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

Absent a massive government subsidy and/or tariffs on imports, shale oil is dead for a generation. The economics of it barely made sense even with high-priced oil, but those "profits" were often carried on the backs of massive debt loads. I wouldn't count on Texas coming to the rescue either, as demand is falling off massively and with it, jobs. If you can find a connection, go for it, but energy will not be a growth industry for at least 2 years based upon my reading of many reports and talking to people in the industry.
 

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Crow
Gold Member
What are the job options in Texas? Is there any good option for someone without experience?

None for someone without experience. Some places just started hiring again but the spots are probably going to people hiring managers know or work with previously. If I get a job I know it will be 100% through a coworker or previous supervisor. I got laid off with a dude that had 20 years experience, so it's going to be a long way before companies take in worms.

Absent a massive government subsidy and/or tariffs on imports, shale oil is dead for a generation. The economics of it barely made sense even with high-priced oil, but those "profits" were often carried on the backs of massive debt loads. I wouldn't count on Texas coming to the rescue either, as demand is falling off massively and with it, jobs. If you can find a connection, go for it, but energy will not be a growth industry for at least 2 years based upon my reading of many reports and talking to people in the industry.

Fake news, not entirely true. XTO and PXD or PE (I forgot which one) are already prepping 4-5 rigs to start punching wells again. NE will remain active due to nat gas.
 
What are y'all up to since this recession hit? I mass applied 1 week before the Covid drop, and obviously got rejected by all.

I have been back in the states for nearly 6 months and am desperate for some live-at job like the oil fields
 

rdvirus

Woodpecker
What are y'all up to since this recession hit? I mass applied 1 week before the Covid drop, and obviously got rejected by all.

I have been back in the states for nearly 6 months and am desperate for some live-at job like the oil fields

Investing the money I had saved during the good times
 

FauxFox

Chicken
What are the job options in Texas? Is there any good option for someone without experience?

Texas is dead, everywhere is dead.

I have the better part of a decade in industry and have been out of work for 15 months now.

What are y'all up to since this recession hit? I mass applied 1 week before the Covid drop, and obviously got rejected by all.

I have been back in the states for nearly 6 months and am desperate for some live-at job like the oil fields

I've been mass applying for well over a year.
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
I’m up in northern British Columbia sitting on my ass all day with a bunch of welders waiting for this pipeline job to kick off, it’s day one so slow as usual. I spent all spring working shutdowns at a couple of oil refineries in Alberta, it was good money but staying in man camps does get old. On this pipeline job we’re staying at a hotel which is nice because I can go fishing after work and smoke fat reefers, I brought up an ounce, should last me the two weeks I’m supposed to be here, cost $100 ($70USD), the price of government ganja has really come down.

I got a call to do some nuke work in Ontario in August but I turned it down, I’d rather be out in the mountains laying pipe than sitting on my ass all day in a super secure nuke plant where I can’t play with my phone all day. It’s good work though, the boys out east seem to like it but I prefer working in the bush, plus the money is better out west.
 

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Monty_Brogan

Woodpecker
Gold Member
I’m up in northern British Columbia sitting on my ass all day with a bunch of welders waiting for this pipeline job to kick off, it’s day one so slow as usual. I spent all spring working shutdowns at a couple of oil refineries in Alberta, it was good money but staying in man camps does get old. On this pipeline job we’re staying at a hotel which is nice because I can go fishing after work and smoke fat reefers, I brought up an ounce, should last me the two weeks I’m supposed to be here, cost $100 ($70USD), the price of government ganja has really come down.

I got a call to do some nuke work in Ontario in August but I turned it down, I’d rather be out in the mountains laying pipe than sitting on my ass all day in a super secure nuke plant where I can’t play with my phone all day. It’s good work though, the boys out east seem to like it but I prefer working in the bush, plus the money is better out west.

That second pic makes me hard. Who didn't get the Ford memo, btw :)
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
So I finished that pipeline job I mentioned above, it was just a quick one week gig to replace some old piping that had corrosion in it, they run smart pigs in these piping systems that can detect material loss. I spent all last summer up in these parts doing this type of work and it’s pretty good, it’s quite different than working at the big oil sands mines and the refineries in northern Alberta though. Most of the work is in remote areas, this dig site was in a farmer’s field about a ten minute drive from a town of 3000 people where the main industry is forestry, there’s a few big mills here and also a lot of coal, oil & gas.

I ended up working over a hundred hours last week, it was pretty brutal, especially the three nights that we worked eighteen hour shifts. The work itself wasn’t too difficult, there was a lot of waiting around for crane lifts, welding,sand blasting, bolt up & torquing, etc. I’m tired af, chilling at my hotel after the last shift which “only 12 hours” I have a ten hour drive ahead of me tomorrow, then I’ll hopefully have a couple of days off but I think my company wants me to work asap.

Pipeline work is good work boys, lots of money and it’s nice to be in remote areas. A guy I worked with was on a pipeline crew near Grande Prairie when a cougar attacked a pipeline labourer, it chewed half his face off, it was in the news: https://globalnews.ca/news/1805042/pipeline-worker-attacked-by-cougar-near-grande-prairie/

One of the welders has his missus as his helper, he’s making $100/hour and she’s making $40 plus they get $180 each per night in non-taxable per diem (called LOA). So in the past week they worked 12s so 84 hours at 140 is $11,760 plus $360 for 7 days so $2520 plus $11,760 so $14,280. Not bad for a week’s work eh? I didn’t do too bad myself, I grossed about half that amount because of the big hours, we had to stay late every night.

Here’s a pic of welder dude’s truck, she’s a beauty of a rig
1CC26736-47E4-4A2D-B752-ABA660AD2034.jpeg
 
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@Cattle Rustler, how so? Do you expect things to improve enough that unskilled jobs might come back here? How difficult are they to get typically?

I saw energy prices overall went up over the past few months.
That is what I am wondering as well.

I am 24, and stuck at my parent's house. I really want to get into something like this to keep busy and stack cash to start a life. Not paying rent and living in a man camp is a big plus too
 

doc holliday

Pelican
Gold Member
Cattle Rustler and Scotian, how does the job market look these days in the US for mechanical engineers in your industry? My son just graduated with his Mech Eng degree. Any info that anyone can give would be greatly appreciated. PM is ok too if you guys prefer that. Thanks.
 

scotian

Peacock
Gold Member
It’s busy in BC with pipeline construction and LNG up north, both in the field and office jobs in Vancouver. Nuclear in Ontario is busy too but I’m not overly familiar with it. There’s still work in Alberta but it’s definitely slower than it once was. I don’t often work directly with engineers so I’m not sure how the market is for entry level but overall Canada is a bit slow these days but there’s pockets of activity out there.
 

Seadog

Kingfisher
Cattle Rustler and Scotian, how does the job market look these days in the US for mechanical engineers in your industry? My son just graduated with his Mech Eng degree. Any info that anyone can give would be greatly appreciated. PM is ok too if you guys prefer that. Thanks.

I'm also a Mech Eng, and while this was 12 years ago, and Canada, the route I took was to get on with one of the big Oilfield service companies (Schlumberger/Halliburton/Baker Hughes/Weatherford). Did almost a decade with them until I was laid off in 2015, but the usual route was about 5-7 years in the field, and then move to an office job like manager, sales, quality coach, or in my case was hoping to get into the petrophysics or reservoir engineering side of things. Unfortunately those jobs are not directly revenue generating, so they're among the first to disappear when times get tough - saw 25 yr guys with PhDs let go. Anyways, did a couple other things since then, but haven't had a grown up job now in about 2 years, thanks in no small part to fancy expat wages, no expenses, and low tax rates after 2.5 years in Indonesia. I made great money, met amazing ppl who are still some of my best friends, traveled to places most people have never heard of, and had a schedule that allowed me to travel to a ton more on my own. This was a field based job, definitely toughened me up, but you had no real schedule, and work comes ahead of everything, except for maybe your wedding, or the funeral of a parent so was definately lonely at times, and you felt quite baseless. One coworker from Egypt unfamiliar with Canada was prepared to miss the birth of his son to attend a course, until our boss smacked some sense into him, but other bosses in third world countries would have been impressed by the sacrifice.

The downside is that it's a young man's game. Friends stuck offshore with a 2 yo at home crying "when's daddy coming home?!" and his wife honestly responding "I don't know". I *might* consider something similar if they could guarantee me a 28/28 rotation and 12 hour shifts, but the market isn't such anymore that you can be picky. Oh that was the other thing. You work a lot. I worked some variety of 2 weeks/months, 1 off (but was always flexible so you could never plan stuff), and often you'd do 24 hrs straight without blinking. 48 wasn't uncommon, my record was 102 hrs. Obviously I'm sure I did sleep in there, but it was always 10 minute cat naps here and there in front of the computer in our truck.

The other option would be to get on with an operator like Exxon or Shell, but they're far more picky. Generally they make new grads do a field stint, but they're being groomed for office stuff down the line. Money not quite as good, but quality of life head and shoulders above. The play in the past was to do like 5 years of soul crushing hard work at a service company, then move to a nice comfy operator role, but negative $40 oil changed all that.

The great news is that even though all these companies are laying off like crazy, they're also wise enough to realize that they need a pipeline of up and coming talent, so for the most part they continue to recruit since brilliant minds are still coming out of the gate. So in that sense your son has a leg up on a grizzled old veteran like myself, but given the timing expect competition to be fierce. Whatever route he goes, I would stress to try and get on with a bigger company initially. A degree is good, but it essentially just confirms that you've "learned how to learn". These big companies all have well structured new grad training programs, and is some of the best training in the industry, and all take safety very seriously to the point it could be argued of ridiculousness - but far better that side of the fence than the other. For my job, it's said they sank $100k into each new grad they take on, which is another reason why they like new grads - they can mould them exactly how they wanted. The requirement was basically "any engineering degree", pass a drug test, and don't be a dumbass. They wanted clever people who could learn fast, then they would spend 6-8 months teaching you what you needed to know, and then started making money.

Smaller companies I find are far more short sighted. Safety short cuts, teach you the bare minimum of what you need to know to get you out there generating revenue ASAP. Unfortunately they often pay a bit better right out of the gate and for people not thinking about the long game that can be a detriment down the line. Anything else you want to know, feel free to ask. Feels good to be posting in the oilsands thread again....
 
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