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Hank Swartout


Precision founder Hank Swartout one of the defining personalities in Canadian drilling


Hank Swartout founded Precision Drilling and led the Canadian company for over two decades. Under his watch, Precision became one of the world’s largest oilfield service companies with a peak value of $7 billion in 2005, employing over 15,000 workers in 34 countries.

“Hank has been one of the most defining personalities in the Canadian petroleum service industry,” says Precision’s president of drilling operations, Gene Stahl, who has known Hank for over two decades. “It was clear to me from the very first time I met Hank that he was a born entrepreneur, one-of-a-kind, one of the last of a dying breed of true characters in the business.”


Hank was born in 1951 and raised in Melfort, Sask. After graduating high school, he moved to Calgary in 1971, where he completed petroleum engineering at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. He followed that with an honours petroleum engineering degree from the University of Wyoming.

Returning to Alberta, Hank joined Nabors Drilling and then Dreco Energy Services. In 1985, he went into business for himself after mortgaging his house to purchase a 15 per cent interest in Cypress Drilling. Two years later, as president of Cypress, Hank bought Precision Drilling in a reverse takeover.

His vision for Precision Drilling shaped both the Canadian drilling industry and Canada’s reputation abroad. Under Hank’s leadership, Precision was profitable in every single year he was at the helm, despite the cyclical nature of the oilfield services business.

Beyond the gruff image of a roughneck, trailblazer, entrepreneur and industry builder, Hank has always valued the importance of volunteerism and community involvement and has served on over 30 boards during his career.


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