The drilling industry lost a good friend with the passing of James H. Michael on Jan. 30, 2004.

Michael enlisted as a National Serviceman in 1950 after attending Allhallows school in Rousdon, England. He was at officer cadet school when he received an injury playing rugby that necessitated his early retirement from potential service. He then joined Mitchell Engineering as a graduate apprentice on a five-year course.

During this time, George E. Failing, president and founder of the George E. Failing Co. of Enid, Okla., visited the U.K. and set up with Mitchell a joint venture building Failing rigs there. This started Michael in his lifelong association with the drilling industry. Failing requested Mitchell to release Michael and he was then transferred to Failing Supply Ltd., which had been set up with offices in London. Michael was a director along with senior staff from Oklahoma. He attended many international expositions and conferences and was largely responsible for Failing's success with its international customers. During these years, until 1985 when Failing closed its London operation due to recession in the industry, Michael traveled extensively in the Middle East and Africa and made many friends in the drilling industry - both government ministers and contractors who respected his knowledge and integrity.

Barbara, whom he married in 1965, also had considerable knowledge of oilfield equipment because, before her marriage, she had worked in London for other drilling rig manufacturers. So they jointly formed Drilling Equipment Supplies to continue with advice and provision of spares and equipment to their many overseas friends. The business of Drilling Equipment Supplies will carry on.

Besides Barbara, his wife, he leaves a son, Keith, daughter Amanda and granddaughter Louisa.