Because this line of work requires a lot of traveling, I often go months on end without seeing certain friends or family members, it makes it hard to have a normal social life.
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I've managed to alienate a lot of friends and girlfriends working where I work. I had a cousin tell me once that you sell your soul to make money in the oil field, and sometimes it seems like he was right. This is a hard one to pin down. Take a handful of strange people, put them in the middle of nowhere and have them operate a giant machine, and weird things happen. The weather, the work and the people. After a good trip you can leave the rig with a sense of accomplishment, puff your chest out a bit when the other crew comes and sees how fast you were.
Most rig hands are paid hourly, only the brass gets salary. A derrick hand working year round typically makes over six figures. The benefits vary from company to company, but they tend to be quite good. However, there are three cardinal sins on oil rigs, as follows:. Hammers, wrenches, chains, and pretty much anything made of hardened metal can destroy a drill bit, and drill bits can be quite pricy. The wells we drill cost millions of dollars, and pulling the pipe and going fishing for a tool down hole can cost into the hundreds of thousands, and take days to do.
Settlements might have to be paid, bonuses are lost, investigations have to happen, and someone must be held accountable.. Sometimes entire rig crews will get drug tested after an accident. Doing any one of the three things above is liable to give a guy a reputation, and a reputation can follow a guy from rig to rig, company to company. Would you consider flying into space to blow up an asteroid if you had Liv Tyler to sweeten the deal?
This is a no-brainer: Yes, definitely. We actually use Armageddon as a safety training video. To be honest, it's something I don't put too much thought into anymore. Obviously oil dependency is not a good thing for this planet, but me putting my foot down and quitting my job would do about as much good as yelling at an asteroid about to destroy the planet. If I were to go, there'd be someone there to take my place within the hour.
That's not to say that I don't try and live responsibly at home though..
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I take transit and recycle as much as the next person, if not more. No problem. I can't quite take all the credit for the gas in your tank, but I'll be selfish this one time. To be honest, most riggers don't join the profession as much as they do, just It's hard work, but it's fast money, and a lot of guys that only intended to do it temporarily end up sticking around once they get used to the pay cheques. That's what happened to me anyways It's deadly stuff, poisonous and explosive, and odorless in higher concentrations.
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I've heard that drugs like methamphetamine are a problem among oil workers, especially those that work overnight. Stimulants yes, but methamphetamine, not so much. Oil companies and drilling contractors are becoming more and more strict in their drug testing practices, and a slowdown in the industry like we're having now is a great time for companies to weed out the riff raff. That being said, every oil worker knows that cocaine is out of your system in 2 days, whereas weed can stick around for up to a month and a half. A lot of guys have to get wise for a couple days before a drug test.
What's your typical day like?
I stick to coffee. Night shift tonight, and I'm posting comments on the Guardian when I should be sleeping Fort Mcmurray is a town I've managed to steer clear of for several years now. And Mike is right: the majority of the bitumen around Fort Mac is mined rather than drilled. The project I'm on right now is about an hour and a half south of there, near Conklin AB. We're accessing the same bitumen, but using a less invasive technique. Rather than mine the bitumen, pairs of wells are drilled into the formation -- one to inject steam and make the oil easier to pump, and one to suck up the now much-less-viscous oil.
If it answers your question at all, the camp where we're currently living holds about people, has 2 enormous cafeterias, 5 gyms, pool tables, 1 theatre, and apparently there's a racquetball court here somewhere too. In terms of work camps, this one's the creme de la creme. Have you ever worked on a drilling rig where it was necessary to throw the blowout preventors BOPs?
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I have. Actually, just last month we were working in Saskatchewan and had to shut the well in when we drilled into a pressurized water formation. An 'Artesian Well,' is what they're called if I'm not mistaken. Luckily there was no sour gas in the area, so there was no chance of burning the rig down if it blew out. I remember hearing about a derrick hand getting killed during that blowout, the escape pods we have hanging from the monkey board now all have D. V Safety stamped across the side as a reminder Anywhere from 5 to 9 people on a crew, and usually 3 crews per rig.
It seems to me that we're increasingly polarised between those who want no development at all, and those who want to go full steam ahead, whatever the cost and impact. Do you think the 'average' Canadian is well-informed enough to form a credible opinion about our extractive industries?
This is a tough one. It's surprisingly difficult to get a balanced viewpoint on Canadian oil and gas by reading any one paper, so I would have to say no, an average Canadian most likely does not see both sides of the story. Depending on what province you're in and what paper you're reading, you could see two diametrically opposed viewpoints on the same issue.
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