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Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
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scotian Offline
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Post: #126
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(02-26-2012 06:57 AM)Irishman Wrote:  First stage of my Visa has just gone through. It has taken a lot longer than expected so kind of pushing back my plans of being there by early March. Looks like April now. I find out in the next 1-2 weeks if I am fully approved and then I am booking flights straight away. It has maybe worked out better for me cause I am actually saving a lot at the moment so that will allow me to shop around for the best job when I get there.

Scotian if you don’t mind could you suggest what courses one should do when they arrive to maximise employment opportunities?
I am between two minds in doing some courses straight off the plane or trying to get companies to pay for me to get trained up as part of my terms of employment.

Once again thanks Scotian for all this information. I’m already looking forward to travelling the world and starting businesses this time next year…

For sure you will need H2S Alive training, its a one day, 8 hour course all about how H2S (sour gas) can kill you, its pretty deadly stuff and you need the ticket to get onto all oil and gas sites. There's lots of different places to take the course all over Alberta, I think it costs about $150 which is money well spent IMO, if you have that ticket before you start applying, it'll make you more attractive to employers. You could also try to get a job without it, but most job posting I see have H2S as a prerequisite.

Other safety tickets are CSTS (Construction Safety Training System), First-Aid/CPR, Confined Space Entry and Fall Arrest. Depending on the job, you may need to take some or all of those courses, they're all a day long and coast about $100-150.

Speaking of safety, if you've never been on a big industrial site, safety is huge! I can't emphasize enough how big of a deal it is and how working in big refineries can be really dangerous if you cut corners. As a new guy you'll have to do a lot of site specific safety orientations, some as long as 3-4 days of nothing but safety. Its all good to come and work in the oil biz and make a tonne of cash, but play safe, if you aren't sure about something, don't be afraid to ask and NEVER ever ever ever cut corners on a job site or do something that you know is unsafe, if caught you will be run off site and black listed or worse, you could be seriously injured or die!
02-26-2012 01:24 PM
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Post: #127
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(02-26-2012 08:08 AM)pitt Wrote:  
(02-26-2012 06:57 AM)Irishman Wrote:  First stage of my Visa has just gone through. It has taken a lot longer than expected so kind of pushing back my plans of being there by early March. Looks like April now. I find out in the next 1-2 weeks if I am fully approved and then I am booking flights straight away. It has maybe worked out better for me cause I am actually saving a lot at the moment so that will allow me to shop around for the best job when I get there.

Scotian if you don’t mind could you suggest what courses one should do when they arrive to maximise employment opportunities?
I am between two minds in doing some courses straight off the plane or trying to get companies to pay for me to get trained up as part of my terms of employment.

Once again thanks Scotian for all this information. I’m already looking forward to travelling the world and starting businesses this time next year…

Congratulations on making a move there, i think you are the only cat on here who has made serious moves so far, congrats on that.

Do you mind if you tell me if you are applying for a holiday working visa which is valid for up to a year?

I have also read somewhere that they want to recruit drivers so i dont know if driving and holding a driving license is a must in order to get a job there (hopefully scotian can clarify this).

Irishman you also said that you have been making contacts on linkedin..have you found any jobs from there?

Pitt, you don't necessarily need to have a driver's license to find work in the oil sands but it helps for sure, especially if you've looking to find a job as a driver! If you plan on becoming a driver, you will need to get a special license called a "class one" to drive big rigs or "class 3" to drive vac trucks or dump trucks, a regular license to drive cars is a "class 5".

Driving a truck is a pretty good job and pays fairly well, also its a skill that you can use pretty much anywhere in the world, so I'd say its a decent option for a guy to get into. I was considering it before I got into the trades, but I'm a terrible driver behind the wheel of a regular sedan and the thought of driving a semi freaked me out!

Good luck guys
02-26-2012 01:31 PM
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alecks Offline
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Post: #128
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
thanks for the info scotian. I can almost guarantee il be over there by this time next year (need to upgrade skills & save) lol.

@irishman did you see the news coverage on rte1 news today? its about job prospects for all contruction workers and engineers making a move to canada (british columbia & alberta). the canadians want all the irish workers now because there is nothing in ireland for them
02-26-2012 01:46 PM
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Post: #129
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
So it's been 2 weeks or so and I haven't heard back from CEDA yet. I doubt I'll get a call back since I have no certificates as required on the online application. I made an appointment to get laser eye surgery this week, I have completed the CSTS/PST on Enform, I registered for a H2S course here in BC, and I'll register for First Aid after I regain my eyesight after surgery. I'd figure by mid-March I'll have everything ready to go. I think I'll be in Alberta late March - Early April. By the time I get off the plane I'll be ready to work. I'm just not sure if I should get settled in Edmonton first or make a bee line to Fort McMurray and drop my resume to every company. Shit if I don't get hired the first day I'll have to cough up $200 for a room in fort mac, or sleep on the streets in -20C.

I also thought about driving those trucks but isn't it like $3000 of lessons or more for a class 1? I'll probably just get the airbrakes endorsement.

GIVE'R!
02-26-2012 07:18 PM
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Post: #130
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
If you guys are American , why don't you just move to North Dakota ? This guy made a video blog of his progress moving out there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jaC5Wwd5...jLBm_fKblB . You pretty much have zero chance of getting hired for a labor position living outside of Alberta .

BRB getting Swole and banging these slutty married woman. Banana You mad white knights ?
02-26-2012 07:21 PM
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Post: #131
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
North Dakota or Canada? That's the question..
02-27-2012 02:15 AM
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?Kick Offline
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Post: #132
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
I spoke to a friend who works out there for suncor. And this is what she told me,

"If you really want to make a secure future here you should look into getting some related certification and or diploma to support that.. one that can be obtained in a very short period of time is heavy hauler's certificate if it is done here in Kyano collage then placement is also guaranteed" ...

Heavy Hauler's certificate seems like an easy way in for those of us without any experience. Dunno how much it costs. I'm not sure if I would do any of those courses in Fort Mac though, unless they cover living expense haha. A cheap option would be Lethbridge college. 1 months rent is about $400 out there.

As far as my plan goes:

1. Get my tickets - h2s, csts and first aid. Which I have completed
2. Land in edmonton sometime in April, most likely the first week.
3. Apply like a mad man. My experience so far has been very similar to Irishman's. A lot of employers want you to physically be in AB before even considering you. Although the best case scenario would be to have something lined up before landing.
4. Hoping to land a workcamp gig and just start banging out as many hours as possible.
5. After saving enough, I'll be taking a course to upgrade my skills - welding, plumbing, hauling, safety. Whatever I find interesting when i'm out there.

I think it all comes down to getting our asses in AB. Once that happens, its pretty much go time.
Since there's a couple of us planning to land in April, Hippo and Irishman, I'm thinking maybe we could even go splits on a place until we find a gig? Just a thought, if anyone is down, I can start looking into prices for a place to stay.
(This post was last modified: 02-27-2012 11:34 AM by ?Kick.)
02-27-2012 11:29 AM
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Post: #133
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
I actually know someone who works in the oil sands. This dude has degrees in oil exploration so he's making buku. Most well-traveled person I know. He's been everywhere, even countries like Greenland. No joke.

Anyway, I looked into it and e-mailed him and he shot back a very resourceful e-mail. This is for those of you who are thinking of getting involved, particularly Americans seeking work in Alberta.

Immigration:
In order to work in Fort McMurray, you must be legally able to work in Canada already. Most employers will not help with the immigration process, unless they are hiring for very elite positions, such as top executives. You must go through the immigration process yourself first. Visit the Citizenship and Immigration website for more information on the process and your options: http://www.cic.gc.ca/.

Two good resources for people wanting to move to Alberta:
http://www.alberta-canada.com/immigration/
http://www.services.gov.ab.ca/Living/Index.aspx?N=770

If you want information on how your education and training relate to Alberta's standards, you must go through the International Qualifications Assessment Service: http://employment.alberta.ca/IQAS. Further information is found in the tabs on the left-hand side of the page. Information on regulated professions is here: http://www.albertacanada.com/immigration...sions.html

Developed by the Government of Canada, the Working in Canada Tool (http://www.workingincanada.gc.ca/tool) can help you learn about Canada's labour market and search for employment facts by occupation and city, town or region. An excellent general website for people thinking of moving to Canada can be found: http://www.goingtocanada.gc.ca/index.aspx

Once you have a valid work permit and are legally able to work in Canada and have looked into how your training and credentials can be transferred to Canadian standards, the following are some links and resources to get you started on your job search. Here is some information about Fort Mc Murray and some things to consider before making your move:

About Wood Buffalo (Fort Mc Murray)
Before you move

Another good website for people new to Fort McMurray to visit is: http://www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca/living_2227/Newcomers.htm

Labour Market News
For information about the labour market in the Fort McMurray area, and for information on the kinds of job available, check out the Labour Market News on our website.
http://www.woodbuffalo.net/LMNMAIN.html . Suggested reading for you:

- Finding a job
- Oil sands Jobs
- Administration

There is also current information on our Reports page which is updated every two to three months. Check out the Oil Sands Project Report and the Wood Buffalo Economic Updates here: http://www.woodbuffalo.net/linksRESRepo.html.

Employer Web Sites:
There are a few places I can send you to look for jobs in the Fort McMurray area. First go to the > Links > Employer Web Sites section our website:
http://www.woodbuffalo.net/linksEMPLIntro.html — this will give you a list of companies that hire by trade. Links that you should look at:
- Business

Safety Certifications:
All workers working in the oil sands sites are required to have Construction Safety Training System (CSTS) and Oil Sands Safety Association (OSSA) certifications completed. Without these certifications, workers are not allowed to work on the oil sands sites. To find more information on these two trainings and other requirements that you may need please visit: http://www.woodbuffalo.net/trainSAFE.html

Some general job search websites:
General employment listings are often found at http://www.jobbank.gc.ca. Click on English, then Job Search on the upper left, then Alberta in the list of provinces. In Step 1, enter a keyword, or leave it blank. In Step 2, pick Fort McMurray and Area from the list.
Also check out:
http://www.fortmcmurraytoday.com/
http://oilsands.infomine.com/careers/
http://www.fortmcmurrayjobshop.ca/
http://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/employment/jp/jobbanksab.asp

Major Employers:
The major surface mining companies in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) are Syncrude, Suncor, Albian Sands and Canadian National Resources Ltd. (CNRL). You can apply for jobs directly to their website, but some of the jobs on the mine sites, especially construction, are contracted out to other construction companies. Also there are a number of in-situ mines that operating or under construction.

http://www.suncor.com/en/working/315.aspx
http://www.syncrude.ca/users/folder.asp
http://careers.cnrl.com/js/
http://www.shell.ca/careers

Camp Jobs
There are construction jobs that come with camp accommodations but, whether or not a job comes with camp housing depends on the company and the job, so it's something that you have to negotiate with the employer. For more information on getting a job that comes with camp housing, see the Labour Market News at:http://www.woodbuffalo.net/LMNMain102007.html
(This post was last modified: 02-27-2012 02:54 PM by Hencredible Casanova.)
02-27-2012 02:54 PM
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Hotwheels Offline
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Post: #134
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
Here's a website that lists a bunch of the companies around Williston ND for guys that may not want to deal with the hurdles of going to work in Canada.

http://ndoiljobs.blogspot.com/

The guy has some good videos giving tips and such. Claims he was making $2400/week after taxes.

Might be a good option for guys looking to make some fairly fast cash. What I would do is get on with one of these places for a year or two, save money, and use that money to start a biz, invest in real estate, etc.

Should be able to set yourself up for the future pretty well in either Canada or North Dakota.

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02-27-2012 04:51 PM
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hiphoppotamus Offline
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Post: #135
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
?Kick I just looked into the Heavy Hauler course at Keyano. If I'm not mistaken, I think that's the Haul truck operator course, and it costs $6000 - definitely out of my bankroll. My plan would be to get any camp job, work till winter, then find an employer to sponsor me for an apprenticeship. I'm also down for sharing a place in Edmonton. I'll add OSSA to the list of tickets to get in the meantime.
02-27-2012 05:42 PM
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Post: #136
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
I've been following this thread very careful and with great interest and I'm strongly toying with the idea of giving this a try. It sounds like a perfect trade to get in for maximum flexibility/time off and high earnings to finance a cool lifestyle, and build a nice nest egg to get other projects off the ground. While I do have an online biz that's doing decently, since I have a bit fat debt to repay, this is what has been holding me back here. And I feel that moving out west getting into the oil/energy field, I can pay that off within 1-2 years. Once I pay that off, with my online biz, I can live a comfortable lifestyle in most of Asia, South America and even Eastern Europe. So I might make a move west in April and see where it goes. I can't thank enough Scotian, for having opened my eyes to that incredible opportunity, even for guys like me with absolutely no prior experience in that field, to still have a chance of making good and fast cash. he's giving me some excellent and outstanding guidance and tips. Thanks also to everyone else who has contributed to this thread.
Excellent post HH as well!

So who's really serious in pulling the trigger in this? I'm 75-25% as it looks now. I'm going to start calling some of the contacts Scotian has provided me in the next few days and would start getting my safety tickets right after that. I'd want to make the move with at least the H2S safety and possibly one of the certificates he suggested me.

If I make the move, I'm going to start a blog where I'd be documenting my adventures there, step by step with frequent updates from the field. Once there, the first year, I'd work from May to end of Nov, then take off to Brasil for Carnaval and after, to BKK and the Phils. After the first year, I'd work only spring and fall, taking the summer and winter off while still making 6 figures. Doing that, in 1-2 years, I'd be totally debt free, with a nice bank roll and an online biz booming. Needless to say, I'm extremely pumped and totally looking forward to this. Smile
02-27-2012 10:39 PM
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?Kick Offline
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Post: #137
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(02-27-2012 05:42 PM)hiphoppotamus Wrote:  ?Kick I just looked into the Heavy Hauler course at Keyano. If I'm not mistaken, I think that's the Haul truck operator course, and it costs $6000 - definitely out of my bankroll. My plan would be to get any camp job, work till winter, then find an employer to sponsor me for an apprenticeship. I'm also down for sharing a place in Edmonton. I'll add OSSA to the list of tickets to get in the meantime.

Yea I had a feeling it might be that much. Most pre-employment type programs cost 5000 and up.
Sweet, I'll start getting some intel on rent, places to stay, etc.

On a side note, It's kinda funny, I was planning to get laser eye surgery myself before making the move to AB. But apparently I have soft corneas and larger than normal pupils. Because of that I only qualify for PRK new wave technology or something, which will end up costing about 4g's. I knew "starting at $490 per eye" was to good to be true!
02-28-2012 12:59 AM
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scotian Offline
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RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
Looks like you guys are on the right track, Hencredible Casanova as always, your post is very informative for guys looking to make the move to Fort McMurray, you must have contacts everywhere!

I´ve been calling around to potential employers the past few days from here in Colombia and guys things are looking VERY good this year for job prospects. The last company I worked for basically told me that my old job is waiting for me he´d put me to work tomorrow if I wanted to come back early, I politely declined, I´m not going back until theres no more snow on the ground.

Theres another option for finding a job that I forgot to mention, temporary work agencies. I used these services a couple of times when I first moved to Alberta and they´re decent (although not ideal) to work for, here´s some that I´m familiar with:

-Diversified Staffing Services
-Manpower Canada
-Randstad Canada

Theres other ones out there, I´d take a look at least to see what they offer.

Remember, you don´t have to move directly to Fort Mac, I never did, I always maintained a place to live (usually a rented room in a buddy´s house in Calgary or Edmonton for $300-500/month). I didn´t end up living in Fort Mac until last fall and my company put me up in furnished condo that cost $3500/month (I don{t recommend paying that much, a room should be around $800-1000). Theres lots of work in Calgary-Red Deer-Edmonton, etc if you´d like to actually have a decent lifestyle and not live in camp.

Also, having a car will make your life a lot easier. Its not absolutely essential (I lived for almost a year without one in Alberta), but citied like Calgary and Edmonton are definitely car cities, public transportation isn{t the best and the cities are very spread out. During you initial job search, you may want to rent a car for handing out CVs or put an add on Kijiji.ca and pay someone to drive you around, the industrial area of Edmonton, Nisku is near the airport, about 20 minutes outside of town, thats where a lot of companies are based, but not all.

Another thing I want to re-iterate, although you have pretty much all the info you need on this thread to get started in the oil biz, don´t expect it to be easy and if you are an unskilled labourer, don´t be too picky with your first job, you may only make $15-18/hr to shovel shit in a ditch, but once you get all of your safety tickets done, bank a few bucks and do some networking, you should be able to move onto something better.

A little more about me: I first moved out west in the summer of 2006, that was the height of the big BOOM (its a very cyclical industry to work in and once you do, you´ll be checking the price of oil everyday), employers were begging people to work for them, gas stations and convenience stores were closing down because NO ONE would work for for less than $15, 7-11 was giving $1000 signing bonuses after 2 months work, Tim Hortens was giving away trips to Cuba and Mexico for staying on for 3 months, etc. The vacancy rate for rentals was 0%, I ended up crashing on the floor of a friends place, there were 8 of us in a 3 bedroom apartment!

Anyway, I moved out thinking I would land an easy gig making $30/hour, I didn´t have a plan and I knew nothing about the oil sands or the oil industry at all, I thought I had to get a job on a rig. Anyway, I was too picky, I waited almost a month before I took a job and ended up going through about 4 or 5 in 6 months. Finally, after a string of unfortunate events, I moved back east with my tail between my legs, broke and depressed.

Then I met some people back home who had connections and encouraged me to take a pre-employment course at SAIT, I saved up some coin, took out a big fat loan and moved back out to Calgary in the spring of 2007. It worked out well, the boom was still going strong, I found a great job and started right away working in my trade and getting experience, there was so much work, I had 5 solid job offers right out of school with no experience.

Then the price of oil sky rocketed to almost $140/barrel in the summer of 2008, we were loving it in Alberta, all the companies and employers were stoked about all these planned projects getting the green light, we were all raking in big bucks.......THEN THE PRICE OF OIL DROPPED TO $35!!!

In the span of a week I went from working tons of hours, clocking big dollars and spending money like a drunken sailor (first time I had money in my life, it was great), then I got laid off, NO JOB, no money coming in and over 20K in debt! I found another job about 3 weeks later, worked there for a month, then got laid off again! I lucked out and scored a good maintenance gig that helped me weather the storm, I also up graded my skills some more and it all worked out. Things have picked up a lot since then and in the past 2 years I´ve been really busy, I´m debt free, own a nice condo in Etown and because I worked my bag off so much in Fort Mac, I´m 3 months into a 4 month extended vacation, writing this at an internet cafe in Bogota, Colombia.


Moral of the story: The oil industry, for the most part, is a hard one to work in. Depending on the price of oil, you could be sitting on your ass for weeks or months, or making money hand over fist, it really is sink or swim sometimes. You´ll often have to work long hours in shitty environments, out in the elements for extended periods of time. You will work with some of the biggest assholes you´ve ever met in your life, trust me (Pitt can probably elaborate on this!), you´ll work around machinery and poisonous gases that can kill you if you´re not careful. Some of your coworkers and buddies will go off the deep end with their lifestyle of hookers, blow, bar fights and fast cars, you´ll work with ex-cons, dead beat dads and drug addicts. Forget about ever having a normal family life if you decide to do the fort mac style camp work (although you can have a 40 hour M-F gig, especially in Edmonton or Calgary), the divorce rate in this industry is through the roof, probably around 70%. Some pointers:

-Save your money as much as possible, but of course you still have to have a good time on your days off. There will be a rainy day, trust me!

-Stay away from the strip clubs, escorts and hookers. This sounds logical but you should see the crazy shit a guy will do after working 60 days straight in the patch without seeing a fuckable women then he has 4 days off in Edmonton or Calgary.

-Don´t smoke crack. So many guys have fucked themselves so bad with that stuff

-Don´t get caught up in the materialistic lifestyle that most guys do, you don´t need to buy a $60K ford pick up truck then put another 30K of after marker parts onto it, you´ll see a lot of these in Alberta., even ones who have a big metal nut sack hanging on their trailer hitch.

-Don´t EVER do a job or task that you think is unsafe, you have the RIGHT to refuse any unsafe work.

-DO work hard, show up to work on time, try not to fuck the dog too much, ask lots of questions especially about safety, respect you supervisors and don´t bitch and complain, no one likes a whiner, especially in the oil biz.

-Never turn down an opportunity to learn something new, be inquisitive, find a cool experienced guy on your team you can kind of shadow and ask him questions about the job.

all right I´m done......looks like I´ll be back in Etown around mid-April, probably in the Mac sometime around early May, hope to meet up with you guys!
02-29-2012 01:27 PM
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Post: #139
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
Just came across this You Tube video which may interest Americans who are interested in coming up to Alberta for work, it looks like the unions are taking a much more proactive approach than the federal and provincial governments with regards to the looming labour shortage:

"Realizing Opportunity: Jobs in Canada for Americans"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla...HLzeQM_TmM

In the video you'll see various tradesmen at work on oil sands and other construction sites.
02-29-2012 03:47 PM
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RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(02-25-2012 08:18 PM)scotian Wrote:  
(02-25-2012 07:32 PM)elabayarde Wrote:  So... Im receiving a Masters Degrees in MEchanical and Aerospace engineering in may. I am so down! For the pay that It sound like u can make. But, can the engineers like double up on contracts or something to get over time hours. Also, has anyone got to the bottom of the American getting a visa B.S.

With a masters degree in mechanical engineering, you shouldn't have a problem getting a visa into Canada, do some research on the immigration Canada website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/

I'm sure you'll be well compensated at whichever company you end up working at, don't worry about OT hours, you'll have your hands full learning and doing whatever position you're put into. Trust me, this is a line of work where, if your employers sense that you have half a brain and some decent people skills, you will advance quickly.

I encourage you to come up here and check it out, I've worked with several Americans over the years and they all say that this is the best money that they've ever made. Tell your class mates too and anyone else in the states that you know, you have the skills that we need and trust me, you'll be welcomed here.

peace




Hey,

I have been doing alot of research on the engineering jobs in the oil sands. I am not particular about the quality of life where as I'm a USMC veteran and have dealt with shit conditions for next to nothing pay(But Ilove the Marine Corp with every drop of blood in me, ... its ironic). But, for a engineer in my field with an M.S. you start anywhere from 75,000-105,000 give or take. However, I CANNOT find any sort of info on pay for engineers on the oil sands. I am very serious about this and will be applying for visa and everything to try to start in the May-june time span. Does anyone know how much they are paying guys like me. I would like to know if the pay is even worth the living conditions for engineers. My plan would be to do the 6 months of time-whoring and 6 being and international whore(like we all here are Banana). But I want to know is the pay that much higher for us as well. THANK So much for all the intel guys!!! I'll be adding to it when I get up there for myself.
02-29-2012 03:57 PM
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alchemist88 Offline
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Post: #141
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(01-23-2012 11:39 AM)scotian Wrote:  You're about to read a datasheet on how to get a job making 6 figures in 6 months, its definitely not a lifestyle for everyone, but if you're interested, please read on......

Since you guys have been such a great help and this forum has provided me with so much great info about travel, lifestyle, fashion, game, etc. I've decided to give back by writing up a comprehensive guide to working in the oil sands, a line of work which, can afford a comfortable lifestyle, some would say even that of an international playboy!

Hopefully by reading this, some of you younger guys may consider a career in the trades. Not too many people on this forum appear to be the blue collar tradesmen types (am I the only one???), but I wish more guys wold consider it, because trust me, it can be good! I wish someone told me when I was 18 that if I took a trade, I'd be making 100K by the time I was 20 and likely be my own boss by 25! This is going to be an extensive data sheet, and of course, I welcome all input and will try my best to answer all questions.

Even if this type of work isn't for you, maybe you can use this info to steer a friend or family member in the right direction. We have a serious issue with a lack of skilled labour in the Oil sands, and it'll only get worse as the forecasted projects ramp up, so anyone from the USA, Europe, etc who is or knows a skilled tradesman, please inform them of the opportunities in the oil sands.

So where and what are the oil sands? check out this video, it pretty much sums it up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpBMnUNKqgA

So, as you can see from this video:
-There's a lot of money to be made up there )I know kids 18-20 years old making $150K/year and still living at home with mom and dad!
-Its a rough, frontier town; gangs, drugs, prostitution, etc. If you're going to the bars and clubs, be ready to scrap!
-Real estate is INSANE, a mobile home costs half a million!

Here's some more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athabasca_oil_sands

Another excellent video on the oil sands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALCTOs2zakc

Getting a job in the oil sands: There are many options and many different jobs up there, it doesn't matter if you're a PHD in engineering, an MBA or a high school drop out with a rap sheet longer than Manute Bol (I work with A LOT of ex-cons, they don't do criminal record checks in the oil sands!).

The biggest number of jobs are those in the building trades, they are fairly easy to get into and are all very WELL PAYING jobs, these include: welder, pipe fitter, electrician, boiler maker, scaffolder, iron worker, crane operator, industrial insulator, etc. All of these trades are in high demand, if you take a pre-employment course at a community college (4-12 weeks, depends on trade), you WILL get a job and you WILL make 6 figures, I know several welders who make 8-10,000 PER WEEK!

Then there's also more technical trades that are less physically demanding than the building trades but still require field work in the elements; instrumentation tech, industrial automation tech, safety officer, PLC programmer, etc.

There's many engineers too; civil, mechanical, material, chemical, electrical, etc.

And then there's MANY other jobs that don't require much,if any, special training: Labourer, janitor, kitchen staff, camp staff, security guards, man/hatch watch (monitoring confined space entry), water/vac truck operator, etc.

The work: It can be very difficult and for 6 months of the year, especially Dec/Jan/Feb, its FUCKING COLD!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn-ZBdKu7O8

It can also be very easy, I worked on a project last year (unscheduled shut down of a refinery after a major furnace explosion/fire in the coker) and for the last 10 weeks, I did absolutely nothing for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week (well I watched a lot of movies and read books, surfed web, etc).

WORK CAMPS: If you come work up here, chances are that you will be living in a work camp, they're massive housing complexes where the workers live. Everything is taken care of and you don't spend much money when staying in them (I think I was spending about $30/week on coffee and newspapers!), I used to enjoy it but after 2 years of staying in camps, it became more and more like prison!

Some camps are VERY nice, big rooms, big beds, big plasma TV with 100 channels, nice big gyms with personal trainers, games rooms (ping pong, snooker, foosball,etc), out door hockey rinks, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, concert hall with full music sets to jam, decent pubs/bars, etc. Then again, some SUCK and don't have any of those services! I remember one shitty camp I stayed at had a sever black bear problem, bears were getting into the camps, fucking up the kitchen, etc. One morning I got into my truck and there's bear paw prints all over the wind screen!!!

Most guys work a rotation and fly in/out from Calgary or Edmonton, lots fly from other parts of Canada and some fly from the USA. The last rotation I worked was one month on then one off, my company gave me $800/month to fly where ever I wanted, they didn't care where I went as long as I came back on time! IF YOU ARE SKILLED, THEY WILL FLY YOU FROM ANYWHERE IN THE USA, I hope some of you American guys come up here to work, tell your friends and family, we need more skilled trades and I'd rather see my USA brother and sisters come up here than hire from overseas!

Examples of rotations, or hitches are: 2 weeks on, 1 off (most common), 24 days on 4 off (most legally allowed to work, I did this for 8 months straight!), week on, week off, etc.

Me personally, I'm only going to work 6 months up there from now on. Its a hard lifestyle guys and not everyone is cut out for it, you have to deal with isolation, not getting laid often and probably the biggest issue for me, working with a lot of morons! Because of the severe labour shortage, they will hire anyone, including ex-cons, some crack heads, dead beats, etc. However, there are a few interesting cool people who only work there for the money then get the fuck out, like me!

Here's a video on camp life, its for an oil company so they try to make it look as nice as they can, its pretty close to reality:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct7bziwvY0E

This short clip is from the same camp (and closer to reality lol): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcabfzmW_fg

Here's a list of most of the oil sands operations:

Suncor-1st ever oil sands operation, built in 1967
Syncrude-Largest oil sands operation
CNRL Horizon
Shell Albian Sands
Imperial oil (EXXON) Kearl Lake
Suncor Firebag
Husky Sunrise
Cenovus-Christina Lake
MEG Energy-Christin Lake

Most likely, you will find work with a contractor or subcontractor (like me), here's some big ones in the oil sands:

-PCL (Canada)
-Kiewit (USA)
-KBR (USA)
-Ledcor (Canada)
-Transfield (Australia)
-TIC (USA)
-Bechtel (USA)
-Kentz engineering
-DCM (Canada)
-Bradken (Australia)

Of course there's MANY more, here's some websites to find work in the oil sands:

Rig Zone, Oil Careers, jobbank.gc.ca, workopolis, monster.ca,

http://oilsands.infomine.com/careers/

fortmcmurrayjobshop.ca

Like I say, definitely not a career option for everyone, myself I'm even thinking about getting out of it, but I"m glad that its an option, I can always go there and work a maintenance shutdown and make an easy 20-25K, in a month!

However, its easy to get caught up in the big money, give er' til ya quiver lifestyle, I know one guy last year, who was 25 and he grossed about 330K, he worked an insane amount of days and hours, we call it "the golden hand cuffs syndrome", you become obsessed with money and watch the bank account grow, I guess there's worse things to get into but I've seen some guys waste their 20's working and not enjoying the fruits of their labour!

Anyway, I'll write some more later because there's a lot I left out

peace

seems way too good to be true! I bet if I go online and apply for one of these companies the job titles/qualifications will be ridiculous nevermind they will hire you with a HS diploma lmfao
03-01-2012 07:25 AM
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scotian Offline
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Post: #142
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
elabayarde: I"m not exactly sure how much engineers make but obviously it will depend on your education and work experience. I think most engineers work on salary, so they don't work a tonne of hours like us tradesmen do, but if an uneducated labourer can make 80-100K working 2 weeks on, 1 off rotation, I'm sure an engineer can make double that, easily. Also, I think engineers tend to work year round and not short term contracts like I do, its something you'll have to look into, try contacting the HR departments of some of the companies I listed on this thread. Honestly, if you can make $80-100K in the States, I'd probably stay there, at least you could live in a decent city or town, trust me, Fort Mac isn't the nicest place to live.

alchemist88: you can believe whatever you want bud, but you don't need post secondary education to get a job in the oil sands. I know WAY more high school drops outs or guys with just high school than I do people with ANY post secondary education, I'm not exaggerating. I don't meet too labourers with masters degrees whose job it is to change garbage bags or shovel snow, the unionized labourers can make up to $35/hour, literally to dig holes in the ground and do janitorial work like cleaning toilets, check out the website for more info if you want: http://www.local92.com/

Here are a couple of positions available right now off the local 92 website:

CLEARWATER-SYNCRUDE AURORA (FT.MCMURRAY)- is requesting 3G/L to report March 4th at 7:30 am for orientation to perform general labour duties including heavy lifting, jack hammering, and general cleaning. Must be physically fit and able to climb stairs. Must have OSSA Confined Space Monitor & Entry, OSSA Firewatch and OSSA Orientatin. Duration is 3 shifts +, working 4x10's. Camp is available, however, locals are preferred.

BFI-SYNCRUDE BASE MINE (FT.MCMURRAY)- is requesting 1G/L to report March 6th at 7:30 am for orientation to perform general labour duties. Must have OSSA Orientation and a valid drivers license (with a drivers abstract). Duration is unknown, working 10x4 schedule and camp is available. *NOTE; all members who accept a dispatch for BFI will be subject to complete and pass an A&D and fitness test*

adios
03-01-2012 01:13 PM
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DerMul Offline
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Post: #143
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
I've been following this thread for e few weeks now but could only sing up today. I must give a big thank you to scotion for the info. I'm moving to Calgary on 20/6 from Ireland and was just planning on working there. With all this new info I'm looking at going to Fort Mc for a year or two to make some proper cash. If you're reading this post scotion I hope you're having a great holiday. Can you tell how do electricians fair out in the oil biz if you have any idea? I've looked in to a lot of job postings and the money seems good but not much about flights. I'll be setting up shop in Calgary either way so the free flights would be a great help. I've got a friend coming with me and he'll be looking for labourer work. Plus there's another lad following on a few months later and he's a welder.

Anyone in Ireland heading to the workingabroad.net expo in Dublin over the weekend?
03-01-2012 02:35 PM
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scotian Offline
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Post: #144
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(03-01-2012 02:35 PM)DerMul Wrote:  I've been following this thread for e few weeks now but could only sing up today. I must give a big thank you to scotion for the info. I'm moving to Calgary on 20/6 from Ireland and was just planning on working there. With all this new info I'm looking at going to Fort Mc for a year or two to make some proper cash. If you're reading this post scotion I hope you're having a great holiday. Can you tell how do electricians fair out in the oil biz if you have any idea? I've looked in to a lot of job postings and the money seems good but not much about flights. I'll be setting up shop in Calgary either way so the free flights would be a great help. I've got a friend coming with me and he'll be looking for labourer work. Plus there's another lad following on a few months later and he's a welder.

Anyone in Ireland heading to the workingabroad.net expo in Dublin over the weekend?

Dermul, glad to hear you're making the move and I can assure you that there is definitely a need for electricians in Alberta. You should find plenty of opportunity to work in residential, commercial construction or industrial in Calgary and if you want to work up in the oil sands, there are definitely camp jobs up there with paid flights back and forth to Calgary, usually on a 10 days on 4 days off or 2 weeks on 1 week off rotation.

I personally know friends who are busy right now working as electricians for the following companies: JV Driver, Studon Electric and Controls, Kiewit, Flint Energy Services and Ledcor. Contact these companies by phone or e-mail for more details, also you may want to contact the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local 424: http://ibew424.net/

The relevant visa info for you is on this thread, if you're Irish and under 35, shouldn't be a problem. I stumbled upon this article the other day, check it out: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on...le2351900/

Slainte!
03-02-2012 12:41 AM
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Ecksie Offline
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Post: #145
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
I've been following this forum and this thread for a while now but have a few questions that I hope can get answered.

I have many years working as a project manager in heavy civil construction and I graduated with a degree in civil engineering. I moved up to Canada last year to work as a servicing company in the oil patch. The work is completely unrelated to heavy civil work and quite frankly, I'm not enjoying it and after accounting for the increased cost of living in Calgary, I'm taking a pay cut. I'm curious to know what the pros and cons of working the rigs vs the oil sands. Specifically, what could a project manager with 12 years heavy civil experience expect to make? I've seen a lot of job opportunities and I am currently updating my resume. I don't want to be completely ignorant about the wages though.

Any info would be a HUGE help and seriously appreciated. Thanks in advance.
03-02-2012 02:03 PM
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scotian Offline
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Post: #146
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(03-02-2012 02:03 PM)Ecksie Wrote:  I've been following this forum and this thread for a while now but have a few questions that I hope can get answered.

I have many years working as a project manager in heavy civil construction and I graduated with a degree in civil engineering. I moved up to Canada last year to work as a servicing company in the oil patch. The work is completely unrelated to heavy civil work and quite frankly, I'm not enjoying it and after accounting for the increased cost of living in Calgary, I'm taking a pay cut. I'm curious to know what the pros and cons of working the rigs vs the oil sands. Specifically, what could a project manager with 12 years heavy civil experience expect to make? I've seen a lot of job opportunities and I am currently updating my resume. I don't want to be completely ignorant about the wages though.

Any info would be a HUGE help and seriously appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Hi Ecksie, I don't know much about working on an oil rig other than its very hard work, can be quite dangerous and it tends to draw a more cowboy or red neck crowd. I don't think many drilling companies employ civil engineers, but I could be wrong, contact some of the drilling companies in Calgary for more info: Precision Drilling, Trinidad and Nabors Drilling.

There are some oil rigs in the oil sands at the SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage) sites such as Suncor Firebag, Cenovus Christina Lake and Devon jackfish (down near Conklin), they use advanced drilling technology such as horizontal drilling to separate the oil from the sands while under ground and then pump the bitumen out, all with out disrupting the earth's surface. All of the other oil sands operation are open mines where they literally scoop the oil sand out of the ground with big excavators and haul it away in those big huge heavy hauler trucks.

Anyway, as far as I know, all EPCM contractors employ civil engineers. Since you are already living in Alberta, looking for work shouldn't be too big of a deal. I just looked on Fluor Canada's website under the career section and found a job you may be interested, as you probably know, they are a MAJOR international EPCM company (they were mentioned in another recent thread about working in Afghanistan), this job is likey at the Exxon/Imperial oil site Kearl Lake (I worked there for almost 2 years off and on), they are the general contractor there, other sub-contractors on that particular site include Pacer Corp, Kiewit, PCL and Kentz Engineering, I've done work for all those guys too, this is a fly-in, fly-out site, the camp is about a 30 minute drive away from site, its called Wapasu Creek Lodge, its nice but the security is a bit nuts and its a dry camp (no booze allowed), decent food and excellent gym anyway, here's a vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38V37IfJ26U

Also, here's that ad for a civil engineer with Fluor, let us know if you apply and how it goes!


Job Abbreviation Title Civil / Struc. Superintendent
Job Description • Responsible for monitoring the safety, qualify, cost and schedule for contractors performing C/S/A works.
• Oversee subcontractor piling and foundation installations
• Oversee installation of structural steel
• Ensures contractor personnel are trained and knowledgeable of drawings, specifications and work procedures; that material is being utilized to ensure optimum efficiency; and that the work being performed is in conformance with specified quality requirements.
• Monitor day to day Contractor’s field activities as to its conformance to design documents, specifications, standards, and codes utilizing your experience on similar work scope.
• Evaluate workforce against progress achievement. Daily progress will be captured on Fluor’s Daily Report and measured against the approved plan.
• Assist with resolutions to Contractor queries via RFI (request for information) thru Projects Online (POL)
• Assist Contractors with the execution of their quality program – inspection, testing, and record retention.
• Ensure Contractor’s adherence to project safety program and plays an active role in the development of the safety culture on the project.
• Review safety task analysis and work permits. Attend safety toolbox meetings.
• Controls scope changes or creep through established management of change policy, ensuring that all scope changes are quickly and properly documented and reported to the Area Construction Manager
• Participate in weekly progress review meetings.
• Ensure contractor maintains current as-built drawings.
• Review erection equipment and monitor lifting operations.
• Assist quantity surveyors in measurement of progress and installed quantities.
• Coordinate and assist contractors in the set up and installation of contractor’s temporary facilities.
• Assume responsibility for the following functions: Earthworks including excavation, dewatering, backfill and compaction. Piling installation including test piles. Foundation installation including formwork, reinforcing, embeds and anchor bolts, concrete placement and curing, and waterproofing application. Erection of 150 meter concrete stack and installation of area paving and roads. Underground piping installation including coating and wrapping, hydrotesting, manholes, catch basins, valve boxes, hydrants and stand pipes. Structural steel and precast concrete erection, ladders and platform installation. Building and shelter erection and finish works. Review and approval of C/S/A installation Inspection Test Plans and Method Statements.
• Ability to attend to detail and work in a time-conscious and time-effective manner
• Ensures accurate, comprehensive and timely project reporting
Basic Job Requirements 5-10 years of experience in CSA Supervision

Successfully managed CSA activities on large scale 500 million dollar plus projects.

10+ years of progressive CSA experience

Cold weather experience preferable

Canadian experience preferable
Other Job Requirements Strong communications skills.
Good computer skills.
Strong working knowledge of civil construction codes, standards, principals and procedures.
Previous Fluor experience highly desirable
Must be legally eligible to work in Canada
Degree Required Yes
City (or Nearest City) Fort McMurray, AB
State/Province Alberta
Country Canada
Location Type Project
Requisition Number 41890BR
03-02-2012 04:43 PM
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Ecksie Offline
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Post: #147
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
Wow scotian you provide a wealth of knowledge. I wasn't very clear in my previous post though. I have a civil engineering degree but would be looking for a Project Manager position (I've found a number of available positions including the one you posted).

I'm currently working with drilling rigs on a daily basis. The work is easy but I'm not really using my skills. The job I hold could be filled by someone with no experience and half a brain.

What do you suppose the pay for most project managers or supervisors would be? In Edmonton/Calgary, those jobs would typically be salary and 40 hours/week but it seems that many of them in Fort McMurray seem to be hourly & fly in/fly out. WageINFO seems to indicate that the average pay for this position in Cold Lake is ~$55/hr but I've seen 2 opportunities on Kijiji that indicated $75/hr. I'd like to walk into an interview having a solid idea of what to expect.

When you interview for the jobs, are the interviews typically conducted in Fort McMurray or were you able to interview in Edmonton/Calgary?
03-02-2012 08:37 PM
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scotian Offline
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Post: #148
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
(03-02-2012 08:37 PM)Ecksie Wrote:  Wow scotian you provide a wealth of knowledge. I wasn't very clear in my previous post though. I have a civil engineering degree but would be looking for a Project Manager position (I've found a number of available positions including the one you posted).

I'm currently working with drilling rigs on a daily basis. The work is easy but I'm not really using my skills. The job I hold could be filled by someone with no experience and half a brain.

What do you suppose the pay for most project managers or supervisors would be? In Edmonton/Calgary, those jobs would typically be salary and 40 hours/week but it seems that many of them in Fort McMurray seem to be hourly & fly in/fly out. WageINFO seems to indicate that the average pay for this position in Cold Lake is ~$55/hr but I've seen 2 opportunities on Kijiji that indicated $75/hr. I'd like to walk into an interview having a solid idea of what to expect.

When you interview for the jobs, are the interviews typically conducted in Fort McMurray or were you able to interview in Edmonton/Calgary?

I'm not sure what the salary would be for a guy with your skills set and work experience, but I can tell you that my previous manager in our Fort Mac office was making 150K salary for 40 hrs/week, free furnished apartment, company truck with gas card for personal and work use, paid cell phone, profit sharing plan, etc. He doesn't have any post-secondary, just trades training and about 20 years in the field.

I'm an hourly union worker so my wage is set by the collective agreement, I've always worked out of the Edmonton offices of my employers so thats where the interviews were done and they were quite informal. Yours on the other hand wouldn't be, and I imagine you could do the interviews in Edmonton/Calgary.

Are you willing to relocate to Fort Mac? If so, you can negotiate a higher wage or salary and other perks like the ones listed above. As I've said in previous posts, I'm not sure about engineers salaries because I don't interact with them very often, but if tradesmen and labourers can make 100-200K working 12 hour shifts on fly-in/out rotations, I can't why a P.Eng wouldn't be paid at least that much.
(This post was last modified: 03-03-2012 03:21 PM by scotian.)
03-03-2012 03:20 PM
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rudebwoy Away
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Post: #149
RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
There is a good article in this month's British GQ magazine about guys who work in the oilsands.

Claims some guys can make up to 3200 GBP a week.

Our New Blog:

http://www.repstylez.com
03-03-2012 06:59 PM
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scotian Offline
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RE: Working in the Canadian oil sands: 6 figures in 6 months!
Hey Rudebwoy, do you have a link to that article? All I could fin by searching was this: http://mattrainwaters.com/blog/?p=992

Seems about right to me!
03-03-2012 07:35 PM
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