.S. market share; proprietary patented tools used in deepwater wells; a global growth sector, along with employees who designed, marketed and supported these high value sub-sea integrated centralizers; international clients with master supply agreements; and a U.S. distribution network. Our customers benefit from an expanded portfolio of tools available from a single source.”

The merger of the two companies has resulted in a strong, new organization, one which is extremely well-positioned to continue to capitalize on key trends in the oil and gas industries. These include “increased horizontal drilling, longer laterals, geothermal and deeper wells across a broad, diverse global customer base comprised of E&P and national oil companies and multinational service companies,” explains Mr. McLaughlan. Clients will also directly benefit from the merger, which will see an expanding worldwide network of customer service and product support centres. This will be further augmented by a network of qualified agents and distributors, which will further ensure the company’s many clients continue to receive best in class global casing cementing solutions, delivered regionally. The new company will operate under Top-Co, a name respected and trusted in the industry for decades.

Range of Products and Solutions

Active in the design, manufacture, testing and distribution of casing cementing tools used in oil, gas, and geothermal wells, Top-Co’s clients comprise oil and gas companies, private / public and national, and services companies drilling on land and water, with 30 percent of sales in Canada, 40 percent in the United States, and 30 percent to international markets.

Carrying a range of equipment, Top-Co is able to meet the needs of all clients. The company’s quality stage cementing equipment and tools are used to ensure success in multiple stage cementing applications, precisely positioning the cement slurry during stage cementing operations. The company’s Type 600 Series stage cementing equipment is designed for use in horizontal wellbores where the bend radius requires cementing, in cases where different blends of cement require safe pumping into the wellbore, and where there may be a breakdown of low pressure formations.

Top-Co’s range of float equipment is used for primary cementing, the process of displacing drilling fluid and placing cement slurry to form a continuous and competent cement sheath within the wellbore annulus, while maintaining well control and preventing fluid migration between permeable zones. The equipment contains or acts as a check valve, preventing backflow of cement into the casing which, once in place, is the separation of two hydrostatic columns of fluid. Maintenance of differential pressure is achieved using float equipment while sustaining the goal of preventing backflow.

At Top-Co, the company’s float equipment production processes include material processing, machining, valve production, and cementing, with quality control testing and inspections performed by Top-Co highly-skilled technicians. Machining is processed in-house on Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) equipment, and the company utilizes seamless casing grade steel produced by API licensed mills. Master thread gauges are API registered, working gauges are used for inspection of all API connections, and all Top-Co float valves are tested and rated in compliance with API Recommended Practice 10F.

When it comes to primary cementing tools and casing accessories, Top-Co is unrivalled. Used to assist the operator in successfully placing and supporting the casing string in the wellbore, enhancing mud removal and providing zone isolation, these tools are essential components of a successful casing running and cementing program, and the proper selection of primary cementing accessories reduces the need for secondary cementing, ensuring tubulars get to target depth, achieve optimum circulation and reducing risk of differential sticking.

Other key products carried by Top-Co include cementing plugs and inner string cementing equipment. Used to cement casing in a wellbore while wiping casing surfaces clean of drilling mud, spacers and cement, cementing plugs also prevent over-displacement of the cement slurry, and indicate when the cementing job is complete and a positive seal has been achieved. The use of inner string float equipment allows for large diameter casing strings to be cemented through the drillpipe or tubing and stung into and / or sealed into the float shoe or collar. Top-Co offers inner string cementing equipment available with or without a latch-in feature on the stinger.

At Top-Co’s vertically integrated manufacturing facilities, the company’s full line of oilfield casing cementing equipment is designed, manufactured, and dynamically tested in-house. Using automated production equipment, a unique state-of-the-art flow computer controlled loop test facility and finite inspection equipment, the company ensures quality which meets or exceeds demanding industry standards. Adhering to a full range of lean manufacturing and 5S principles in its operations, Top-Co’s production team is dedicated to ongoing mapping processes to identify and eliminate waste and non-value added practices, and customers benefit as a result from efficiency gains and continuous improvement programs manifested by stable, predictable and competitive pricing.

The company has invested over $4 million in dynamic testing equipment to ensure quality. “The key is we can dynamically test new and modified tools in the laboratory in exactly the same conditions the customer will encounter in the field,” shares Mr. McLaughlan. “These simulations remove or largely mitigate costly problems and delays that a customer may encounter when using an untested tool.” Additionally, the company’s CEO cites specialization in a single product line, lean processes, response time to requests before a PO is issued, a large inventory of raw and finished goods, sound MRP planning, an efficient and comprehensive distribution network, and in-house logistics experts for global shipping as factors resulting in Top-Co shipping products faster that its competitors.

As wells continue to be created, products need to keep pace and be able to withstand higher temperatures in pressure wells while at the same time generating less friction. New and innovative designs, new materials, and tighter tolerances are part of the mandate for the company, which maintains four internationally recognized certification standards: ISO 9001:2008; American Petroleum Institute (API); Gosgortechnadzor; and Gosstandart.

Even after 50 years in business, Top-Co prides itself on the many applications its engineers design for producers, and on the optimum placement and type of centralizers to assist them to reach target in horizontal extended reach wells. “Top-Co designed and developed the industry’s leading computer controlled dynamic test facility to confirm the performance of new and modified downhole tools before delivery to the field,” states Mr. McLaughlan. “Clients often request customized tools for unique applications and have the comfort of knowing they will perform through prior extensive dynamic testing.”

As for the company’s anniversary, Top-Co is proud of its many accomplishments, and is celebrating its acquisition of CaseTech and the opening of its start of the art plant in China. The future of the company will see it continue to establish global distribution of its suite of products targeting emerging shale plays and deepwater, both high growth / high value sectors, and continue to improve its competitive position by lowering costs through its new manufacturing facility in China.

December 19, 2018, 7:13 AM EST