Comal Energy Services Expands Into Marine Engine Maintenance, Repair Market
Although Comal Energy Services (CES) may be new to the inland marine market, those spearheading the oil and gas services company’s expansion have decades of experience repairing and maintaining marine vessels.
Company president Allan Nichols previously worked in the marine division of Mustang Cat. Jake Burkhart, marine sales manager, is part of the family that owned Capital Towing from 1980 to 2006. Capital owned and operated as many as 20 inland pushboats during its history.
Together, the men estimate they have about 45 years of experience.
CES, based in Tomball, Texas, was founded in 2015 by Randy West, who spent decades in the oil and gas markets. Over time, the business became known for its engine and compressor service. Now, Nichols said, the company intends to be a one-stop shop capable of not just immediate mechanical repairs but also partnering with clients to improve their equipment’s efficiency and reliability.
“Rather than having to reach out to three or four suppliers, we can help fill all their needs,” Nichols said.
The company has field service technicians available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from Corpus Christi, Texas, up the Gulf Coast and into Louisiana. Although they routinely assist customers in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi, service technicians are available to call on clients throughout the country as needed.
But CES wants to be more than just the people who get a call at 2 a.m. to come repair a main engine, compressor or barge pump engine, Burkhart said.
“We’re not just a bunch of field mechanics,” he said. “We’ve got a lot more we can offer. If a customer has an older vessel they want to repower, CES has the experience and design engineers who can create a turn-key solution. We want to partner with our customers to create solutions, like reducing unscheduled engine down time or reducing engine maintenance costs.”
Burkhart said it again comes down to experience.
“Having operated vessels at Capital for many years, I have first-hand experience of what many of our customers are dealing with when it pertains to maintenance issues,” he said. “I fully understand the challenges of a vessel being stopped due to mechanical issues and the urgency to get that vessel back up and running.”
At the same time, he said, CES also understands the growing list of regulations companies must meet and can help customers with regulatory and emissions compliance.
CES also services a wide range of marine diesel propulsion and generator engines and can perform top-end and in-frame overhauls in a customer’s vessel along with complete shop overalls. The company’s service line includes Cummins, Caterpillar, John Deere, Detroit Diesel and even outboards and diesel pumps.
In the end, they said, it’s all about the customer. With more than a dozen major clients already, CES hopes to continue to build long-term relationships where desired, instead of just providing one-time fixes, leading to more efficiency for clients as time goes on.
“We spend time with them analyzing what their maintenance needs are, and then we start working with them on a game plan on service work to minimize downtime,” Burkhart said.
CES believes that combination of marine experience, technical expertise, customer service available around the clock and taking time to help clients identify and meet their long-term goals will appeal to customers.