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Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
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Sabra Offline
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Post: #493
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(10-03-2012 10:15 PM)scotian Wrote:  Congrats to Irishman for getting the drilling gig!

Guys its getting cold here in Hellberta and that means that the drilling companies will be going on a hiring spree soon, so if you want to bust your ass on a drilling rig, the next month or two would be a good time to get out here.

I actually met a guy on my job site today and he told me that he just quit working on the rigs after 5 years and decided to get into the trades, he was working on a directional drilling rig for Trinidad Drilling, of course, I asked him lots of questions so I could post the info here. This is what I got from him:

-Lease hands (newbies) who arrive on the rig are basically put through pure hell for their first rotation, whether its 2 or 3 weeks, this is to weed out the pussies. The first week or so you won't know what you're doing, but you're expected to catch on quick, YOU WILL BE YELLED AT, the language will be colourful and there will be no down time during your 12 hour shift. If there is down time, the driller will have you cleaning and scrubbing the drill deck, you'll be lucky to have 3-3 minutes to yourself to go piss or grab a quick snack. He explained that its somewhat like boot camp.

-During the first week you have to learn as much as you can and not get hurt, by the end of the 2nd week you should get the hang of things.

They work swing shifts, where you'll work 1 or 2 weeks of days then change to nights.

I asked if there's a lot of drug use and fights among the crews (which is how I imagine a drilling rig to be) and he said that's generally a myth, he didn't see too much of it.

He said its hard, dirty, cold and crazy but the money was pretty good at about $3-3500/week net to begin.

About directional drilling: he said that the directional drillers have the easiest job ever, all they do is sit in a heated room and monitor the computers, the only time they come out if to ensure that the drill pieces are fitted on properly. He also said that a guy could make it into that room in 2-3 years if he played his cards right and that there's a training school for MWD somewhere in Calgary, he didn't know too many details because he always worked on the rig doing the grunt work.

Of course I asked how much a directional drilling consultant makes and he said $2000/day, so Irishman you could be making some pretty serious coin in the future, with your dedication and education, you'll probably own an oil rig one day!

More great info Scotian. Guys where I used to work would pull the same stuff on the newbies. They'd just have them carrying full pails of dirt from one point to another, digging holes with a shovel while the machine operator sleeps in the backhoe, etc. The older guys don't want a bunch of pussies working around them, they normally get weeded out fast.

They like to screw around with guys too. On gas jobs, they used to tell guys 'go get me a pail of steam from the truck', or 'go get a 3/4" fitting for the 2" pipe', that kind of good natured stuff.

You gotta show them that you can hang and make it through the first couple weeks.

Don't take shortcuts on your own safety either. Wear the PPE. I knew an electrician who was blinded in one eye when he caught a falling nail in the eye. Everyone you meet on the site will have a similar story. And make sure you practice good lifting technique. It should be obvious, but bend at the knees and lift with your legs, not your back. Those who aren't used to this kind of work will get worn out quick, and a loose disc in your spine isn't worth quick money.

Not trying to talk anyone down, Scotian's presenting a great career opportunity, just know what you're getting into.
10-04-2012 05:47 PM
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Messages In This Thread
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months! - Sabra - 10-04-2012 05:47 PM
Risks, opportunities, import/export - OSL - 03-16-2013, 06:58 AM