Bob Merkley – President
Bob has more than forty years of drilling fluids experience in North America. Starting out with IMC, he then created and ran Mudtech and Optimum Fluids before selling to Newpark Resources in 1998. Bob became Vice President of Newpark from 1998 to 2001 and President from 2001 to 2009. He was also a Technical Manager for Reef Mud.
Craig Furlong – BSc, VP Technology and Operations
Craig has been the VP Technology and Operations of Blackstone Fluids for four years and has worked as a field and technical service manager in Indonesia, West Africa, North Sea, China, Canada’s East Coast and the Northwest Territories for the past sixteen years. His strong technical background and problem-solving skills, as well as his comprehensive training, have made him an expert leader in drilling fluids and systems.
Sean Furlong – BSc, VP Sales and Marketing
With 21 years of experience working in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and Canada’s East Coast, Sean has gained extensive experience in the development of SAGD fluids and operations with major players in the industry. With extensive training, Sean was a Sales Manager for four years, and also has experience in both small and large project management of fluids and fluids waste. He has been the VP Sales and Marketing of Blackstone Fluids for the past eleven years.
Jeff Dimitroff – Vice President - Technical Services
Jeff has been in the Oil and Gas industry since 1997. He started as a solids control technician and attended mud school in Houston in 1998. After working as a Drilling Fluids Specialist offshore in Eastern Canada and Africa for 6 years, he was transferred to the Calgary Office as a Project Engineer for Shell Canada. This eventually led to the roles of Operations Manager and Project Engineering Manager. He moved to Blackstone Drilling Fluids as a Technical Sales representative in 2010. Jeff has been an owner of Blackstone since 2017.
Jeff’s experience in running fluids systems worldwide, along with his WCSB experience, brings a unique and refreshing approach to solving drilling fluid problems in Western Canada. He also has a strong background in solids control, with additional experience in the design and execution of waste management programs. Jeff’s extensive experience in drilling and completion operations makes him a valuable asset in planning and management of drilling operations.
Graham Crawford – Operations Manager
Graham has been in the Oil and Gas industry since 2005. He started as Drilling Fluids Specialist. Once he completed mud school in Houston Texas, he worked in Western Canada before transferring to the North Slope of Alaska. Graham worked 1 year there and was assigned to Mississippi for 6 months. He then transferred back to Western Canada where he worked predominantly in NWT and North-Eastern BC. Graham then transferred to the Calgary Office as the Operations Supervisor in 2010. In 2011 he assumed the role of Operations Manager for Western Canada. Graham recently decided to take a Technical Sales position with Blackstone Drilling Fluids. Graham’s experience in running many different fluid systems and Drilling Operations in North America makes him a valuable asset in planning and management of drilling operations.
Robin Cryderman – CPA, CA, Controller
Robin obtained her Chartered Accountant designation in 2013. She has 8 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, most recently in the financial reporting group at Trident Exploration Corp. (2014 – 2017).
Scott Tkachuk – B.Ed. Sales Manager
Scott started in the oil and gas sector since 2007. He brings 10 years of downhole and sales experience to the Blackstone Sales team. He has a bachelor of Education with a major in Science from the University of Alberta.
Trevor Jacobs – Technical Representative
Trevor has been in the Oil and Gas industry since 1997. He started on the drilling rigs in Alberta and British Columbia, working up to derrick-man until 2004. In 2004 he was hired as a Drilling Fluids Specialist. Once he completed mud school in Houston Texas in the fall of 2004, he was off to Yemen for a few months and then to Qatar for 4 years working offshore on Jack-up rigs. With work in Brazil starting to pick up in 2008, Trevor went to Brazil for 3 years, working offshore on platforms, deep water semi-submersibles and ultra-deep water drill ships. Trevor hired on with Blackstone Drilling Fluids as a Senior Field Representative, working primarily in the south and central of Alberta. After working in the Alberta oil patch for a few more years as a Senior Field Representative, Trevor decided to take a Technical Sales position with Blackstone Drilling Fluids. Trevor’s experience in running many different fluids systems worldwide makes him a valuable asset in planning and management of drilling operations with his technical ability to solving drilling fluid problems in Western Canada.
Jen Turner – Accounts Receivable
Jen has over 14 years experience in a client driven administrative position. Maintaining an efficient, smooth-running office is her priority. With recent education in Business Management/Accounting from SAIT, and prior experience in Bookkeeping, Jen brings a varied skillset to Blackstone.
Louise Graves – Inventory Control / Accounts Receivable
Louise, originally from England, has 8 years of accounting experience in Calgary. Prior to emigrating to Canada she served in the British Royal Navy as an Aircraft Engineering Mechanic gaining experience in helicopter maintenance, parts procurement, leadership and technical office management.
Talon Berlando – Technical Sales
Talon has over 10 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Superior with a degree in Business while on a scholarship for NCAA hockey. During the summers he was a summer student with Encana working on various projects. Upon graduation Talon hired on full-time with Encana. He decided to join the service side of the industry in business development for downhole tools. He looks forward to the opportunity at Blackstone and what the future has in-store.
Taylor Hoffman – Technical Sales
Taylor brings over 20 years of Oil & Gas experience to Blackstone. He started in drilling fluids in 2006 when he completed mud school in Houston, Texas. He then worked in Western Canada as a Drilling Fluids Specialist in Northeast BC, all throughout Alberta, and an Arctic project. His experience also included transfers to Wyoming, Oklahoma, and the Netherlands up until 2010 where he moved to Calgary as an Operations supervisor for 6 months. The 5 years that followed, Taylor held the role of in house representative at Talisman Energy. In 2015, he took over the role of Federal Wholesale Canada Representative until August of 2018 when he accepted his current role at Blackstone Drilling Fluids. Taylor’s experience in different aspects of the business and different areas of drilling fluids makes him a valuable asset and we are proud to have in on our team.
Lance Cadrin – Senior Technical Representative
Lance has been in the Oil and Gas industry since 1992. He started in warehousing and distribution with Reef Mud and attended mud school in Calgary in 1994. After working 11 years as a Drilling Fluids Specialist in central and northern Alberta/British Columbia, in 2005 he was transitioned into an operations role in the Calgary and held operations positions for 10 years in the drilling fluid industry. He has experience managing operations in Western Canada, The Middle East Kurdistan, and Trinidad and Tobago throughout the years in the operations role. In 2014 he took a position advancing his career in the industry by taking on a role of technical sales which was held until 2020. In 2020 he joined the team at Blackstone Drilling Fluids and remains to be an asset in the technical sales and account representative role with Blackstone. Lance brings a diverse set of knowledge and skill set both from the field and office having the experience with a wide range of drilling fluids systems in the industry. He has the technical ability that allows for strong problem-solving skills and cost control throughout a project. These skills make him a key member of the Blackstone team when planning, managing, and executing operator projects to ensure successful completion of those projects for future growth.
Mitch McLeod – Technical Representative
Mitch has been in the Oil & Gas industry for over 15 years. He began his career in 2006 working on drilling rigs in Western Canada. In 2012 he traveled to Houston, Texas to complete his Basic Drilling Fluids school. After graduating Mud School, he spent five years in the field running drilling fluids in Western Canada. In 2017 Mitch accepted a Global Technical Service Engineer position based out of Houston where he worked with a team of Engineers and Chemists to help develop drilling and loss circulation fluid systems while providing technical support to global markets. In this role Mitch supported operations and provided physical and remote technical assistance in Western Canada, Southern and Northern USA, Colombia, Russia, Gulf of Mexico, Southern Iraq, and the Persian Gulf. During his time in Texas Mitch also pursued further training in the field of drilling fluids completing Advanced Mud School, Completion & Workover Fluids, and Deepwater Drilling Fluids certifications. Mitch is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Business from SAIT with an anticipated completion date of late 2023.
Cindy Clark – Accounts Receivable
Cindy has 30 years of experience in the oil & gas industry and has performed duties in Accounts Receivables, Accounts Payables, Inventory Management, Payroll, HR & Office Management. As well as her many years in the oil & gas industry she has a lot of bookkeeping experience from owning a trucking company of her own and has held the position of Treasurer of the Hythe Motor Speedway for 25 years. With her wide variety of skills obtained over the past 40 years in the work force, Cindy is an asset to the team.
Iker Garcia – Operations Analyst
For the past six years, Iker has been successfully improving the analytical and business processes of small and midsize companies. In particular, he is known for his ability to automate internal processes through the utilization of macro-excel spreadsheets. He started business analysis at a young age, helping a small telecommunication company grow into one of the biggest telecommunication contractors in Calgary. Thereafter, he developed a business plan for a pioneering nurse practitioner clinic start-up; currently pending approval by Alberta Health, the clinics would be the first of their kind in Alberta. After his completion of his Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Finance at the University of Calgary, he started working at a full-service brokerage shop aiding the analysis of trader volumes and ongoing market trends in the crude oil commodity markets. His expertise in excel automation, and BPI makes him an integral asset in the analysis of drilling data and providing analytical insights on drilling trends.