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Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
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Swearbox Offline

Posts: 30
Joined: Sep 2013
Post: #1875
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(10-23-2013 09:21 PM)scotian Wrote:  I wonder how Swear Box is doing up in the Big dirty?

Hello my fellow oil producers, here is an update (thank you Scotian for the nudge in the ribs Smile). Today is my first day off after 8 days of 10 hr shifts. I'm living in town (as opposed to the camp at Long Lake) and I get picked up in the morning and taken home at night. Travel time to work is around 40 mins though it can take longer on the return home leg as the traffic is horrific around 6 pm ish.

I've spent a tremendous amount of my first week sitting on my arse in the crewroom (which is actually our locker room). We have zero journeymen Instrumentation guys on our shift except for the foreman and I'm the only apprentice Instrument guy. We're taking over the maintenance contract for Nexen's SAGD plant at Long Lake and still in the process of crewing up so there's still more guys to be hired (we had a ton of new guys in yesterday, mainly millwrights and pipefitters I think) so hopefully more Instrument guys will show up soon.

I've been out on a few jobs with the Nexen Instrumentation journeymen which was cool as it gets a bit boring sitting around all day. They are fucking ANAL about safety here and it takes a while before hands actually get to turn a spanner on a job as there are meetings to assess the job hazards, safe work permits to be issued, more job hazard assessments specific to the task at hand and localised area but eventually we get there.

The operation here is SAGD and the plant is a minefield of hazards, steam venting from just about everywhere, shit dripping from pipes, the rotten egg smell you get with the sour gases is ever present and obviously there are places with LOTS of noise. Apparently we have a building that houses two 7 stage compressors that are said to be the largest in the world.

The guys on our shift are pretty obvious dickheads but I'm sure there will be a couple surface before we're fully manned. As we are Electrical & Instrumentation we tend to ignore the heavy trades though I do have a laugh with a couple of the welders who joined the same time as me. All in all it's going not too bad and is a world away from how I thought it might have been (noobs getting sent to do stupid shit so the rest of the more experienced guys to watch and laugh, being sent to do various shitty tasks by senior guys 'just because they can', etc).

This week I'm going to organise a pair of safety glasses with a prescription in them as apparently contact lenses are a no-no here (been wearing mine and keeping quiet). I can see the reasons for the no contacts rule, there's a lot of tricky shit out here that can fuck you up and if it adheres to your lens can result in blinding you so I am addressing that - it's a no brainer.

Apart from that life is not too bad - I have yet to get paid and when I do (2nd Nov) I will assess whether or not I can afford to fly back to Ontario for a few days on my next week off.

For those looking for something they are still hiring for this contract I believe so my advice would be don't fuck around sending in CV's and hoping for a callback, look on ClearStream's site and find the number for their HR department and ring them up and ask about their 'Nexen Long Lake Project'. They are pretty hard to get hold of in HR and many calls will go to voicemail but be persistent, they do actually answer the phone when they are in front of it.

Good luck to anyone who gives it a crack - it's a long term thing, 5 yr contract if the company doesn't fuck up and get thrown off site (which is why we are there to replace the other two companies who shared the maintenance responsibilities before we were hired) so that means stability, ie no being hired then layed off then looking around for something else etc.

10-24-2013 12:32 PM
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Messages In This Thread
Risks, opportunities, import/export - OSL - 03-16-2013, 06:58 AM
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months! - Swearbox - 10-24-2013 12:32 PM