British company chooses OKC for manufacturing plant

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- When the British manufacturer, Centek, needed a North American headquarters, they found some prime real estate in the heart of the oil patch, Oklahoma City.

Centek produces a specialized piece of equipment used in the drilling industry, a centralizer.

The Centek centralizer, which they call the S2, differs from the others because it's just one piece, a feature the company said makes the S2 the most fail-resistant centralizer on the market.

The new Centek manufacturing plant, where S2 centralizers of various sizes are produced, sits in an industrial park just north of Will Rogers World Airport.

There are 45 new hires at the 80,000 square feet plant where they operate one manufacturing line, which produces about 500 S2 centralizers a day.

Cliff Berry, the only Brit in the bunch at the Oklahoma City plant, hopes to double the work force in the next year, hiring as many as 55 additional workers.

"There's room for four lines here at this plant," Berry said. "We're just running one shift on one line right now."

According to Centek officials, there are a number of reasons why the company chose Oklahoma City as its North American headquarters.

"They decided on United States first because there are more active rigs in the U.S. than there are in the rest of the world combined," plant President John Carnuccio said. "Oklahoma City is within a few hundred miles of more than 700 active rigs."

Executives said Oklahoma is very "pro-business" and the Chamber of Commerce made their decision an easy one.

Business for Centek is booming worldwide.

The company has grown 45 percent each year since inception in 2001.

"Our product is a new innovative design in that it's one piece so it holds up a lot better," Carnuccio said. "It does the job a lot better. It's particularly important in the new style of horizontal drilling in lateral run drilling to keep that casing off the bore hole wall." 

One of Oklahoma's largest energy companies, Devon Energy, is using the S2 centralizer now.

The other large oil and gas companies in Oklahoma: Chesapeake, Continental, SandRidge and others, are taking a closer look at this type of centralizer as well.

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