Energy Industry CEO: Get 'A**holes' Off Our Backs

Keystone Pipeline (National Journal)

Conference calls between corporate execs and financial analysts to discuss earnings reports are usually dry affairs.

And then there was Friday's earnings call with Primoris Services Corp., a Dallas-based construction services company that works on pipelines and other energy-related infrastructure.

At one point Primoris president and CEO Brian Pratt was talking about how much business there is to be found in the U.S.

There could be even more "If these a**holes would get off our backs and let us build the system and drill the wells," Pratt said on the call.

"People are just silly if they think we can't be energy independent within a couple of years if they will just take the handcuffs off and let us go out and do it," he later added during discussion of the company's 2013 profit growth.

Primoris works on a range of energy, industrial and civil infrastructure projects.

Pratt, during the call, also contrasted the legal environment in the U.S. with Mexico, where his company has done projects in the past.

"Mexico is not a bad place to work. The problem you have there is there is really no legal system. And the joke in Mexico is a good judge is a judge that stays bribed. It's a tough place to work," he said.

Pratt didn't rule out more projects there but said there's plenty of money to be made north of the border.

"It's just the opportunity is here and you don't have to screw around with people that want to tempt you to violate the FCPA, which we won't do," Pratt said, referring to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a U.S. law aimed at preventing bribery of foreign officials.

A replay of the call, courtesy of the financial news website Seeking Alpha, is available here. The portion about opportunities in Mexico and the U.S. starts at the 47-minute mark.

Elsewhere on the call Pratt expressed confidence about expansion of the pipeline market to move oil from the booming Bakken region, although he predicted that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is a "long shot."

"There is going to be projects built to get oil out of the Bakken whether it be Keystone or somebody else," he said.

TransCanada Corp.'s proposed Keystone XL project would largely carry crude oil from Alberta's oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, but would also carry some oil from the Bakken shale formation that underlies northwestern North Dakota and surrounding regions. It remains under Obama administration review.

Pratt also said the market for building natural gas lines is promising.