BERESFORD – Discovery Drill will create 15 jobs by the end of 2019 as it expands with support from provincial and federal governments, it was announced Tuesday.
The $400,000 in funding will help the company develop a core drill that would allow the company to serve the oil and natural gas sector better.
“It would allow people to drill deeper and discover more,” said company president John Labonville in a phone interview with Huddle.
“To meet the specifications of the oil and gas sector, it has to go deeper and also [have a] larger diameter for it. We expect that in the future, things are going to be happening for the supplier of natural gas in the world and it’s going to be quite interesting to have a product that can [serve that sector].”
The product will be sold globally. Depending on market conditions, the company hopes to double sales in the next four-to-five years.
“We have to grow with the rest of the world. We just can’t stay still, we have to get ready and be focused and we have to have good employees, of course, that’s the key to our livelihood,” said Labonville.
“Development is very expensive, so we do have help from different government agencies that provide us with some assistance. And it’s thanks to them that growth will be a reality.”
The company, founded in 1999 in Beresford, north of Bathurst, makes hydraulic diamond drills for the exploratory phases in the shale gas drilling industry. It is present in six countries across North America, South America, Africa and Europe.
The expansion would more than double its headcount to around 25 employees. The new roles will be for full-time sales and manufacturing positions, Labonville said.
“Depending on sales, we could double our group,” he said. “This is something that doesn’t happen overnight. We must realize that it could be a year or it could be two years, but sooner or later it’s going t happen.”
The additional hires would also mean a facility expansion for Discovery Drill.
“We don’t know when that’s going to happen, it could be four or five years, or it could be next year. But we have a plan for the building.”
Currently, Discovery Drill mostly serves the mineral exploration sector, including precious metals, and the oil industry. Approximately 90 per cent of its total sales are made out of New Brunswick, and 20 per cent are abroad, Labonville said. North America is its largest regional market.
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is providing a $150,000 loan to support the job creation. The Regional Development Corporation is also providing a $200,000 non-repayable contribution and Opportunities NB (ONB) is providing a $50,000 non-repayable contribution.
Over three years, the jobs are estimated to contribute $150,000 in provincial tax income and $860,000 to the provincial GDP over the same period.
“Your government has been working every day to support the growth of innovative companies like Discovery Drill,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny in a release. He spoke on behalf of Economic Development Minister Francine Landry, who is responsible for ONB.
“New Brunswick’s multi-year economic growth plan focuses our efforts on job opportunities. It is great to see a New Brunswick-based company invest and grow in its home province because we have such a strong workforce to offer,” Kenny said.
“Discovery Drill has built upon a long history of expertise in drilling with this new prototype,” said Acadie-Bathurst MP Serge Cormier in a release, on behalf of federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, who is also responsible for ACOA.
“Innovation is critical to the economic future of our region, and the development of this new drill will mean spinoff benefits for numerous area suppliers. I am pleased that our government’s support through ACOA has helped Discovery Drill innovate and develop a one-of- a-kind diamond drill.”