Cara Dawn (2019) has evolved into Fast Energy. Photo by Mike Fowler

Carnduff – Four years ago, Dennis Day bought Regina-based Cara Dawn (2019), a heavy-hauling trucking firm whose owner, Dave Wellings, was retiring after 25 years of ownership of Cara Dawn Transport.

At the time, Day thought it was a way to prepare for expanded operations when the seemingly never-ending oil downturn finally ended.

That was the plan, anyway.

(The above video is a feature CTV did on the 2019 Cara Dawn sale.)

 

The downturn continued on for another three years, hitting the lowest depths during the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn’t until 2022, seven years after the onset of the downturn and after Russia invaded Ukraine, that the downturn ended and prices once again rose above US$100 a barrel. But even so, drilling activity in Saskatchewan did not recover anywhere close to the numbers they had been seven years earlier. And in 2023, with oil prices in the US$80 to US$90 range, they still haven’t.

So the decision was made to sell off some iron, and move the rest to North Dakota to set up shop there.

Day told Pipeline Online on Nov. 7, “All the equipment I bought four years ago, is worth more than I paid for it four years ago. So the market is so beat up, it’s just so hard to make money on that highway stuff.

“I mainly bought it so I could help Fast Trucking move stuff in the states, keep them busier, then these guys would help us move rigs.”

When COVID came, there was little oil work, but Cara Dawn had still been busy hauling equipment.

Cara Dawn (2019) has evolved into Fast Energy. Photo by Mike Fowler

 

“I thought, ‘Okay, there’s only 15 rigs working and but once oil gets, up after 2018-19, maybe it would get up to 50 rigs and those Cara Dawn guys can help us out and vice versa. It just diversified. But so far, there’s still $85, $90 oil, and we’re still in 15 rigs working,” he explained.

Indeed, according to RiggerTalk.com, there were 13 rigs working in southeast Saskatchewan, and three in southwest Manitoba. During the Bakken boom, there would be 50 or even 60 rigs drilling in the combined southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba.

In southwest Saskatchewan, where Fast Trucking also has operations, there are four rigs working. But up until a few weeks ago, it had been only three.

So some Cara Dawn equipment went up for auction.

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“I sold half the stuff in the auction that I don’t need for the States, and the half I do need for the States, I’m taking to North Dakota,” Day said. There, a new company would be fired up.

Day was rather surprised in that he bought all that Cara Dawn equipment for a certain price, ran it for four years, and sold half of it for three-quarters of the money he spent originally.

The new location is a shop, 90-man camp, some houses and shops on 55 acres at Alexander, North Dakota. It’s 10 miles west of Watford City, and 30 miles south of Williston, the heart of the Bakken play.

See the new door sticker? Photo by Mike Fowler

 

The North Dakota company is called Fast Energy Services. The deal went through back in February, but they started operations the third week of April.

Regina staff were reallocated to some of the 17 companies within the Day Group of Companies. Some staff went to North Dakota on work visas.

Fast Energy will be working with one of those 17 companies. It will be based at the same location as North Dakota-based Admiral Well Servicing. That’s likely a play on the name of Day’s first service rig company, General Well Servicing (military ranks of general, admiral, get it?)

It’s also a nod to the home town of the late Tony Day, who grew up near Admiral, Saskatchewan, before moving to Carnduff.

Admiral is the fourth service rig company in the group, with Ex-cel Well Servicing and Eagle Sky Ventures LP rounding out the other two.

Service rigs in North Dakota are more substantial, and require eight full loads on each service, he noted.

Fast Energy also works with third party companies, hauling their loads.

On Nov. 7, Mike Fowler, director of operations with the Day Group of Companies posted photos of Fast Energy trucks in Alexander, noting, “Fast Energy Services located in Alexander North Dakota is officially up and operational with our first load ready to go!”

 

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