DJ Simmons bankrupt, Byrom to join PESCO

James Fenton
D.J. Simmons, Inc. is pictured Thursday in Farmington. The independent oil and gas producer recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

FARMINGTON — Local independent oil and gas producer DJ Simmons Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Former DJ Simmons CEO John Byrom said the company sought bankruptcy protection on March 1.

By next year, Byrom said he believes DJ Simmons will regain its standing as one of the town's longer running independent oil and gas businesses after it comes through bankruptcy.

"We could be emerging from the process sometime this fall, but it's uncertain, the exact timing of it," Byrom said.

Former chief executive officer for DJ Simmons Inc., John Bryom, poses for a portrait on Feb. 1 at the DJ Simmons Inc. office in Farmington.

In March, Byrom stepped down as president and CEO of DJ Simmons, Inc., a role he filled at the Farmington independent oil and gas producer since 2001. Byrom had been with DJ Simmons for 22 years.

Byrom will officially part ways with DJ Simmons in July, he said, when he will begin a new role as business development manager at Process Equipment & Service Co., or PESCO.

Board chairman Matthew Negri will fill Byrom's place at DJ Simmons and "guide the company through the transition period," he said.

Twin Stars LTD — a subsidiary of DJ Simmons formed in 1991 and located in Bloomfield — remains active, Byrom said. Another spin-off company, Twin Stars Compression, which was launched by Byrom and Merrion Oil & Gas Corp. President T. Greg Merrion in 2000, also remains active, he said.

PESCO President and CEO Kyle Rhodes said Byrom's wealth of experience and significant knowledge of the oil and gas industry will benefit the Farmington manufacturer, which was founded in 1970.

Process Equipment and Service Company Inc. as seen on Thursday in Farmington.

"I’ve known John for several years. One of the primary things that we look for in a new hire, especially somebody in a management position, is having high values," Rhodes said. "That’s the foundation you have to have to be successful, not only in life but at our company. That's what we stand for."

Rhodes said Byrom's experience in strategic planning and business development are assets he sought for PESCO. Byrom's insights into existing and pending federal regulations that oversee the industry also are valued skills Rhodes was looking for to help better position the company.

"(Byrom) is all very attuned with what’s going on in our industry, especially from an environmental regulations point of view, and we want him to help guide us and to develop products that help (oil and gas) producers with what they face and continue to face (under federal rules)," Rhodes said.

With the San Juan Basin in a prolonged bust period caused by low crude oil and natural gas prices on the commodities market, oil and gas companies and manufacturers like PESCO are feeling the pinch.

The price slump has meant oil and gas companies have faced numerous challenges in the downturn, and PESCO, Rhodes said, is no exception.

The company is down to about 200 workers from a high of about 300 a year ago, he said.

But with Byrom's help, Rhodes said, PESCO is looking to rebound by expanding into other oil and gas basins in the U.S. as well as exploring possible markets in Mexico and Australia. PESCO might even branch out of oil and gas entirely with other products, he said.

Previously, Byrom served on boards for the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Western Energy Alliance and Four Corners Economic Development.

He is a current board member and past president of the state Independent Petroleum Association and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Byrom also said that Ashton B. Geren — nephew of the company's founder, Texas oilman David Jack Simmons — passed away on Monday.

Geren, DJ Simmons' chairman emeritus, had been with the company since 1952, according to Byrom.

Despite the challenges, Byrom said he is confident in the future of both DJ Simmons and PESCO.

"Working with Kyle to help grow the business is exciting," Byrom said. "We think it's got tremendous potential. It's a fantastic company, from outstanding employees and very good products that have real potential to be expanded into new markets, nationally and internationally I'm going to help Kyle and the company do that."

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.