This oil services CEO—whose company just went public—compared his industry's pain to waterboarding

ProPetro CEO: IPO gives opportunities as employee base and customer base align

U.S. shale frackers have proven resilient during a more than two-year oil price downturn, and a recovery is now in order, said Dale Redman, CEO of oilfield services company ProPetro.

"You can only be waterboarded so long before you come up for air, and it's very encouraging, what's going on in the business community, looking at things globally with low oil prices," Redman told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Friday.

Shares of ProPetro debuted Friday on the New York Stock Exchange and were trading at $15, about 7 percent above their IPO price, in midafternoon trading.

The company went public amid an early recovery in U.S. drilling, after a dearth of activity as oil prices slipped below $30 a barrel a year ago. That made much new American output unprofitable and put financial strain on companies like ProPetro, which sell services to drillers.

Revenue for Midland, Texas-based ProPetro declined by more than $100 million and its profit margins shrank last year, but Redman said the company has aligned itself with drillers operating in core oil-producing basins. Going public will provide the access to capital ProPetro needs to take advantage of the recovery and help its customers grow, he said.

ProPetro IPO at the New York Stock Exchange, March 17, 2017.
Source: NYSE

ProPetro provides hydraulic fracturing and other services to companies in the Permian Basin, which underlies parts of Texas and New Mexico. The region is the epicenter of the U.S. drilling recovery because exploration and production firms can produce oil at relatively low cost there.

A Permian land rush has raised questions about the availability of workers to drill wells and carry out hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting water, minerals and chemicals into wellbores at high pressure to break up shale rock and release oil and gas.

Asked about the potential labor crunch, Redman said the Hispanic community has helped build his company and would continue to be a large part of its backbone.

"You empower it. You embrace that," he said. "It's a beautiful thing to watch every day, and it's a large part of why we think we'll be able to attract, retain and motivate the workforce."

Stepped-up immigration enforcement efforts under President Donald Trump and his goal of building a "great wall" on the Mexican border have raised concerns about the availability of immigrant labor, particularly in the Latino community.

Redman said Trump is clearly a pro-business president and has surrounded himself with corporate veterans who have made a lot of money, though the administration still faces challenges.

"I hope everybody will get behind the administration. He's our president, and he deserves the opportunity to help our country," he said.