Local startup aims to make roads into energy fields

A Mesa County entrepreneur is hoping to make inroads into the energy field by building better roads for drill rigs.

Steve Casano, his wife, Kimberly, and some partners last year completed a quarter-mile test strip of road near Vega Reservoir for Mesa County.  The results were encouraging enough that they are targeting drilling in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota, as well as the Piceance Basin.

The Casanos’ company, Stabl-Eze, is the U.S. distributor for Dura-Crete, which contains a proprietary mineral used to bind with Portland cement to produce a subsurface that is impermeable to water.

Thus, it resists the destructive freeze-thaw cycle that destroys roadbeds and other structures.

Casano bought the distributorship three years ago and is now getting energy companies’ attention, he said.

“After weathering a rather harsh winter, core samples were taken recently by Huddleston-Berry Engineering, and the results proved to be astounding,” Steve Casano said. “The road actually resisted the freeze-thaw cycle that typically destroys the conventional methods of stabilization, which leads to additional maintenance.”

He also is pegging hopes for work with the Colorado Department of Transportation based on a stabilization project he did on a department building in Ridgway, Casano said.

“I look for opportunities to make a living,” he said, and as he was trying to get into the oil field business three years ago, “I said a couple prayers and kind of ran across” Dura-Crete.

Roads and drill pads can be built quickly because, “all we haul in is water, Portland cement and our product,” he said.

The roads and pads then resist dust and the weight of heavy equipment, contain spills and survive the winters, he said.

“You get water in the road base, you lose your load-bearing capacity,” he said.

Once the pads and roads no longer are needed, the surface can be milled by a milling machine and left in place, he said.

The Casanos, who live on Glade Park, are working with partners Jarod Rodebaugh, Walter Rhodes and Willie Dubbel to expand into other areas, including a 14-county area in which frost poses a major problem, Steve Casano said.

Steve Casano also has built trailers that can be hauled behind ATVs, but that business, http://www.sporttank.com, is now playing second fiddle to Stabl-Eze, for which he’s preparing a Web page and to which he’s devoting the lion’s share of his effort now, he said.

For now, the business is reachable at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For years, most people who worked for state or local governments accepted a fact of life: Their pay wasn’t great. The job security was.

Now that’s gone, too.

States and municipalities are facing gaping budget gaps. Many have responded by slashing services, raising taxes and, for the first time in decades, making deep job cuts.

And public employees should brace themselves: Some economists say the job cuts could worsen in the second half of the year.

Those government layoffs make it harder to reduce the national unemployment rate, now 9.5 percent

As state and municipal employees are cut, so are services. It takes longer to register a car, see a school nurse or travel to work by bus. In California, state-run Department of Motor Vehicle offices have been closed on selected furlough Fridays to cut costs.

In New York City, a new budget will close up to 30 senior centers, shutter a 24-hour homeless center in Manhattan and eliminate nurses at schools with fewer than 300 students.

State and local governments cut 95,000 jobs in the first half of the year even as the economy slowly recovered. Private employers, by contrast, added 593,000 jobs in that time. It’s the first time the public sector has cut jobs while the private sector has added jobs since 1981, said Marisa Di Natale, a director at Moody’s Economy.com.

In the second half of the year, 152,000 more local and state government employees will be laid off, estimates Nigel Gault, an economist at IHS Global Insight.

For every worker who’s been laid off, many others worry that they’re next. One of them is Daryl Seaman, a probation officer for Madison County, Ill., who didn’t think his job would ever be in jeopardy. Twelve months later, Seaman has been demoted because of county budget cuts.

“Everybody is panicking,” says Seaman, whose wife teaches in a district that has laid off some teachers with less seniority. With two teenage daughters to support, they’re saving everything they can.

“We’re just afraid to spend any money,” Seaman says.


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