RALPH HICKS BUSINESS HISTORY
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER OF NETOIL INC.
& PRESIDENT OF PETRODESIGNS INC.
Ralph Hicks is an oil and gas facilities engineer with extensive experience in the design, construction and operation of production facilities throughout the world, onshore and offshore, shallow and ultra-deepwater. Mr. Hicks conceived and managed a major industry breakthrough project to develop automated cost estimating and engineering programs. He was a pioneer in the development of methodology to achieve standardization of oil and gas facility design and fabrication worldwide.
Mr. Hicks is an international expert in Glycol Dehydration for natural gas drying, with multiple patents relating to glycol usage and environment issues. He also developed a computer program called GlySim that simulates the glycol process, and then sizes and selects equipment with a complete process flow diagram.
He was raised in South Louisiana, the center of United States oil and gas activity, and was educated at Louisiana Tech University, graduating with honors. His oil field experience began with Shell Oil in New Orleans, who sent Hicks for advanced post-graduate schooling at Shell Research Centers in Connecticut. He was then assigned to be a maintenance foreman at a South Louisiana oil field where he achieved his first “hands on” experience. After serving as Engineering Manager at C-E Natco and then Vice-President for an oil services company, Hicks started his own company in 1984.
Petrodesigns, an affiliate of Netoil Inc., assumed all of the intellectual and trade properties of prior companies of Mr. Matthew Steckel and Mr. Ralph Hicks, and is continuing to work worldwide on further development of their integrated oil and gas industry engineering design programs. Ongoing coordination with industry leaders on completion of the automated programs for oil and gas production facilities will ultimately lead to a totally integrated and computerized design and costing method. This in turn will lead to worldwide standardization.
Petrodesigns also supplies consulting and project management services on numerous projects, most involving natural gas dewpoint control for both water and hydrocarbons. Some recent projects are listed below:
· Bluewater Gas Storage (now part of Plains) – Columbus Plant near Detroit, Michigan – Hydrocarbon dewpoint suppression for 750 MMSCFD, Meet 10°F cricondentherm.
· DPS–Khurmala Dome Glycol Unit – near Kirkuk, Iraq –100 MMSCFD sour gas at 350 psig and 140°F with a 120°F dewpoint depression.
· PT Medco E&P Indonesia – Rambutan Gas Station – 75 MMSCFD sour gas at 750 psig and 120°F with a 90°F dewpoint depression. Unit built in Indonesia by “first time” fabricator.
· Shell–McAllen Gas Plant, South, Texas – 300 MMSCFD at 1000 psig and 120°F with a 100°F dewpoint depression Pressurized reboiler (60 psig operating) to eliminate emissions.
· Numerous Glycol unit upgrade studies.
ProComp and related affiliates
The ProComp Group (ProComp, Hicks & Associates, ProComp Software, and Process Technologies) provided consulting engineering and EPC (Engineer, Procure and Construct) services for oil and gas processing facilities worldwide. The original EPC projects led to the automation efforts so that projects could be quoted with better cost data and, when awarded could be executed more rapidly and accurately.
Production Management Industries (PMI)
In the early 1980s, Hicks became Vice-President and General Manager of PMI with total responsibility for all sales, engineering and design activities, as well as fabrication and construction activities. This included the New Orleans and Houston offices, fabrication in the PMI facility located on the Intra-coastal canal, and field construction, both onshore and offshore. With over 175 employees, Hicks oversaw rapid growth of the company which received an “Inc 500” award as one of the fastest growing privately owned companies in the United States.
Mr. Hicks was the Engineering Manager of the Technical Advisory Division, which included consulting services and design of equipment to be fabricated in the C-E Natco, Harvey, Louisiana shop. On two projects, he performed as Project Manager for system design of the largest “all electric” offshore production units in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Hicks also prepared and presented two seminars – one on separator design and the other on Natco’s standard gas production module, a concept which he developed.
Shell Oil Company
Shell originally trained Mr. Hicks to be a Facilities Engineer. This experience included design and installation of production equipment for oil and gas wells, gasoline plant revisions and expansions, water flood and miscible flood facilities, salt-water disposal facilities and sour gas handling facilities. He was involved in research and computer programming for the design of triethylene glycol dehydrators and also wrote an original Shell computer program for multi-stage flash calculations.