It was 1951 when Economy Mud Products first opened, bringing economical drilling fluids to the market. Much might have changed since that initial start, but its ongoing dedication to science-backed products and innovation holds true. The family-owned company, now known as Economy Polymers and Chemicals, proudly marked its 65th anniversary in 2016.
Although a multinational company today, Economy came from humble beginnings. The company got its start when Lawrence Walton leased office space out of Houston’s Southern Pacific Building. As the business grew, so did the science behind its products.
In 1964, Economy team members invented the industry’s first bentonite slurry, Liquid Poly Gel, a product that aids oil and gas by producing a protective barrier along the ground. Guar polymer slurries came that same year, the predecessor to many patented procedures and chemicals.
Today Economy boasts a number of subsidiary companies and offices the world over. It is considered the world’s largest manufacturer of high-viscosity guar gum — a natural thickening agent — and the largest supplier of oilfield guar in the world.
The team is driven to make a difference, and not merely within the company, said Matthew White, director of global sales and marketing. He noted efforts to introduce new farming methods in India, develop heat-resistant seed varieties for desert areas and educational endeavors for farmers worldwide.
In 2012, the company gave $18 million in guar seed to Indian farmers, increasing acreage for the sought-after crop. Economy went on to purchase the crops from those same farmers at market value.
“Our goal has always been to bring meaningful change — to industries, individuals and the communities they call home,” he explained. “Sometimes that means stepping outside the lab and away from our offices to see where we might have the most impact.”
New projects are always in the works, said Stewart White, division manager for ELIMS, an Economy subsidiary company. He noted a recently-formed trucking company and a polyacrylamide plant in Texas’ Calhoun County among Economy’s most recent endeavors.
“We enjoy keeping busy, and I expect we’ll continue introducing new products and services down the line,” he said. “Still, we’ll always be the company we have been since 1951. We’re family-owned, family-operated and proud of all we’ve accomplished. We look forward to the years ahead.”