“The Story of Oil” Historical Video

“The Story of Oil” Historical Video

Thanks to our ever informative friends over at the BOE Report, we stumbled upon this interesting historical video of Alberta’s Southern Oilfields in the 1940’s.

Story of Oil was actually shot in 1947, making it worth the quick watch based on this fact alone! Delving into the story of Alberta’s Turner Valley, the film speaks to topics from exploration through to drilling and completion.

An interesting watch, and a look at how some things in the industry may have changed, but many things – such as the search for oil itself – has not.

Take a look!

Tackling the Fracking Misconceptions

fracking misconceptionsTackling the Fracking Misconceptions

Fracking refers to a technique used to extract natural resources from deep supplies  in shale deposits. It is also a term that has come to symbolize further misconceptions about the oil industry. Although many people are familiar with the term, they have very little understanding of what fracking is all about.

In fact, a recent public opinion poll found that in America, upwards of 74% of the population has no idea about what fracking is and how it works. Even still, that hasn’t stopped the drumbeat of the supposed dangers associated with this process. As someone who works in the oil industry, you may find yourself on the firing line to defend fracking if it comes up in social situations. Here are some suggestions about what you could say regarding these common fracking misconceptions:

“Fracking is polluting our water supply.”

We get most of our drinking water from tables that are just a couple of hundred feet below the surface. Fracking doesn’t happen until the pipes hit around several thousands of feet below the surface. To get to the precious resources, the drills must pass through solid rock. Down in the Bakken Formation, the drills are hitting depths of over 10,000 feet.

Then there is the issue of well casings. There are at least four layers of heavy steel and cement between the resources being extracted and the outside elements of the shaft. Before anything is drawn up to the extraction points, the casings are firmly planted in cement, which adds another layer of protection for the water tables.

Here’s another fun fact that most people aren’t aware of, some form of fracking has been in operation since 1940. Since then, millions of wells have incorporated this process. If this process was polluting our drinking supply we would have heard about it long ago.

“Fracking wastes water.”

Check the numbers. When compared to the amount of water used for coal mines or at nuclear power plants, you’ll find that fracking uses less water. Couple that with the increased use of recycling at fracking sites and you’ll find that fracking isn’t wasting very much water at all.

“Fracking creates toxins that seep into the soil.”

That’s odd when you consider that 99% of the fluid pumped into the fracking wells is water. The compounds added to the water are sand and common household chemicals. There is plenty of data that has broken down the chemical components of the fluids found around fracking site. Despite the hype, none of these compounds have proven to be an environmental concern.

“Fracking creates earthquakes.”

According to representatives from the US Geological Survey that simply isn’t true. On the other hand, wastewater disposal wells have been directly linked to causing mild earthquakes. Is there a cry for those wells to be shut down? Actually, that issue can be resolved by taking those wells out of earthquake zones and reducing the amount of water injected into them.

Now if someone brings up the horrors of fracking, you’ll be ready to set them straight.

“Access To Market” Oil Sands Infographic

“Access To Market” Oil Sands Infographic

“A recent report by Canaccord Genuity suggests that the Keystone XL Pipeline, once thought to make or break getting Alberta oil to new and expanded markets, may no longer be necessary” 

This sentence alone is enough to grab anyone’s attention. Amid all the ongoing questions and concerns on both sides of the border around Keystone, Oilweek takes a moment to look at the entirety of the Oil Sands industry. Breaking down various industry and government stats, and laid out in an eye-pleasing infographic, this post by Oilweek is worth the read.

A great refresher or introduction for those new to the Oil Sands, the post concisely summarizes the  Oil Sands opportunity and the growing need for more pipeline & rail, while still noting possible concerns such routes raise.

To view the Oil Sands Infographic “Access to Markets”, click here.

Crude Discovery Turning Point for Offshore Industry

crude discovery Crude Discovery Turning Point for Offshore Industry

The next 12 months could reveal the long-range future of Canada’s offshore industry” 

This headline of a recent article published on Oilweek.com piqued our interested this weekend. With at least two recent finds of significant hydrocarbon in Newfoundland and Labrador waters, and the promise of more on Nova Scotia’s shores, there has been a lot of talk around the future of Canada’s Petroleum industry.

With these recent discoveries, industry leaders and professionals have garnered guesses that the estimates of crude to be found could be even higher than originally thought. The industry is certainly buzzing with the news of the recent crude discovery and many are weighing in on the subject.

To read more on Shell Canada’s geophysical operations and other professional’s opinion on the matter of Canada’s offshore industry future, read the entire article at Oilweek.


New Arctic Spill Regulations Coming in 2014

arctic spill regulationsNew Arctic Spill Regulations Coming in 2014   

The Arctic is an area which can be covered in ice for up to nine months out of the year; plus, geographical conditions cause the region to be dark for three of these months. Even in the summer, there are rough conditions such as high winds, freezing temperatures, fog, and floating ice. All of these contributing factors equal a setting that would be extremely challenging to navigate and operate within, if a major oil spill were to happen.

Thankfully, an incident like the Deepwater Horizon, which took place in the Gulf of Mexico, hasn’t happened in the Arctic. A spill even a fraction of the size of that disaster would have a devastating impact on the Arctic’s marine ecosystem. With the Arctic becoming a valuable region for oil exploration, while having a fragile ecosystem, it is of high importance that rules are set and enforced.

A new set of Arctic Spill Regulations, created by the US Congress, regarding procedures for handling Arctic oil spills is scheduled to be implemented next year. In light of this, a U.S. based, non-governmental organization, the Pew Charitable Trust, has put together a report they hope will serve as a guide for shaping the regulation updates. The suggested guidelines cover a wide range of topics, from the need to develop safer rules for hydrocarbon development in the Arctic Ocean, to emerging technology standards for staging recovery equipment.

The Pew Charitable Trust provides resources to government agencies to help them develop legislation in relation to environmental issues. Their report, Arctic Standards: Recommendations on Oil Spill Prevention, Response and Safety, recognizes the need for oil extraction, but highlights their desire to help facilitate a balance between this type of energy development and the need to protect the environment.

The following are among the suggested guidelines in the Pew report:

  • All vessels, drilling rigs and other support facilities should be designed and built to stand up against the maximum level of ice forces and sea conditions;
  • Any equipment that would be required to contain a spill should be staged in Alaska for easy deployment. This includes machinery such as relief rigs and well-control containment systems;
  • The spill response equipment needs to be strong enough to quickly remove any amount of oil that pollutes ice floats or has become trapped under the ice;
  • Redundant systems should be part of the staged containment equipment. This would pertain to backups of blowout preventers, double-walled pipelines, and double-bottom tanks. Too often, the hard weather conditions would prevent these types of machinery from reaching the region, in the event of a spill.
  • All offshore drilling in the Arctic should be restricted to times when the response system can be operated. In other words, during the most severe times of year, there should be no drilling if spill containment cannot be achieved.

The new regulations for oil and gas exploration in the U.S. Arctic Ocean will be brought up for review in the early part of 2014. As the rules are subjected to legislative scrutiny, undoubtedly, this will generate a fair amount of debate; especially since whatever is decided in the U.S. will have an impact on all other countries.

Tips for Scoring an Entry-Level, Oil Industry Job

oil industry jobTips for Scoring an Entry-Level, Oil Industry Job   

Before you consider searching for an entry-level, oil rig job, you need to be aware of three vital requirements. You’re going to need a clean driving record, you’ll have to be drug free, and you’ll need to pass a company physical. If you meet these first level criteria, you’re on the right track to pursuing what could become a very lucrative career.

How can you get from the desire of wanting an oil industry job to actually landing a job? Consider these factors:

No Higher Education Required

Working on an oil rig is physically challenging, but you certainly don’t need a college degree to succeed in this type of work. This is a fact that the energy companies looking for workers understand. Often, these companies don’t even have to advertise for job openings as they have a steady stream of willing applicants; which is why they often hire locally. You could submit your resume at any time.  Take any help you can get, if you have a friend already working on a rig, ask them for a recommendation; this could further your chances over that of your competition.

Get a Certification

Although you don’t need a college degree, obtaining certification in certain heavy machinery operations is a good way to prepare yourself for an entry-level position. For instance, you can become certified in the proper way to deliver pipes and pumps and how to run a vac or pressure truck.

Third-Party Employment Agencies

Most of the entry-level jobs on oil rigs are filled by third-party staffing agencies. In other words, you don’t need to visit Shell Oil to get a gig. The big companies aren’t going to bother themselves with hiring the support staff.

Go Where the Jobs Are

As an electrician or plumber, you can pretty much work anywhere. However, when it comes to working on an oil rig, you’ll most likely need to relocate to where the work is happening, even if this is temporary. A little online research can point you in the right direction of the oil rig “hot spots.” Essentially, you need to decide where you want to work. Alberta? Newfoundland? The Gulf of Mexico?

Search the Industry Job Sites

You can start your search at the following online classified job sites:

  • OilandGasJobSearch.com
  • OilCareers.com
  • Rigzone.com
  • CareersinOilandGas.com

Before you pack your bags, searching sites like these can help you narrow down potential cities with available work. You might want to consider an exploratory trip to the work area to make sure it’s a good fit for you. If you apply for a job while visiting, you should be prepared to start right away. Asking for a couple of weeks to “get your stuff together” won’t fly with your potential employer.

Once you’ve landed on a specific city, start searching the area’s local newspapers and enquiring at nearby temp agencies in order to find location specific job opportunities. If you’re lucky, narrowing in on these postings may even present you with an opportunity for the specific site you are hoping to get work at.

Try to find the human resources representative for each company where you’re applying for work. Don’t just send in your resume without a follow up.

If all goes according to plan, your entry-level job won’t be entry-level for very long. You’ll find that most competent workers are promoted within the company. The best way to get promoted is through doing good work and professional networking with your colleagues, peers and managers.

Good luck.


Surviving the Holidays On an Oil Rig

holidays on an oil rigWe all know that the holidays are a time to spend with family and friends. However, if you’re contracted to work on an offshore oil rig during this time of year, it could mean spending them far from your loved ones. As challenging as this may be, there are ways to ease the holiday blues. Consider these helpful tips for keeping up your cheer while spending your holidays on an oil rig:

  • Be Straight with Your Family: Obviously, you’re going to know if you can’t make it home for the holidays. Share your schedule with your family as soon as it becomes available; this will give them the chance to accept the situation. It will also let them know you’ll be thinking of them no matter how far away you’re working. Of course, if a last minute opportunity comes your way, then the surprise trip home will be all the more sweeter.
  • Stay in Touch: Just because you can’t physically be there for the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. During the holidays, keep the texts flowing. Be sure to share plenty of pictures of your life on the rig. If you have the opportunity, schedule a little face time with a video chat. Even on an oil rig, there will be plenty of technology to let you connect with your family over the holidays; just make sure you work out your time zone issues in advance.
  • Plan for a Second Christmas: There will come a time when you’ll be off the rig and back with your family, so plan for a second Christmas. In many ways, a Christmas in March could be even more fun. You’re sure to have plenty of laughs as you come up with a spring version of a Christmas tree! If possible, it might make sense to squeeze in an early Christmas before you leave for your time on the rig. Either way, locking down a date for an alternative holiday will lessen the sting of you being away, especially if you have younger children.
  • Mail a Letter: We live in the age of instant communication, but when was the last time you sent an actual handwritten letter? Sending a greeting card or letter from your job posting will deliver a personal message that only you can craft. There is something very special about holding a letter or card sent from a loved one; these are the mementoes that will matter years from now. Can you imagine looking for an email in ten years?
  • Make it Count: Just because you’re be away from your family doesn’t mean you’re going to be alone. There will be plenty of co-workers who are in the exact same situation. Why not put together your own celebration with your rig mates? This will be the time to break out the family photos and that box of home baked cookies that arrived in the mail. At the end of the day, you’ll feel a lot better if you’ve had the chance to share some holiday cheer.

Happy holidays!

Facing the Winter on Oil Rigs

winter on oil rigsFacing the Winter on Oil Rigs

Good pay and solid benefits are the enticing attributes of working on an oil rig. To reap the financial rewards of working on a rig, workers face extreme challenges both physically and mentally. If the intense and grueling type of work was not enough, work conditions on oil rigs can be very dangerous, especially during the winter months.

A typical schedule would consist of 12 hour shifts for up to two weeks at a time and since oil rigs operate around the clock, this means long hours, day or night. As only the most extreme conditions would be cause for shut down of the rigs, workers are subject to harsh climates during their long, winter shifts.

Working in the Extreme Cold

Two weather related, medical conditions you need to be aware of when working in extremely cold temperatures are frostbite and hypothermia. Education on these conditions is very important as in extreme cases, they can be fatal.

With hypothermia, your temperature drops faster than your body can generate heat, resulting in a complete breakdown of your body’s systems. Not wearing the right type of protective clothing can contribute to hypothermia, however, if you are tired, already suffering from an ailment such as a cold or the flu, or haven’t eaten a well-balanced meal, you may also be susceptible.

The initials signs of hypothermia can include fatigue, muscle cramps, shivering and feelings of intense cold. As it persists, slurred speech, a slowed heart rate, lack of coordination and the inability to focus on tasks may also become indicators of worsening hypothermia. Recognizing these symptoms for yourself is hard enough, so workers in conditions where hypothermia is a potential risk need to be diligent about not only themselves, but also their coworkers. If you feel you see the beginning signs of hypothermia in yourself or others, seek medical attention right away.

The other condition workers are susceptible to in the cold weather is frostbite. Unlike hypothermia’s more internal affects, frostbite is identifiable from external markings. Frostbite attacks the outer layers of skin, with the first sign being a whitening of the flesh. After warming up, the skin may become red in color, like a sunburn and the affect area may be a source of swelling, itching, and pain. Here are some preventive measures to take against hypothermia and frostbite:

  • Wear layers. It’s not clothes that keep you warm, but the fact that they lock in the warmth of your body. The more layers between you and falling temperatures, the better.
  • Always cover your head and neck. These areas are where most of your body heat will escape.
  • Choose wool or synthetic fabrics. Clothing of these types of fabric are the best to keep you warm, while cotton which “breathes” should be avoided since you don’t want to release your body warmth.
  • Try to keep moving at all times.
  • Avoid directly touching any metal surface.

You’re body needs plenty of nutrients and fluids for fuel, so if you’re thinking about going on a diet, the time to start is not while working on an oil rig in the winter. Although fluid intake is important, this should not include alcohol. Alcohol tends to thin out the blood vessels which does not mix well with cold weather.

The Living Conditions

When working on an oil rig, there are three options for accommodations; commuting, staying at a camp, or living on an offshore rig.

If commuting to the jobsite from a nearby home, ensure you have a dependable mode of transportation. A truck that won’t start or tires that can’t handle the cold weather conditions won’t be tolerated. If you don’t show up, someone else will gladly work to earn the high pay.

Living at a jobsite camp and living on an off shore rig are very similar. You will be provided with a place to sleep, meals and basic amenities; don’t expect anything fancy or exciting, but do prepare for tight quarters. Make sure to pack or download plenty of reading materials or other activities to keep you occupied on your off hours as Wi-Fi should be available, but may not be dependable. However, with the long and tiring days, most down time will consist of sleep.

Due to the sheer weight of the necessary equipment, along with climate changes that ensure safe ground conditions, the window of opportunity for landlocked oil rigs, makes obtaining work at these sites a seasonal opportunity. That’s not to say you won’t find work during the off season but you’ll have to be diligent and flexible to keep up your employment.

B.C.Premier and Alberta Premier Reach Deal on Pipelines

Pipelines Deal: B.C. Premier Clark, Alberta Premier Redford reach deal on pipelines

B.C. Premier Christy Clark and her Alberta counterpart Alison Redford have reached a broad framework for an agreement to satisfy B.C.’s five conditions for supporting oil pipeline development in the province.

Ms. Clark said there are various “possibilities” for B.C. getting its “fair share” of revenues from projects that the working group will explore.

“There are lots of different forms of economic benefits,” she said. “We don’t know what form that economic benefit for British Columbia could take a whole number of different forms. That’s why we have that working group coming together to talk about how that economic benefit will look.”

To read more on the Alberta and BC Pipelines deal, view the complete article: http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/clark-redford-reach-deal-on-pipelines/article15260483/?service=mobile