With vehicles in every space around the Ector County Coliseum and overflow lots filling fast at Ratliff Stadium and North Golder Avenue and West 42nd Street, the Permian Basin International Oil Show was booming at mid-day Tuesday with optimism in the air and big money changing hands.

Mixing with the lively crowd inside the coliseum was Texas Railroad Commissioner Jim Wright of Austin, who said the new technology was impressive. “Walking through these aisles this morning, it’s amazing how the advances in technology continue to make sure that we are best utilizing our resources,” Wright said.

“I consider the Odessa and Midland area the heart of our oil and gas production here in the state. I figure if I’m going to be regulating something, I ought to be out here with my boots on the ground.”

Wright said compliance to date appears good with the RRC’s Sept. 23 requests for a half-dozen area companies to curtail their saltwater injections into disposal wells, but he and fellow Commissioners Wayne Christian and Christi Craddick are monitoring the requests that are aimed at reducing earthquakes and that they will chastise operators who don’t cooperate.

“We’ve asked that they limit their injections to no more than 10,000 barrels a day because some were up around 30,000,” Wright said.

Odessa Chuck Wagon Gang member John Lewallen rings the meal bell as his fellow Chuck Wagon Gang members serve lunch to trade show visitors on the opening day of the Permian Basin International Oil Show Tuesday at the Ector County Coliseum. (Eli Hartman|Odessa American)

The commissioner said he is “not confident” that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the state’s power grid will avoid a repetition of last February’s statewide blackout that kept millions of Texans in the deep freeze for days on end.

“I’m not confident because of the way our grid system is set up with our renewable, or solar, and reliable, or fossil fuel, resources,” he said. “It’s important to have reliable resources in Texas so that people can walk into their houses and flip the switch and have the lights come on,” Wright said.

Asked why a third of ERCOT’s 15 board members were from out of state and had to be asked to resign, he said, “Some people were not paying attention.

“I’m sure they were intelligent, but you need to live in Texas to be dedicated.”

The Oil Show continues Wednesday and Thursday.

Inside the coliseum, Sims Plastics Branch Manager Scott Vogel said his Odessa company had been an Oil Show member since the 1970s and its offices in Odessa, Midland and Waco were offering septic tanks, water tanks, gas pipe and fittings, PVC pipe, chemical feed pumps and other products. “I enjoy seeing the other vendors and the new products they have available,” Vogel said.

Attendees walk through the outdoor displays at the Permian Basin International Oil Show on its opening day Tuesday morning in Odessa. (Eli Hartman|Odessa American)

Tripple M Oil Tool and its allied Vista Sales & Service of Odessa had a decked-out booth with newly manufactured 1,600- and 3,500-pound blowout preventers (BOPs) front and center.

Explaining that blowout preventers are used on new wells and production wells to contain well bore fluids, Vista Sales Manager Kevin Hughes said the BOPs are bolted onto the wellheads at the bottom. “We can make anything if you have a pattern or print,” Hughes said.

Tripple M Operations Manager Glen Lawson supervises his company’s manufacture of rubber products including top seals for BOPs.

Noting that Tripple M has 35 employees, Lawson said, “We stay shorthanded all the time.

“We need press operators.”

Beard Equipment sales representative Terry Mohler of Midland had just sold a big rock bucket with tempered steel teeth to a rancher who needed it for some hard digging near Brady in Central Texas.

Mohler said Beard sells and rents equipment made by the Epiroc, Hitachi, Strickland, Kobelco, Atlas Copco, JLG, Continental Cargo and Genie companies including a Genie forklift that was displayed in the outdoor booth with the capability of reaching 56 feet high.

Landon Brockman of San Angelo, South Texas sales manager for Yellowhouse John Deere, said his company had brought two wheel loaders, a giant dump truck and a backhoe for outside exhibits on the beautiful bright blue October day.

“The John Deere Model 944 Wheel Loader weighs 110,000 pounds and its little brother, the Model 844, 80,000,” Brockman said.

He said the equipment is used to load and haul sand for oilfield fracking operations and that it had been moved here on three trucks. Yellowhouse John Deere also has branches in Amarillo, Lubbock, Abilene, Wichita Falls, Odessa and Midland and in Oklahoma at Sand Springs, McAlester, Enid and Broken Bow.

Rykin Pump Operations Administrator Dawn Cahill of Odessa said pumps are central to the oilfield for moving fluids and other functions. Rykin sells submersible pumps, fuel transfer systems, precision meters, centrifugal pumps, automatic nozzles, spill containers, tank gauges, oil and grease pumps, pressure monitors and other equipment.