Valor Labs, located at 130 Anson St. in Virden’s industrial park area, provides a variety of laboratory testing services to support crude oil and natural gas production.
“We do oil and gas sampling and oil analysis,” said Operations Manager Sam Simpson from Lloydminster, Alberta where the company has been operating since the fall of 2019. According to its website, this includes crude oil, condensate, bitumen, liquid petroleum gas and liquid natural gas.
“We test all the physical characteristics. Basically, anything that matters to the refinery at the end, so density, sulfur content, viscosity, core points, flashpoints, vapour pressure, and more. We work for producers and mainstream companies, both in the lab and in the field…anything to do with oil analysis we can do here.” Samples may be obtained from batteries, tank farms, wellheads or treaters.
Simpson noted that one of the company’s specialities is its mobility.
“We do lots of field lab testing where we just take a pickup truck with some lab equipment,” he said. “If it’s a bigger job we take a trailer and we’ll actually set up on somebody’s location and test their oil for them. Sometimes it’s for a day, sometimes it’s for several weeks or even a month and a half at a time, if someone has a shutdown or something where they need a lot of testing done.” The company employs a variety of analytical testing methods, which may be customized to the customer’s requirements, with rapid turnaround time.
Originally known as Nova Analytics, the business began in southwestern Saskatchewan in 2015 and set up its first Manitoba facility in Virden, primarily servicing the Cromer area. An acquisition in August of last year changed the name to Valor Labs.
“Nova was started when TEML (Tundra Energy Marketing Limited) bought pipelines from Enbridge – the gathering system,” Simpson said. “We were testing all the places that were connected to the pipeline, basically. We needed to make sure they strip enough gas out of the oil so it’s safe to transport in the pipeline.”
Valor’s local operation currently has a staff of one, Damien Mowez, and there are employees located in Saskatoon, Calgary, and Lloydminster/Blackfoot.
“The drilling rigs brought us to Virden,” Simpson said. “I was working in Alberta and then my rig, Trinidad Number 9, came out and started working for Tundra Oil & Gas and I worked out there for quite a while.”
The company has recently augmented its services and is poised for growth in the years ahead.
“We’ve added more tests to our abilities here. Some are more in-depth,” he said.
Although the effects have definitely been noticed, Valor has managed to weather the highs and lows of the petroleum industry.
“It takes a little bit longer for us to feel it (industry volatility) than somebody who is a direct producer, but definitely 2020 was a bad year,” Simpson said. “It’s definitely bouncing back now. I feel that people are a lot more hesitant to go all-in on things these days after the booms and crashes we’ve had in the last decade.”
In the midst of the global pandemic, the company forged ahead, continuing to meet the needs of their customer base.
“COVID never stopped us from doing anything, but it was just a lot of extra hoops to jump through,” Simpson said. “Lots of extra screening and testing. Every company had a similar but slightly different protocol we had to follow to get to their site. We never had to shut down for it, luckily, and we just got through it.”
In the near future, Valor plans to expand its territory and offer gas testing.
“We’re hoping to service the Grande Prairie area soon, and continue to serve Manitoba, Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta,” Simpson said. “We’re currently doing gas sampling, but the gas testing we’ve never done in house yet. That’s our next expansion that we’re actually working on right now and should hopefully be operational by summer. It is a big undertaking. It’ll be great for our clients.”
For more information, visit www.valorlabs.ca.
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