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Canadian Energy Services & Technology Corp., one of the country's best-performing energy stocks, wants to double its market share with custom-made production chemicals as other oil and gas service companies struggle through the downturn.

The oil field chemical maker is improving research facilities in Houston and Calgary, where it will hire 15 scientists when its newly renovated lab opens in late July, and is looking for acquisitions. It's all part of a plan to expand the business and challenge industry giants such as Halliburton Co. and Ecolab Inc. in North America.

"We think the way to grow is to grow market share in production and pipeline chemicals and to become a major supplier to the frack industry," chief executive Thomas Simons said in a phone interview. Canadian Energy Services has about 2 per cent of the North American market share for production chemicals, and Mr. Simons said the company is aiming to take 5 per cent.

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Canadian Energy Services, based in Calgary, is the ninth-best performer on the Standard & Poor's/TSX Energy index this year, up 5.7 per cent, compared with a 10-per-cent drop in the 63-member index. It has a market value of $1.5-billion. Mr. Simons owned 2.2 million shares for a 1-per-cent stake as of June 4, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A company of 1,700 workers in Calgary, Houston, Kansas and Carlyle, Saskatchewan, Canadian Energy Services has grown from selling drilling fluids with 6 per cent of the market share in Canada at its 2006 IPO to a manufacturer and retailer of drilling, fracking, production and pipelines chemicals with about 62 per cent of its sales in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The chemical maker reported sales of $233.8-million for the first quarter, a 1.1-per-cent increase from the same period in 2014, while profit fell 29 percent to $13.9-million as crude oil slumped 50 per cent over the period.

Ten analysts recommend buying the stock and two say sell, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Analysts have a 12-month target price of $8.41 a share, according to the data.

Canadian Energy Services' oil-production chemicals business, about 40 per cent of its sales, has insulated it from the crude-price slump , Michael Mazar, a Calgary-based analyst for BMO Capital Markets said in a phone interview.

Jeff Mo, a portfolio manager at Mawer Investment Management Ltd. in Calgary, which is Canadian Energy Services' largest shareholder with a 9-per-cent stake, said acquiring manufacturing capabilities with Kansas-based Jacam Chemicals LLC in 2013 was a "game-changer" for the company.

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Canadian Energy Services' move toward manufacturing production chemicals has shifted its business model away from one-time drilling deals toward a recurring customer base, Mr. Mo said.

"Now they've created iTunes," he said by phone. Mawer has the company as a top five investment and a top performer among Canadian energy stocks over the next five to 10 years because of its promising production chemical business.

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