Charlie Moncla left Pelican in 1984 to start his own company, Moncla Well service, with only one rig and six employees. Though the 80s were lean
years for many in the industry, Moncla saw the opportunity to buy rigs on the cheap from failing manufacturers.
His business continued to thrive and he eventually brought several family members into the enterprise. His son Mike joined in 1993, followed by
his brother Buck and another son, Marc, in 1996. Over the next decade, another of Charlie’s brothers, another son and two nephews would also
join the company. By the early 2000s, Moncla companies had acquired 11 other companies and become the largest independent workover rig business
in the country. They also added rig hauling trucks, eight inland barge rigs, a swabbing company (BOSS) and a drilling subsidiary.
But like many family companies, in 2007 Charlie Moncla decided the time was right to sell. With 53 rigs and nearly 1,000 employees, Moncla Companies
had the perfect footprint for any strategic buyer looking for a presence in the region, and was soon acquired by Key Energy. The Moncla family
members would stay on and continue managing operations, now as Key Energy’s southeast division. But after a few years, Mike, Marc, Matt and
Buck Moncla decided to buy two parts of the original company back from Key Energy: Moncla Marine (barge fleet) and BOSS (swabbing operation).
The opportunity to revive their family company was too good to resist, and the Monclas would go on to acquire andgrow the business with additional
barges, land rigs and a Workover & Drilling subsidiary.
Rebranded as Moncla Energy Services, the company now includes Moncla Workover & Drilling, Moncla Marine,
Moncla Offshore, Moncla Wireline, Moncla Slickline, BOSS, Moncla P&A, and Moncla Pressure Pumping. Though the company survived the BP disaster
and moratorium with little trouble, the decline in oil prices that began in 2015 and other issues have presented the family with much tougher
Like other service providers, the new price environment has made it more difficult to continue operating profitably in many areas. Moncla has opted
to shut down its barge rig division due to the low levels of activity and threat of coastal erosion litigation. The family company is instead
investing in new land rig offices in Mississippi and West Texas and working to grow in those areas. From a peak of 633 employees in 2014, to
as few as 240 in 2016, the company currently has about 375 employees.
Mike Moncla, President of Moncla Companies, points to the litigious climate of Louisiana as another factor inhibiting further growth here. “We
would love to see our children be able to follow in what our grandfather started back in the 50s,” he said. Despite the uncertainties about
the road ahead, Moncla takes comfort in knowing that whatever challenges the company may face, they’ll face it together, as a family. “We all
want the best for the business — there’s great respect between us.”