PIPELINE NEWS Saskatchewanâ€™s Petroleum Monthly
Canada Post Publication No. 40069240
Volume 4 Issue 7
A20 - Exclusive Look At Boundary Dam 3 CCS
B1 - LXL Consulting Manages Seismic Projects
C1 - Grit Moves Its Manufacturing
C27 - Need a Career?
Pilot Kris Newton of Mustang Helicopters positions his chopper above a truck to pick up bags of seismic cables near Estevan. Photo by Brian Zinchuk
Rig Technician Apprenticeship Program 2012 training dates:
Motorhand (Level 1)
March 12 to 30
Derrickhand (Level 2)
April 2 to 20
Driller (Level 3)
April 23 to May 11
To register in the Rig Technician Apprenticeship program, please contact the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade CertiďŹ cation Commission toll-free at 1-877-363-0536.
Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute, Estevan Complete course descriptions are available at www.southeastcollege.org or www.saskapprenticeship.ca
PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Sask. drilling rig count Ă€at, but high According to Nickleâ€™s Rig Locator (www.riglocator.ca), Saskatchewanâ€™s drilling rig count has largely remained ďŹ‚at for the much of November, ďŹ‚oating in the 98 to 104 rig range. The total rig count has been near 139. As of Nov. 21, there were 98 active drilling rigs and 41 down rigs, making up a 71 per cent utilization rate. Only Manitoba has done better for its utilization rate, with typically only one rig of its 22 to 24 rigs down at any given time. On Nov. 21, there were 23 active rigs and one down rig, for a 96 per cent utilization rate. On that same date, Alberta had 345 of 559 rigs active, for a utilization rate of 62 per cent, while British Columbia saw 49 of 75 rigs drilling, for a utilization rate of 65 per cent. Early November of 2011 saw approximately 30 more active drilling rigs than either 2010 or 2009. Saskatchewanâ€™s overall active drilling rig numbers throughout 2011 have been substantially higher than 2009 and 2010 numbers except for the spring time and early summer, due to ďŹ‚ooding.
Alberta Star agrees to another Landrose well Alberta Star Development Corp. has agreed to participate in drilling and completing one (0.5 net) well located on the companyâ€™s Landrose property located in west central Saskatchewan. The company holds a 50 per cent net interest in the lands. The costs to drill, complete and equip the well are estimated to be $420,000. The company intends to fund its 50 per cent interest by contributing all of its interest (50 per cent net interest) in certain oilďŹ eld equipment with a deemed value of $60,000 to equip the well and $150,000 cash. Western Plains Petroleum is operator and the spud date for the well was expected to be on or about Nov. 20, subject to rig availability and regulatory approvals. Briefs courtesy Nickleâ€™s Daily Oil Bulletin
Enbridge Inc. is jumping into the void left by the delay of U.S. approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The competing company plans to buy 50 per cent ownership in the existing Seaway pipeline to reverse a 150,000 barrel a day pipeline from Cushing Okla. to Texas as early as the second quarter of 2012 with expansion to 400,000 bpd by 2013. Pictured are Enbridge storage facilities in Hardisty. File photo
Keystone delay hits TransCanada, helps Enbridge Â„ By GeoďŹ€ Lee Pipeline News Calgary, Alta. â€“ The economic vibrations from the U.S. State Departmentâ€™s call to delay its decision on the fate of TransCanadaâ€™s Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 presidential election are being felt by contractors, suppliers and communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan. New legislation proposed by Nebraska to reroute the line to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills area is backed by TransCanada, but does little to cheer potential benefactors along the Canadian leg of the line from Hardisty, Alberta to Monchy, Saskatchewan. â€œHonestly, everything thatâ€™s happened over the last week â€“ we havenâ€™t had all those discussions,â€? said Keystone media spokesperson Shawn Howard on Nov. 15, one day after the reroute plan was released. â€œObviously some of our senior leadership is testifying at hearings and things like that. They are trying to ďŹ gure out what all these recent developments are going to have â€“ what kind of an impact it will have. â€œUltimately, a delay does not help contractors. I know that even some suppliers who will be providing equipment and some of the manufacturing are very concerned,â€? said Howard. â€œTheyâ€™ve staďŹ€ed up and were ready to go based on the timeline for approval that was expected.
â€œSo they are obviously concerned about what that impact will have on their business and their workers and whether they will have to lay people oďŹ€.â€? Approval of the Keystone XL was delayed by the State Departmentâ€™s announcement on Nov. 10 that further assessment of alternative routes in Nebraska was needed to determine if the pipeline is in the U.S. national interest. The Canadian part of the pipeline was approved by the National Energy Board in 2009, with TransCanada expecting U.S. approval of the project this year with construction starting as early as January 2012 on both sides of the border. Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently called the approval of the project a â€œno-brainerâ€? due to the expected economic beneďŹ ts for Canadians and Americans. The proposed $7-billion, 2,763-kilometre pipeline, capable of pumping up to 830,000 barrels a day of crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast, is expected to generate 20,000 jobs for American workers alone. Construction of the pipeline in Nebraska would require ďŹ ve or six new pump stations and more than 442 km of new pipelines. It would generate more than $150 million in property taxes to county and other local governments in that state during the operating life of the line and employ over 2,200 construction workers. â€œWe just donâ€™t know what the impact will be,â€? said Howard about the delay. É¸ Page A6
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Tight diesel supply in patch By Brian Zinchuk Pipeline News Estevan – Ever get a little anxious watching the fuel gauge on your truck? Southeast Saskatchewan’s oilpatch knows that feeling all too well. By mid-November, a widespread shortage of diesel had everyone closely watching their consumption, and trucks were being limited to 300 litres a day. The situation is dripping with irony, as the industry which supplies the fuel was nearly running dry. Truckers hauling tens of thousands of litres of crude oil could only get the 300 litre ration. Raymond Girard, owner of Girard Bulk Services Ltd. in Estevan, explained the history behind the shortage. First Shell’s Scottford reﬁnery had a planned shutdown. Then there was a ﬁre at the Coop Reﬁnery in Regina on Oct. 6. Finally a particular feedstock for the PetroCanada reﬁnery in Edmonton ended up in short supply. All this, combined with a robust economy and harvest, and tanks are dry. The result has been a scramble to keep clients operating, but they have been able to hold their heads above water. Indeed, many of the service companies Pipeline News talked with spoke very highly
of Girard’s eﬀorts to keep them going. “We went through a period where we knew it was going to be very tough,” Girard said. “Twenty ﬁve per cent (of daily fuel needs) would come in,” he said. There was some relief in sight as of Nov. 15. They started to get 100 per cent, then 125 per cent of their requirements, letting them get back to up to at least one or two days stock. “It’s coming back,” he said that day. “My staﬀ are unbelievable. We made it work,” Girard said. Asked about the diesel shortage, Red Dog Drilling president Wayne Zandee said, “It’s real, that’s for sure.” “We’re getting enough fuel to ﬁnish current holes, but we don’t know how far you get before a shortage stops you. “If you don’t have fuel, you don’t have a choice. You plan ahead to know where the casing point is,” he said. They have been checking continuously to see if they will have enough fuel to make it to the next stage in the well – surface casing, intermediate casing and completion. ɸ Page A7
Individual units have been limited to 300 litres per day as of mid-November due to a diesel shortage. Photo by Brian Zinchuk
Cenovus boosts 2011 spending Cenovus Energy Inc. is allocating more capital than expected to its oilsands business, mainly to accelerate expansion at Foster Creek and Christina Lake, as well as on conventional oil operations this year, bringing total expenditures for 2011 to between $2.6 billion and $2.7 billion. Previous plans were to spend $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion. In the Bakken and Shaunavon areas, the company will install centralized batteries to reduce the impact of spring breakup and lower overall trucking and transportation costs. In November it was to put four additional rig crews to work in southern Alberta and the rigs will then move up to northern Alberta's oilsands to drill stratigraphic wells. The level loading of work allows cost eﬃciencies and secures supply of rigs and crews, said John Brannan, chief operating oﬃcer, during an Oct. 27 third-quarter conference call. The company drilled 40 wells in the Bakken and Lower Shaunavon plays during the third quarter and expects to drill about 30 more wells during the fourth quarter in its Saskatchewan tight oil plays, said Brannan.
Atikwa completes three wells in MB Atikwa Resources Inc. reports that it has completed the drilling and casing of three new horizontal wells targeting Spearﬁsh light oil in the Pierson area of Manitoba. The recently completed 13-23, 6-24 and 1530 wells were part of a three-well program that the company drilled throughout October and early November. Good hydrocarbon shows were encountered throughout the drilling of all three wellbores, the company said. The wells were scheduled to be fractured and put on production before the end of November. The previous wells in the program continue to show strong inﬂow characteristics, with the recently fractured 14-13 well hitting a high of 128 bpd over the last 30 days. The company is in the process of licensing two additional wells in the area, which it intends to drill before the end of the year. With the addition of those two wells the company will have drilled a total of eight (5.3 net) Spearﬁsh wells in the area. Briefs courtesy Nickle’s Daily Oil Bulletin
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Pipeline News Publisher: Brant Kersey - Estevan Ph: 1.306.634.2654 Fax: 1.306.634.3934
Mission Statement: Pipeline News’ mission is to illuminate importance of Saskatchewan oil as an integral part of the province’s sense of community and to show the general public the strength and character of the industry’s people.
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Published monthly by the Prairie Newspaper Group, a division of Glacier Ventures International Corporation, Central Oﬃce, Estevan, Saskatchewan. Advertising rates are available upon request and are subject to change without notice. Conditions of editorial and advertising content: Pipeline News attempts to be accurate, however, no guarantee is given or implied. Pipeline News reserves the right to revise or reject any or all editorial and advertising content as the newspapers’ principles see ﬁt. Pipeline News will not be responsible for more than one incorrect insertion of an advertisement, and is not responsible for errors in advertisements except for the space occupied by such errors. Pipeline News will not be responsible for manuscripts, photographs, negatives and other material that may be submitted for possible publication. All of Pipeline News content is protected by Canadian Copyright laws. Reviews and similar mention of material in this newspaper is granted on the provision that Pipeline News receives credit. Otherwise, any reproduction without permission of the publisher is prohibited. Advertisers purchase space and circulation only. Rights to the advertisement produced by Pipeline News, including artwork, typography, and photos, etc., remain property of this newspaper. Advertisements or parts thereof may be not reproduced or assigned without the consent of the publisher. The Glacier group of companies collects personal information from our customers in the normal course of business transactions. We use that information to provide you with our products and services you request. On occasion we may contact you for purposes of research, surveys and other such matters. To provide you with better service we may share your information with our sister companies and also outside, selected third parties who perform work for us as suppliers, agents, service providers and information gatherers.
Editorial Could we have a decade of stability? On Nov. 7, Saskatchewan’s people voted resoundingly for the Brad Wall Saskatchewan Party government. The Saskatchewan Party took, by far, the largest percentage of votes for one party in Saskatchewan history. Just shy of two out of three voters cast ballots for the Sask. Party. What does this mean for the oilpatch? In one word, stability. Ever since he was elected in 2007, Wall has preached stability, stability, stability. At the Weyburn Oil Show, he said they were not going to “jack around” with royalties. Every speech both he and Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd gave over the last four years regarding energy made clear that royalties were not going to be messed with. The election focused on potash royalties, but the oilpatch’s collective unease about any royalty discussion left an underlying concern of “Is oil next?” NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter said no, but earlier in the year, he had also made allusions to the government getting back into the gas business via a Crown corporation. Anyone in the oilpatch who as a long memory will recall SaskOil and its impact. Talk to an old-timer about the fun the oilpatch had in the 1970s, and they will still curse. There’s one thing the resource sector likes: stability. If they are going to spend $2.7 million drilling and completing a Bakken well, they want to know that
their economic formula is not going to be messed with. If they are going to be drilling 50 of these wells, that becomes even more pertinent. It makes you a lot more conﬁdent in your investments when you can bank on the playing ﬁeld not being changed. Liberal leader Ryan Bater said during the campaign that royalties should at least be looked at, if not changed. As an academic argument, that may be sound. But on a realistic basis, whenever something is “looked at,” there is an expectation of some sort of change. We saw that in Alberta, and look at what happened. The result was not pretty for Alberta, and strengthened the argument to leave well enough alone here in Saskatchewan. We seem to have set up a royalties system that is working, quite well at least for oil, so rocking the boat becomes a scary proposition. For natural gas? With gas prices at $2.93 US per million btu at Monchy on Nov. 17, don’t expect any sort of royalty change to help or hinder. Natural gas development in Saskatchewan is going to remain ﬂatlined for the foreseeable future. By the end of this term, the current royalty regime, originally brought in by the Calvert New Democrat administration, will be a decade old. In some minds, that may be outdated. But for others, it may have been part of the recipe for Saskatchewan’s greatest decade in generations.
PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Opinion A modest Keystone XL proposal From the top of the pile Brian Zinchuk
Another day, another Keystone XL pipeline delay. This time, it’s for a year. In early November, Nebraska’s legislature was debating moving the line on the basis of esthetics (thin soup, methinks), while the Globe and Mail pointed out, “The oﬃce of the U.S. Inspector General has launched a ‘special review’ of the Keystone XL permitting process, following conﬂict allegations brought forward by several U.S. senators.” This would soon be followed by a decision to put oﬀ the ﬁnal decision for a year. After much muttering under my breath, I realized the best way to tackle this is to oﬀer “a modest proposal,” a la Jonathan Swift. In a 1729 satire, Swift suggested the Irish should eat their own children. My modest proposal doesn’t include cannibalism, at least at ﬁrst. It could come to that. Here it is: If the Americans think the world would end if Canadian oilsands oil ﬂows through the Keystone XL pipeline, then surely it will end if oil continues to ﬂow through the original Keystone pipeline, or the Enbridge mainlines. Don’t forget Alliance, or any other international pipelines. Let’s include TransCanada’s natural gas mainlines for
good measure, since they are such an evil company. Yes sir, let’s go to the borders and shut oﬀ ALL of our pipelines. Then those protesters should be very happy indeed. When the price at the gas pump shoots to $10 a gallon, then $15, maybe even $20 in Chicago, those protesters will get exactly what they want. They might have a hard time screaming out their chants and waving their signs in January, since cutting oﬀ natural gas to the Midwest will essentially cause them to be freezing in the dark, teeth chattering. Perhaps they could get more oil from those lovely Saudis, whose women aren’t allowed to drive, vote, or even show themselves in public. For when they’re not funding madrassas in Afghanistan with their newfound wealth, they may be training in American ﬂight schools to ﬂy airliners. As oil breaches $200 a barrel in the Lower 48 and is shooting for $250 with a bullet, there will be no complaint about a price diﬀerential between WTI and Brent oil. Just because much of the U.S. has been getting their oil at a $20 discount compared to Brent oil prices, it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. There will be no glut of oil at Cushing without Canadian oil in the mix. Indeed, North Dakota should be happiest of all, because instead of thousands of people moving there to work in the oilﬁelds, it will be millions. The U.S. will have to suck the Bakken dry to make up for just a small portion of lost Canadian production. However, many of those millions will lose a lot of weight getting to Williston, because they had to walk. They couldn’t aﬀord the gasoline to drive to North Dakota, even if there was gas to be bought.
Louisiana will be booming too, because nearly every supertanker in the world will be turning to the Gulf Coast. What captain would take oil to England for $147 a barrel, when they could get $200 from an American buyer? They’re going to have to build dozens of terminals and pipelines to make up for the lack of Canadian production. Oh no, more pipelines. Ah well, they’ll get over it. Those Nebraskan farmers won’t have to worry about a possible pipeline spill on their farmland and apparently the only aquifer in the world a pipeline can’t be built across. They won’t be able to put fuel in their tractors anyhow. The protesters should be thrilled that a lack of corn production leads to lower carbohydrate diets for all Americans. They might get so cold and hungry in Chicago, that cannibalism thing might not be far oﬀ. The U.S. Army, having just returned from Iraq, would be locking-and-loading again. The 101st Airborne would be dropping on Fort McMurray, while other units would take Edmonton’s reﬁnery row, the pipeline terminal and tank farm at Hardisty, Alberta, and every pumping station from there to Gretna, Manitoba. Regina, with its reﬁnery and huge tank farms, sits near several major Western Canada mainline pipeline corridors, so maybe the 1st Cavalry Division could camp out at Mosaic Stadium. Think they’d even become Rider fans? At least this time when occupying a foreign land in order to control its oil and gas supplies, American soldiers will be able to speak the language. Everywhere except Quebec, that is. Brian Zinchuk is editor of Pipeline News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shouldn’t a sore thumb be newsworthy? When it comes to reporting oil and gas stories, the mainstream media never seems to be able to strike a balance between the good, the bad and ugly. In the case of the proposed TransCanada Corporation Keystone XL pipeline to run from Hardisty, Alberta to Oklahoma then south to the Texas Gulf Coast, the bulk of reporting has focused on covering protesters packaged in the simplistic “dirty oil from the tarsands” theme. Is there such a thing as clean oil given the nature of the product or how it produced, shipped and processed? Has there ever been a clean oil project that doesn’t generate carbon emissions? Calling oil from Alberta’s oilsands dirty is simply calling a spade a spade, but it’s misguided too. Why are there no protests by Americans against the dirtier U.S. reﬁneries in the Gulf Coast that will beneﬁt from the oil the pipeline will carry? What is also missing from the media coverage is any awareness the line will carry a lot of U.S. oil from states like Montana and from North and South Dakota. The proposed Keystone XL has convinced some producers like Imperial Oil to shelve plans for a reﬁnery for its Kearl project to the beneﬁt of the oilsands and the air we breathe. That job can now take place in the dirty U.S.
Lee Side of Lloyd Geoff Lee
Gulf Coast! Isn’t that Gulf Coast the same place where one of the world’s worst oil disaster occurred, fouling every beach for hundreds of miles? That dirty oil sure as heck didn’t come from Alberta. I hope no one “occupies” my space by venting sarcasm into the atmosphere. Locally, the mainstream media in Western Canada mostly missed acknowledging the role the oil and gas industry played in the October collapse of the Canadian Paciﬁc overpass on Highway 16 east of Lloydminster. It seemed the mayor of Lloydminster was the only oﬃcial to proactively recognize and praise some industry players such as MCR Crane & Rigging in his oﬃcial blog and general message of thanks for quick work to reopen the highway.
Most of the mainstream reports featured quotes from the usual emergency response oﬃcials – with none of those oﬃcials speaking on behalf of the oil and gas industry that did most of the grunt work. Where did the cranes came from and how and why did they get there? Some of that information originated from the mayor’s blog that noted one of the cranes happened to be at the ADM canola processing plant where managers cleared the crane to respond to the emergency. Why do so many news organizations fail to make the connection between the emergency and the key responders – in this case MCR and Mammoet – both Edmonton-based crane companies? The same thing happened in 2010 when just about every available oil and gas business in Kindersley rushed to the scene of a January ﬁre that burned the arena to the ground. There were all kinds of photos of oilﬁeld equipment and some quotes from oilﬁeld oﬃcials at the scene, but not much coverage of why they got involved and the key role they play in emergency planning. Maybe the good news role the oil and gas companies play in creating jobs and responding to local emergencies is too obvious. But when it stands out like a sore thumb, isn’t that news?
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Goal is to see pipeline built
ɺ Page A2 “What’s happening right now in Nebraska – there’s a new process under way and we are still trying to ﬁgure out how it’s all going to come together. “We’ve got companies making our pump stations and manufacturing pipe. You don’t go and build all this stuﬀ and then stockpile it because you would have a lot of money just sitting around just waiting to be put into use with the equipment you buy. “This has a major impact way beyond TransCanada, and the impact of the delay is obviously felt in Canada and in the United States as well,” said Howard. “It’s not just for suppliers but it is for people in communities along the proposed route, and we do feel bad for them because some of them were counting on the additional tax revenues coming in sooner. “Local businesses were looking to host workers in the community where they shopped, ate or slept.” The project has faced stiﬀ opposition from environmental groups, unions, and politicians concerned about the carbon footprint of Alberta’s so-called dirty oil sourced from the oilsands area and about sensitive areas the pipeline would cross. “It’s really unfortunate that professional activists used a lot of fear and misinformation and hurt a lot of communities along the way because of these delays that they have created,” said Howard. TransCanada oﬃcials believe the Keystone XL is the best option for American and Canadian producers to get their oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast where competitive sharks are quickly feeding on news of the delay. Enbridge Inc. unveiled plans on Nov. 16 to buy a 50 per cent stake in the
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Seaway crude pipeline that pumps up to 150,000 barrels of crude a day from Texas to a reﬁnery hub in Cushing, Okla. where the mainline Keystone pipeline ends. Enbridge will spend $1.5 billion (U.S.) to purchase a half interest in the line and work with Enterprise Products Partners LP that owns and operates the other half the system to reverse the ﬂow of oil from Cushing to Texas as early as the second quarter of 2012. The capacity of the Seaway pipeline could be expanded to 400,000 barrels a day by 2013. The increasing ﬂow of Canadian crude oil by pipelines to the U.S. Midwest reﬁning market has been augmented by growing production from the Bakken play in North Dakota. “That’s why the market approached TransCanada to build Keystone to move crude out of here to places where it’s needed which are the reﬁneries in the Midwest and on the U.S. Gulf Coast,” said Howard. The delay in the approval of the Keystone has stoked interest in the proposed Enbridge Gateway pipeline from northern Alberta to Prince Rupert to tap into the Asian market, but Howard says TransCanada doesn’t see that pipeline as a competitive threat. “It’s diﬀerent markets for a similar product, but there’s diﬀerent destinations for them,” he said. “Even if they received an approval quickly, it’s still going to take years to actually have that built and ensure that all the agreements with First Nations and others are in place.” Howard says TransCanada’s commitment to work with Nebraska to reroute the Keystone XL as soon as possible is cause for renewed optimism. “It provides a path forward. We weren’t able to move the pipeline route until the Department of State said they wanted a new route that avoided the Sandhills,” he said. “So it’s very focused in terms of where the pipeline will be rerouted from.” The next step will be an environmental assessment conducted by Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality to deﬁne the best alternative route for the pipeline that address concerns regarding the Sandhills region. “We want to have this new route selected as quickly as possible, but we want to make sure that it’s a thorough and careful process,” said Howard. “Ultimately, in terms of how long this could take, the timing of decisions is not within our control. All we can control is the information we provide to make sure we get it to them promptly, and let the state and federal agencies do their jobs. “Our goal is to make sure we get this pipeline built, so if this is part of how we get there, we take that in stride and we will continue to work really hard putting a plan together that shows Canadians and Americans this is going to be one of the safest pipelines ever built.” Howard says everyone at TransCanada’s head oﬃce in Calgary is trying to take it one step at a time given the ﬂuid nature of the project and the rapid pace of breaking news. “I am sure there is ﬁne print somewhere – on a daily basis that says ‘subject to change,’” he joked. “There is more to come.”
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Getting by, but just barely, for many local operators ɺ Page A3 For a 20-day well in the winter, it can take up to 60,000 or even 70,000 litres of diesel for that one drilling rig. As of Nov. 16, there were 102 drilling rigs operating in Saskatchewan. Another driller, Weyburn-based Panther Drilling, had to shut down one of its three rigs for nine hours for fear of running out before the fuel truck got there in the morning. Panther general manager Jim Kopec said two rigs had good supply as of Nov. 15, but the third, not so much. “We didn’t want to get caught in the hole,” he said. “This was more of a caution. “We’re watching our fuel supply and running boilers as necessary.” As for consumption, he said, “We’re probably anywhere from 2,500 to 3,500 litres per day per rig. If you were doing a lot of tripping, with the boiler, it can be as high as 4,500 litres per day.” Panther is supplied by Weyburn-based Mazenc Fuels and Girard Bulk Services. He spoke highly of both, saying, “They’ve stood with their customers.” Ralph French, president of R French Transport of Forget, noted they have had to turn down jobs due to the shortage. He said, “We are getting it from where we can. We deal with two fuel suppliers, so get can get 300 litres each. “So far, we’ve managed through it.” The company draws from Co-op and Girard Bulk. Girard has been delivering fuel for their frac heaters. “He’s keeping me as supplied as much as he possibly can,” French said of Girard. When asked if they’ve had problems with the shortage, Dion Reafhor, dispatcher with Spearing Service LP in Oxbow, said, “Not really. We’ve been ﬁne.” For their shorter haul runs, 300 litres is suﬃcient. Longer hauls into the U.S. fuel up south of the border. Weyburn’s Jerry Mainil Ltd. runs a lot of thirsty heavy equipment and trucks. However, they were keeping up. Dennis Mainil, said “So far we’re running business as usual. It shouldn’t be a problem, I hope.” Carson Energy Services, a division of Flint Energy Services, has noticed the shortage. Glen Miller, assistant general manager for southeast Saskatchewan, said it had aﬀected them in certain circumstances. “We’ve gotten by here. We get it shipped in bulk. We’ve just got to be careful with how we do on the usage.
PEACE, HOPE, LOVE, JOY Wishing you every happiness this holiday season. We truly value your business and look forward to your continued support.
LAND SERVICES LTD.
Brad Lane, President
2010 7th Avenue Regina, Saskatchewan Phone: 306-775-3415 Email: ofÀce@laneland.net www.laneland.net
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Halbrite Service Centre 306-458-2419
Finding diesel fuel can be a challenge, with many cardlocks out of service in November due to the diesel shortage. Photo by Brian Zinchuk
Estevan-based L&C Trucking’s Blair Hunter said of fuel suppliers, “It’s sporadic. At any given time, any one of them can run out. A couple of times, there was no fuel. “We keep a couple of slip tanks just in case. That’s to get someone back, not to go out. “We had a truck in Regina that was coming home from Edmonton. It took two hours to get fuel, waiting in line at the Husky.” Hunter pointed out the shortage was everywhere,
and demand will rise as rigs need fuel to operate boilers. While the common ration has been 300 litres per truck per day, that’s not nearly enough for typical usage. “A typical truck would run 450 litres per day,” Hunter said. “That’s an eight-hour day, ﬁve miles per gallon. That’s an average day, not a heavy day.” When “busy, busy,” a truck on a 14 hour day can consume as much as 700 litres, he said.
An Estevan Geothermal POWER Investment Opportunity A presentation by former resident, Kirsten Marcia (Muir), P.Geo., President and CEO of DEEP Earth Energy Production Corp. Location: The Days Inn When: Sunday, December 11, 11:45 am (lunch will be provided) Monday, December 12, 11:45 am (lunch will be provided) Monday, December 12, 7:30 pm (bar service)
Please RSVP by December 9th to Jolene at (306) 651-5181 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You are invited to an investment presentation for DEEP’s geothermal power project targeted near Estevan. The success of this project will not only be a huge win for the green renewable energy sector, but also put Estevan on the “global map” for being Canada’s ﬁrst major successful geothermal power project. The project will exploit the heat contained in the deep hot aquifers of the Williston Basin through conventional drilling and convert the heat to electricity for sale to SaskPower, using “off-the shelf” turbine technology.
PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Estevan Mayor Gary St. Onge, centre, cuts the ribbon for the new Estevan MRC MidÀeld branch.
MRC Mid¿eld opens Estevan location Estevan – With the addition of a third location in southeast Saskatchewan, MRC Midﬁeld has “triangulated the Bakken,” according to Mel Fitzpatrick, branch manager in Es-
tevan. Along Estevan’s Kensington Avenue, there is a row of oilfield supply stores. MRC Midfield has just joined that group, establishing its new
location at the corner of Kensington and Devonian Street. The grand opening was held Nov. 17. A few hundred people attended, and facility tours were offered.
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A buffalo roast supper was followed by a ribbon cutting. “We’re focusing on the Bakken and many more formation plays in the area. We have locations in the U.S. and here servicing the whole area,” said Fitzpatrick. The addition of Estevan provides three service points in southeast Saskatchewan – with Carlyle and Weyburn as the other two, forming a triangle around the Bakken fairway in this province. In southern Saskatchewan the company also has locations in Swift Current, Gull Lake, Kindersley, and Richmound. Virden, Manitoba is also on the list, as are Tioga, Stanley, Mohall and Belfield in North Dakota and Sidney in
We’re focusing on the Bakken and many more formation plays in the area.
- Mel Fitzpatick Montana. “We’re one of the largest in the world for pipe, valves and fittings in the industry,” he said. “This initiative is an expansion of the bottom hole pump shop that had been here for three years.” “We’re a fully comprehensive supply store,” Fitzpatrick said. “We handle everything that corresponds with supplies, with our core business being pipe,
valves and fittings. Their tubulars includes casing and tubing, as well as line pipe. With their location adjacent to several other supply stores, Fitzpatrick noted, “There is a very respectable group of competitors in town. There’s a spot for MRC Midfield to establish itself with the major expansion of the oilﬁeld in the region. ɸ Page A9
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Tanner Dyck works on a pump in the new MRC MidÀeld pump shop in Estevan, part of the new local branch.
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Triangulating the Bakken Éş Page A8 â€œWe are in a very good spot. Kensington Avenue is always regarded as supply row. We had to be right here. This project has been long in coming. We could have been here sooner, in Estevan, but the location, everything, had to be just right, in order to represent ourselves for years to come. In the pump shop, the focus is on insert and tubing pumps. â€œWe analyze what the failure is. We put forth recommendations as to what to replace or upgrade, and we put it into a pump tracking program and send it to the customer.â€? The company supplies new pumps as well as reconditioning customersâ€™ pumps. â€œWe maintain customer-owned property,â€? Fitzpatrick said. â€œWe needed a fair bit of space for the bottom hole pump shop.â€? The whole building is 13,500 square-feet, sitting on two acres of yard space. Sucker rods, pipe, and secondary containment components are stored within the compound. There is room to expand to the east, if need be. â€œThis will certainly serve our needs for the immediate time frame,â€? he said. As of early November, there were nine people working with MRC MidďŹ eld in Estevan, including inside and outside sales reps, warehouse people and bottom hole pump shop workers. The staďŹ€ â€™s experience is extensive, according to Fitzpatrick. â€œRelationships are everything in this oilďŹ eld. We are very sincere in developing our relationships with the key players in the area,â€? he said. Fitzpatrick spent most of his life in CarnduďŹ€. â€œIâ€™ve been in the oil industry my whole life. My dad had an oilďŹ eld operating business I was in since I was 16. â€œAfter drilling rigs and university, I came back to CarnduďŹ€ and operated oil wells, and provided supervision as a consultant. From there I started up the Carlyle store (for MRC MidďŹ eld) six years ago.â€? Fitzpatrick still manages the Carlyle location, in addition to the new Estevan location.
Branch manager Mel Fitzpatrick, left, and Scott Bigney, inside sales, are part of the crew at MRC MidĂ€eldâ€™s new Estevan location.
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Greetings of the Season Hope itâ€™s merry and bright! Many thanks for your kind patronage this year!
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Palko Environmental has been on a tear of late developing new facilities. This disposal well site south of Oungre is nearing completion, while another nearly identical site is being built south of Stoughton. Now the company will be building a solid waste landÀll near Heward. Photo by Brian Zinchuk
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Palko acquires land¿ll assets Land¿ll near Heward next on the agenda Heward - On Nov. 10 Palko Environmental Ltd. announced the purchase of assets permitting the development of an industrial/ oilﬁeld landﬁll and treatment pad near Heward, Saskatchewan, northwest of Stoughton. The assets include a parcel of land approved for landﬁll development,
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associated regulatory approvals and landﬁll operations infrastructure. Palko purchased the assets from Harthaven Waste Management Ltd. for cash consideration of $1.88 million plus applicable taxes. “The Bakken continues to be one of the largest, most proﬁtable resource plays for our customers,” said Steven Peterson,
Palko’s president. “This purchase continues the strategic expansion of our network into solid waste management, thereby allowing us to provide our customers with superior integrated waste management solutions.” “We’ve been working on that for a little while,” he said. ɸ Page A11
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
The sun may be setting on this facility, but it's rising on Palko's growth plans.
Palko continues to add new waste facilities ɺ Page A10 Currently the landﬁll site is bare land, but the approvals are in place for development. Palko expects to begin construction in the second quarter of 2012 and start operations in the latter half of 2012. “It’s a Class II oilﬁeld landﬁll,” Peterson explained. It will be the third in the region, and a logical extension of Palko’s oilﬁeld waste business. Currently they are hauling solids to another facility after processing at the company’s original Midale facility. “It’s just northwest of Heward, oﬀ Highway 33,” Peterson said. The site is approximately one mile oﬀ the highway.” In proximity to Palko’s ﬁve southeast Saskatchewan facilities, the landﬁll and treatment pad will be strategically positioned as the nearest solid waste
management facility for drilling, production, spills and reclamation within the Bakken ﬁeld. The company is currently completing disposal well facilities at nearby Stoughton and a little further south at Oungre. Both of those facilities are adjacent to the highway. That’s important, according to Peterson, who said “It allows you to accept products out of your normal trading region if it’s on a highway.” In addition Palko announced that it has approved, constructed and started operations of an exclusive waste handling tank farm for a major Canadian oil producer near Weyburn, Saskatchewan. The tank farm allows the producer to streamline its waste management logistics and leverage Palko’s various facilities and expertise in order to increase the
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eﬃciency of its production activities. The announced landﬁll purchase and exclusive waste transfer tank farm demonstrate Palko’s commitment to meeting the evolving needs of customers through a growing network of customized solutions, according to Peterson.
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Jason Berg, with his back to the camera, and Amtarpreet Singh, in the black hardhat, guide a grate to be installed as a walkway at the new Palko Environmental facility south of Oungre. Both work for Endurance OilÀeld Supervision and Construction.
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New company builds water disposal facilities Estevan – At Oungre, one project Endurance Oilﬁeld Supervision and Construction was coming together, and another one at Stoughton was still in its early stages as of mid-November. Both were for Palko Environmental. Endurance ﬁred up operations in May of 2011 with the expansion of a facility at Midale. The company is owned and operated by Mike Irvine. His wife, Heather, is co-owner and does the administration work for the company. There’s no shop for the ﬂedgling company yet, but “hopefully soon” that will be taken care of, Irvine said. Currently they operate two trucks, and have two other ﬁeld personnel besides Irvine. The work focuses on oilﬁeld construction and maintenance, or as Irvine put it, “Building facilities and maintaining them, and all the other maintenance that comes along with the oilﬁeld.” The fall has been spent building two disposal well facilities for Palko Environmental, one south of Oungre, the other south of Stoughton. “I started working for Viking when I was in high school, went to McGillicky’s for a while, then back to Viking,” Irvine said. “I wasn’t a very happy school person. The oilﬁeld was my route. That’s why I was working in high school.” Unlike a lot of other people his age in the oilﬁeld, Irvine stuck around Saskatchewan, forgoing the Alberta experience. “Lots of people did (go there), but I didn’t want to go there. I like it here,” he said. ɸ Page A13
with Warm Wishes And many thanks to our friendsand neighbors at Christmas.
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May your holiday be brimming with good times and glad tidings
PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Clockwise from bottom left: Theron Morin, Jason Berg, Adam Farquhar and Amtarpreet Singh use a roller to move a walkway grate into position. Berg and Singh work with Endurance OilÀeld Supervision and Construction, while Morin and Farquahar are with Jerry Mainil Ltd.
Jumping on the opportunities out there ɺ Page A12 Irvine has done refractory work at Boundary Dam Power Station as well. He was running a crew truck before launching Endurance. He was born and raised in Estevan. Starting his own business at 25, he noted, “There are opportunities out there, and I thought I’d jump on them.” Starting during an extremely wet spring might have sounded risky, but he said, “I was busy last year through
all that, pumping water all over the place.” Indeed, Irvine said he gets several calls a day, saying, “Hey, we need a crew.” “I want to get more trucks, but you can’t ﬁnd the right guys to run them,” he said. “I want to keep expanding, This is the Àltration system for the new Palko Environmental facility near Oungre. to add a few trucks, for sure, but that comes with ‘Where can you ﬁnd the guys?’” He likes to turn wrenches himself, saying, “I’m a very hands-on person.”
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Going out with the advance party Story and photos by Brian Zinchuk
Vern Parker of Saskatchewan, left, operates the seismic drill, while Jeremy Lariviere of Prince Albert, loads shot holes.
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Torquay - Seismic projects come in big and small. Pipeline News had a chance to visit a somewhat-larger one for Canada running along the U.S. border in the Torquay area in November. It is an area that has seen considerable seismic analysis in recent years, and currently has a strong drilling rig presence. CGGVeritas is the creator and manager of the program. One of the largest international geophysical services ﬁrms, the company focuses on helping clients acquire and understand seismic data to support the exploitation of hydrocarbons throughout the world. Kent Milani, vice president, CGGVeritas multi-client and new ventures, Canada and Alaska land, explained the scope of the project. He said, “The program is a multi-client data library program in the Bakken oil shale with a target depth of 2,200 metres. As part of our data library, we manage the entire program
as a turnkey solution for our clients conducting permitting, survey design based on collaboration and input from our clients about the target and imaging objectives, data acquisition, and processing with delivery of pre-stack migrated data as the end result. “The 3-D program covers approximately 200 square-kilometres utilizing 5,000 channels of Sercel 408 multicomponent recording technology and dynamite energy source. “At present we are drilling the shot holes and will begin recording in the next few days (as of Nov. 7). All of the services will be managed locally in Canada. “As a whole, the company has acquired over 10,000 square-miles of shale data (proprietary and multi-client) in most of the major shale plays in North America. Under the data library model, we currently have programs completed or under way in the Bakken, Haynesville, Montney, Eagleford and Marcellus with plans to expand into new regions in the future,” according to Milani.
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On Nov. 10, the project was ﬁnalizing the drilling stage in which the crew is drilling holes and setting the dynamite in advance of the actual seismic data recording. Seismic projects utilizing explosives are ﬁrst surveyed, drilled, and loaded with dynamite in the shot holes as part of the advance party. The shot holes are aligned along a precise, GPS-guided grid that, for this program, ran east to west. As the advance party completes an area, the crew begins laying out equipment including geophones (earth microphones, or sensors) connected by cables that are strung along a grid pattern of north-south recording lines. They are tied into a data acquisition system, in this case the Sercel 408. This simultaneous work allows the crew to begin recording immediately after completing the drilling. The careful coordination of an experienced project manager and observer overseeing the program ensures the proper detonation of the explosives in a planned sequence. The energy source will emit a signal deep into the earth and the subsequent vibrations from the various layers of the subsurface are recorded and captured in the form of seismic data. Safety ﬁrst Before heading out, the safety orientation reveals some interesting points. Following a robust safety management program that includes assessing hazards prior to “boots on the ground” and encompasses substance abuse screening, personal protection equipment, and roll-over protection in vehicles, the safety coordinator for CGGVeritas conducts a daily HSE meeting for the crew before they head out to the ﬁeld. “We want to make sure everyone gets to go to and from the ﬁeld safely,” said Don Sherstobitoﬀ, safety adviser for CGGVeritas, who noted it is a policy of many of their clients. ɸ Page A15
PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
It took Vern Parker, driller, and Jeremy Lariviere about 5 to 6 minute to drill and load a shot hole. The unit is a "buggy" design.
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CGGVeritas conducts survey ɺ Page A14 You won’t ﬁnd an SUV on their job, because all pickups must have a rollover protection system, e.g. a roll bar, installed. Quads, the workhorses of oﬀ-road ﬁeld work, are forbidden. If you can’t use a truck, it’s a side-byside utility vehicle, or hooﬁng it on foot. Those sideby-sides must have a roll bar, windshield, and speed limiter. The project has 10,800 shot points – drilled holes with a charge of dynamite placed in them – and 16,000 receiver points. All in all, it’s roughly a four-week project for the advance party, with the recording party following a week later, and have roughly a month’s work. “It’s an old industry, but it’s fairly new to a lot of people,” Sherstobitoﬀ said. At bare minimum, workers need their H2SAlive, WHMIS, TDG, ﬁrst aid and CPR certiﬁcations. Defensive driving is also a requirement, and there’s even skid-truck training. Drillers need their ground disturbance tickets, and blasters require a blaster’s ticket and an Enform shooters ticket. Process “The client in this case is us,” said Trevor Dixon, the guide on this day, and project manager for the program. He indicated that a multi-client program is organized by CGGVeritas with underwriting and interest from several clients. The data is available for licensing by other interested parties. “You don’t wildcat wells like this. “Today, drilling is based on geosciences. You need to deﬁne structures, and determine suitable locations for production, and that’s why we need seismic.” Dixon explained the process. First, a client would pick an area to investigate. The seismic company would then contact the landowners to acquire permission and permits. On the Torquay project there were just 90. “We had 100 per cent buy-in. Not one farmer told us to go away,” Dixon said. Next they come in and do the line locating, followed by the surveying. Drilling and placement of the charges is next. The recording party then shoots the program, and collects all their material in the ﬁeld after the data is recorded. It’s a blast The advance party preps the job for the recording crew. Seismic programs work like ultrasound, sending vibrations into the ground and receiving the reﬂections. First you need an energy source – either explosives, or a vibrating truck known as a vibroseis. ɸ Page A16
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Stringent rules for the placement of explosives ɺ Page A15 “We’re blasting. This job’s dynamite. The majority of the business in Canada is dynamite,” Dixon said. The choice between dynamite and vibroseis depends on a number of variables such as the terrain, environmental regulations of the area, the imaging objectives and target depth. Shot holes vary in depth. On this job, they’re 15 metres, or roughly 50 feet. Each hole is loaded with a one-kilogram stick of dynamite. It seems that setting oﬀ explosives has gone high-tech. “We use a detonator that can’t be detonated by anything else. It’s called a smart cap,” he said. The blasting caps are electronically programmed now which reduces the risk of early detonation and keeps
the crew and public safe. On this project, the shots are spaced 60 metres apart along the source lines. Source lines are 360 metres apart. Where it’s impractical to place them, such as in sloughs, or near houses and water wells, the shot holes are oﬀset. Such placement is heavily regulated, Dixon pointed out. Before any of this can happen, the entire region must be swept for underground utilities. First-Call, a screening of the area for underground utilities, can take weeks, he said. On this project, each section of the project took a week to sweep before work could take place. “You wouldn’t want a driller to drill into a low or high pressure pipeline. “The seismic industry is the premier safety in-
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BYPASS INDUSTRIAL PARK LIGHT INDUSTRIAL LAND JUST OUTSIDE OF ESTEVAN, SASKATCHEWAN Borealis Global Energy Services Inc. (Borealis Global) is marketing the sale of 16 separate parcels comprising 153 acres of land on behalf of 1174365 Alberta Ltd. Highlights: • 1 miles east of town limits of Estevan, Saskatchewan • Fronts of Estevan truck by-pass route, route approved, and construction to starting spring 2012. • 16 separate titles, ranging from 5 to 26 acres each - easy to re-configure titles if necessary. • Zoned light industrial commercial. • Environmental Phase 1, Geotech, and Heritage Review all complete. • New access road on property complete (just needs gravel), and drainage complete. • 6 inch high pressure water line from town, 3 phase underground power, and natural gas to each parcel (all in place). Water pressure booster to be installed on site. • Environmentally friendly, self contained, pressurized and expandable sewage unit on site, linked to each parcel, to be installed spring 2012. This is the only land for sale in the Estevan area 5 acres plus which provides full sewage and waste water handling & 80 PSI water pressure. • Dirt stripping in progress, sites ready for construction January 2012. • Fast-track permitting for buildings, shops, etc. • On high ground - did not get flooded in the recent floods in SE Saskatchewan. • Developer leasebacks on land and building available. • 2 parcels sold, several parcels pending. • Rail loading/un-loading facility within 3 miles. • Close to North Portal Border Crossing into North Dakota. Companies can legally work on both sides of the border provided they pass through this border crossing with proper paperwork. • Well positioned for the prolific Bakken oil resource play. • Land & building trades considered in town of Estevan.
For additional information contact: Gary Stevens: (780) 305-9255 Dean Finstad: (403) 836-4949 Borealis GLOBAL main office: (403) 233-9240
dustry. In my opinion, seismic has been a leader in safety,” Dixon said. 2-D, 3-D and 4-D seismic An active seismic program can be identiﬁed ﬁrst by the numerous lathes placed by the surveyors, thousands in number, identifying each recording point and shot point. Green lathes are for receiver lines, orange ones indicate energy source lines. Surveying has changed substantially. Now there’s no rodman or chaining. It’s all done with GPS. “You use the GPS and put the ﬂag in the ground. Such advancements have reduced the manpower requirements, according to Dixon, “But the scope of the jobs increased ten-fold. “In the ’80s, 300 kilometres of 2-D was a winter’s worth of work for a 30 man crew. Now it’s 5,000 kilometres of 3-D for an 80 man crew. To prep that, on the front end you need 200 people on the advance party. “2-D is used as a regional search for early exploration of an area. If they ﬁnd something interesting from the long 2-D lines, they’ll conduct a more intensive 3-D survey of a speciﬁc area. 3-D surveys provide a much higher resolution image because the survey is designed on the basis of a grid where source points run orthogonal to the receiver points. The complexity of the design dictates more equipment, more energy, and more crew members,” Dixon said. Cenovus Energy has in the past talked about their “4-D” seismic programs monitoring the Weyburn unit. In it, they conduct the same seismic program over and over in the exact same locations, providing the fourth dimension of time to monitor the ﬂow of carbon dioxide in the CO2 ﬂood. Companies like CGGVeritas do the ground work for them. In the 4-D case, geophones are left in the ground. Thousands of geophones are buried for that purpose, placed in a plastic pipe with a “pigtail” lead to connect to. The crews dig them up, take the cap oﬀ, and plug it in. No line clearing In the north, slashing, clearing lines through dense brush or forests for laying out equipment, is a major part of the job. But in southeast Saskatchewan, where a good chunk of the trees were planted by hand, it’s a non-issue. Dixon said they didn’t have to do any clearing on this job. ɸ Page A17
Cameron Construction has done all the dirt work for this project. 738 5th Street (back door) Phone: 634-3522
They have purchased 10 acres of land & will be putting up a shop and office in this Industrial Park. For all of your pipeline construction, oil lease development & general contracting, contact John Cameron at 403-630-3240
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‘Tis The Season
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* Formerly “Three Star Environmental”
FAX: 306-453-4476 BOX 40, CARLYLE, SASK. S0C 0R0 www.evergreenenviro.ca
Have a COOL HOLIDAY!
Hope it’s Àlled with lots of love and laughter.
Girard Bulk Service Ltd
134 4th Street, Estevan
PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Fast-moving drillers a competitive lot Éş Page A16 â€œThis would be a big job if we were required to clear lines and the cost would go up exponentially,â€? he said. â€œIn Canada there are a host of environmental regulations that govern how the tree lines are cut, including the width and number allowed, which can make it challenging to maneuver and greatly impacts productivity. The source lines would be cut by bigger mulchers, the recorder lines by smaller ones.â€? Mulchers are a relatively recent innovation, and a welcome one. â€œOur footprint is at least 50 per cent smaller than it was 10 years ago,â€? he said. Air support A sure sign a recording crew is in the area is the presence of a low-ďŹ‚ying helicopter, typically carrying bags of cables from one area to another. Part of the advance partyâ€™s job is determining staging areas for the helicopters to minimize their ďŹ‚ying time. â€œHelicopters are expensive to operate on an hourly basis, so you really want to make sure they are ďŹ‚ying the least amount possible,â€? Dixon said. â€œItâ€™s much easier to
lay out the gear and pick it up,â€? he said of helicopters. â€œThey have it down to the second.â€? Helicopters also mean much less impact on the ground, with simply men walking across it, rather than trucks or ATVs. â€œUltimately, we save hundreds of thousands of dollars using helicopters,â€? Dixon said. Drilling â€œThis is a buggy,â€? Dixon said as we approached one of several drills on the project. Itâ€™s a substantial unit with high ďŹ‚otation tires. Like a four-wheel-drive tractor or rock truck, it articulates in the middle to steer. â€œDrillers are highly competitive,â€? he said, noting the fast pace of the drilling. First the hole is drilled, with the driller adding a stem of auger every 10 feet. It takes just two minutes to drill a shot hole. Then the helper activates the computer chip in the blasting cap. He places the charge of dynamite on a long rod, and places it in the bottom of the hole. He keeps adding sections to his pole until it reaches the bottom. Then he yards out the rods, disassembling it as he goes,
Lariviere is hoofing it, carrying his rods from hole to hole on his shoulder, since quads are not allowed on this job. Heâ€™s dressed for the cold, but notes at -12 C, the temperatureâ€™s about right. The ground is stiďŹ€ enough to work on. This "smart cap" is computer activated.
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before pushing some of the drill cuttings back into the hole. The wires are then wrapped around the stake. Drillers are paid by the metre, and try to do about 80 holes a day, Dixon said. As such, they move fast. Within six minutes, the hole is complete, the shot is loaded and wired, and they are oďŹ€ to the next hole. Vern Parker of Saskatoon is the driller, while Jeremy Lariviere of Prince Albert is the helper. Parker is on his 28th winter working seismic. At one point he had his own drill, but now he contracts out. He started with his brother at Cudworth, Saskatchewanâ€™s home to seismic drilling. â€œAt one time there were 21 seismic drill contractors in Cudworth,â€? Parker said.
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Newfoundland teacher Tales from now watches dynamite a seismic Ray Bruschett
Ray Brushett of CGGVeritas taught school for 25 years, then did some coiled tubing work out of Whitecourt. He’s also run an ocean ﬁshing lodge for three years on the west coast. Now he’s spending his winter doing seismic work. He came west after working as a weather observer on the Hibernia oﬀshore oil platform. “I left shortly after the crash,” he said, referring to Cougar Helicopters Flight 491, which went down March 2009. Brushett taught two of the victims in school. “I had a couple years retirement, but it didn’t work out,” he said, laughing. As a teacher, he had had enough. He wanted to work privately, and make some money. His home is in the countryside, at Thorburn Lake, Newfoundland. Now he’s responsible for the inventory and delivery of explosives to the drilling rigs.
This winter marks Trevor Dixon’s 34th year doing seismic, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I guess they call me a lifer. My older brother was working in seismic, making pretty decent money,” he said. His brother told him to go talk to a man in Calgary, and soon he was put to work. “They ﬂew me to the Arctic. My family had bets to see how long I would last.” He started out at as “jughound,” or “juggie,” a worker who distributes and then collects long rolls of cable. “In the Arctic, we were working 18 hours a day,” he said. Dixon saw that the surveyors were in the camp earlier in the day, and had their pick of the food and hot water. “I applied to be a surveyor, and got a job the next week.” He’s worked all over Canada, and in 20 states. “This winter I’m going to the Arctic to Norman Wells.” CGGVeritas, he noted, has crews located all around the world in the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Indonesia, Africa and South America. “I couldn’t work an 8 to 5, ﬁve days a week. To make the same money, I would have to work 7 to 7, seven days a week Married with three kids, he married somewhat later in life, at age 40. If he was working that 7 to 7, he notes he still wouldn’t see his kids. “As an industry, we’ve been slow the last couple years due to the economy. I’ve been home six months. This year it will be four. I’ll have worked approximately 220 days this year. That’s the average. When the economy was bad, we were lucky to get 120 to 130 days. “When I’m home, I’m home. I garden, do yard work, renovations. This owl near Torquay was keeping up with the pickup truck. Photo by Brian Zinchuk
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Second winter on seismic Alicia Cormier of Spruce Grove, Alta. who works for SeisMed, is in her second season of seismic. She has her advanced Level III emergency medical personnel training, a two-week course. She’s worked with drilling and service rigs, as well as frac crews over the summer. Asked how she keeps awake, Cormier responded she stays well rested for work. Part of her job is conducting radio checks on the location of all the crew every hour or two hours, depending on the size of the crew. “My job is very quiet, but quiet is a good thing,” she said.
Drill push used to drive vibroseis Matt Scott has spent 11 years working in the seismic ﬁeld, most of that time with CGGVeritas. At ﬁrst he was a vibroseis operator. A vibroseis is a heavy, large truck with high ﬂoatation tires and a large ﬂat base-plate that is lowered to the ground. The truck emits vibrations into the ground by lowering the base-plate and shaking for a period of time, called the sweep. “The vibrator controller in the vibrator cab sends a tone to you and
Alicia Cormier keeps an eye on seismic workers in the Àeld. Her company, Seismed, specializes in seismic HSE work.
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you start shaking,” he said. The process is largely computerized now, and the driver simply drives to the next point. A vibrator will apply between 60,000 to 80,000 pounds of downpressure, he noted. “We work all over the place,” he said. Scott has personally worked in Senegal about seven years ago. As drill push, he supervises the numerous drills on the job, and takes care of the dynamite inventory.
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Pipeline News Exclusive
Boundary Dam CCS project rises on the plain The structural steel for the carbon capture plant is coming together
Story and photos by Brian Zinchuk
Turczyn said. The engineering, procurement and construction contractor is SNCEstevan – As a winter storm was Lavalin Inc., also known as SLI. “We’ve got roughly 160 people about to blow in, bundled up ironworkers manipulated large, heavy working on the carbon capture projbeams as the crane operator gingerly ect right now,” he said. “It’s going to moved them about. Slowly but surely, ramp up. We could hit the 600 mark SaskPower’s big bet on carbon capture next summer, when you include those and storage has begun to take shape on working on the rebuild of the generating unit and the carbon capture the plain south of Estevan. The SaskPower Boundary Dam project.” SaskPower is letting the private Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Project is the ﬁrst commercial- sector address the housing situation scale implementation of CO2 post- for the inﬂux of workers. The overall project is on schedule combustion capture in the world. The $1.24 billion project got the go-ahead right now, Turczyn said. Construction in April 2011, and work started imme- started May 1, and the majority of the diately. It is expected to be complete in foundation work is in place while some slabs will be delayed until spring. the ﬁrst quarter of 2014. “We’ve got most of the excavation The project involves a rebuild of Unit 3 at Boundary Dam Power Sta- complete. We’re doing a little bit of tion (one of six generating unit at the backﬁlling,” he said. “The structural steel – it’s coming facility) and the addition of a fullytogether. We started from the north integrated carbon capture system. Pipeline News was provided with and are working south,” Turczyn said. an exclusive tour of the construction “In January-February, we’ll have the people come in and start the exterior site on Nov. 17. Professional engineer Bob Turczyn walls. Before that happens, some of the is SaskPower’s supervisor of construction. Prior to the carbon capture proj- large components will be put into place. ect, the U of S product had worked on The largest single-piece component is the construction of the Poplar River the 350-ton, 133-foot long CO2 stripper. The pressure vessel is anticipated and Shand Power Stations. “Right now I’m supervising the to arrive in mid-December from its contractors on the clean coal project,” manufacturer in the Edmonton area.
It’s so large, a 650-ton Manitowoc crane is being brought in for the express purpose of erecting the monster vessel. Once it’s in place, the crane will be disassembled and taken away. “That’s a huge crane to erect the CO2 stripper, and then it’s gone again,” Turczyn said. Other large components include the large amine storage tank, whose round foundations are already evident at the centre of the facility. The amine tank will be built early in the new year. Turczyn explained, “It’s a large chemical processing plant, more or less. You use an amine chemical to combine with the CO2 in the absorber. You then take it to the stripper and strip it out.” SaskPower decided to go with the Cansolv Technologies Inc. process, produced by a subsidiary of Shell Global Solutions International BV.
Gary Cooper, manager for stands before the completed ture plant.
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In addition to SNC Lavalin, there are a number of smaller local contractors including PCL and its subdivision Coram of Regina, Kelly Panteluk Construction of Estevan (which is doing nearly all the dirt work) and Hirsch Construction of Estevan (which is handling general construction duties). Skylift Services of Estevan is doing additional crane work on a regular basis. Concrete came from local suppliers Glen Peterson Construction and Turnbull Redi-Mix. For big concrete pours, Turczyn said, “They had to use all their trucks and go 24-hours a day.” Dart Services provided concrete pumping. Balzer’s Canada from Regina is doing pipeﬁtting and electrical work. Substantial component work is
Phone: 634-5016 1033B 4th Street • Box 695 • Estevan, SK S4A 0W4 • Fax: (306) 634-3166 • firstname.lastname@example.org
coming from just down the road, in Oxbow. Saskarc Industries is building large portions of the modular units. They will then be transported to the site and installed. Gary Cooper, construction manager for SNC-Lavalin, said, “The job’s going well. The weather is starting to close in. We were expecting that. “We started Oct. 1 putting up structural steel.” As of mid-November, approximately 25 per cent was up. “It will be ﬁnished early spring, next year,” Cooper said of the structural steel. The main building for capture plant is 400 feet long and 120 feet wide. The northern half is 75 feet tall, while the southern half is 30 feet. The facility under construction is only for Unit 3. Should SaskPower decide to do similar carbon capture projects when it gets around to replacing Units 4, 5, and 6, they will require their own facilities. Two underground 54-inch highdensity polyethylene lines, a feed and a return, run to a heat rejection plant located one kilometre south of the facility near the cooling water outfall
for the existing power plant. However, in this case, it is a closed-loop cooling system, and heat is not discharged into Boundary Dam Reservoir. Cooper hails from Port Colborne, Ontario, near Niagara Falls. “This will be my fourth winter here,” he said. Prior jobs for SaskPower include the Queen Elizabeth Power Station expansion in Saskatoon and the construction of the natural gas Yellowhead Power Station in North Battleford. Over the next four to six months, several goals are slated, according to Cooper. They will close in the building, bring in the larger vessels and equipment as the steel work goes up, and put temporary heat into the building. They will ﬁnish some civil construction activities and start on mechanical activities. While the project involves cutting edge technology, the construction activities underway at Boundary Dam are quite conventional. “The components, the type of construction, is the same as any other heavy industrial site you would build.” He said. Labour hasn’t been a problem. “We’ve been able to meet our own requirements,” he said, noting SNCLavalin can “draw on a large pool of staﬀ.” As for their sub-contractors, they’ve been OK, so far.
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As the structural steel goes up, large components will be installed, before the building is clad.
The view from the roof of the Boundary Dam Power Station shows the scope of the carbon capture project under construction.
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Tubing inspection done Estevan – When is a piece of tubing good enough to put back in the hole, or should it be retired into cattleguard fencing? That’s the job of tubing inspectors like ARKK Tubing Inspection Services, which has operations in Estevan. Randy Labrecque looks after ARKK’s Saskatchewan operations. “We perform rig ﬂoor production tubing inspections on oil and gas wells,” Labrecque said, noting the practice is becoming more and more common. “We determine how thick or how thin the tubing is and detect holes, stress points corrosion and rod wear defects,” he said. “This has been around for many years. The technology is continually changing and improving, and ARKK is progressing with that
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technology.” “It’s a magnetic unit. We put an inspection tool on the rig ﬂoor. We hook it up to a power source on the truck and a magnetic ﬁeld is produced through the mag coil.” That coil is essentially a big copper spool of wire. “We put power to it. It magnetizes the pipe,” Labrecque said. “As it gets thicker or thinner, the inspection tool detects ﬂux leakage based on how thick or thin the pipe is. This is how it detects defects in
the pipe. It’s a non-contact trip tool, which means nothing touches the pipe except for stripping rubbers on the top and bottom.” Those rubbers also centre the pipe in the tool, in the middle of the magnetic ﬁeld. “When we inspect pipe, for each joint of pipe we get an inspection chart. When the well is complete, these charts provide an inspection proﬁle.” The well proﬁle shows the percentage of wall loss due to corrosion and rod wear for each length of pipe. ɸ Page A23
A good football program guides town choice Born in Rosetown, raised in Biggar with a wife from Regina, Randy Labrecque and his wife found it to be too much being on their own with a new baby in Alberta without any immediate family. “I was moving home, regardless,” he said. His employer, ARKK Tubing was supportive. “If you want to set up a shop, we’ll support that,” he recalled. Labrecque’s previous career was that of a funeral director, having grown up in the family business. Football has also been a major part of his life. “I was an O-lineman,” he said. “I played with my high school in Biggar, and played in the Saskatchewan Senior Bowl all-star game.”
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He was recruited by the University of Regina, but that didn’t work out. “I was pretty young and inexperienced to be playing with grown men at the time,” he said. Labrecque played a year of junior football with the Regina Prairie Thunder, and then bounced around several schools and programs, including across the 49th. “It reinforced my love of the game,” he said. “It really played a big part in why I started coaching football.” A two-week stint at Jamestown College in North Dakota was the ﬁnal straw to his realization that playing football was no longer his gig. However, it did leave an impression on the type of coach he wanted to be. A strong, new football league in Estevan was a large factor in why Labrecque chose to move to Estevan. It resembled the program he was involved with in Alberta. He started with the Bantam Steelers, and last season worked with the local high school team, the Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs. “I was the oﬀensive co-ordinator and O-line coach,” he said. Team sports help on the business side, he said, noting it “keeps guys motivated to go to work. I preach a team atmosphere at ARKK. The biggest resource we have is the people we employ. We have a fantastic staﬀ.”
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
on site: ARKK Tubing
Randy Labrecque shows the inspection tool ARKK Tubing Inspection Services uses to detect defects in tubing. Photo by Brian Zinchuk
ɺ Page A22 “I have been doing this for six years,” Labrecque said, noting he has seen all kinds of diﬀerent wells and problems. The company puts new workers through three months of training before they go out on their own, he added. Asked how frequently companies want inspections done on their tubing, he said, some companies wait till there is a well failure, some want to see an inspection every three or four times the tubing comes out of the hole, or they want to change it out before it becomes a problem. “Preventive maintenance is a big priority these days,” Labrecque said. “Nothing is made to last forever.” Asked if coiled rod makes a diﬀerence, Labrecque said it depends on the well. “Application is 99 per cent of it. Doglegs, bends, will put a perfectly symmetrical grove on that length of pipe.” But there are answers to that. “We use ultrasonic
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thickness meters to conﬁrm defects on all inspections, especially if we get into full-length rod.” Interpretation of charts and educating customers in that regard is an important part of the business. Tubing is labelled as yellow band, blue band, green band and red band, depending on the amount of wall loss. Seven people work with ARKK, including two in Estevan. Raymond and Koreen Cyre are the owners, and look after the administration. Things are picking up for the company in southeast Saskatchewan. “Every month is busier than the last,” he said. “You have to be patient, put in your time. There are two of us running around, and we’re busier more often than not. We’re lucky to be in a constant state of growth. The biggest challenger around here is having the right people.” “We have other opportunities. We’re going to need more staﬀ,” Labrecque said.
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Opens The new Suburban Extended Stay Hotel joins the growing number of hotels in the northeast corner of Estevan. It is also within walking distance of the new Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute.
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Estevan – The Suburban Extended Stay Hotel opened in Estevan on Oct. 14, and none too soon. With winter coming and campers less appealing, clients were chomping at the bit for the new hotel to begin operations, and occupancy rates have been high. The initial plan had been to open months sooner, but construction delays held that up, according to Ruth Wall, general manager. The wet weather in the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011 were factors. Construction started in August 2010 on
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the four-storey, woodframe hotel. There are 89 rooms. As an “extended stay” hotel, things are a little diﬀerent than a conventional hotel. “They’re all equipped with kitchenettes in them,” Wall said of the rooms. They include a cooktop, fridge, microwave, coﬀeemaker, toaster, cooking utensils, dishes and cutlery, wash rack and kitchen sink. Similar to a typical hotel room, there are either one or two queensized beds. Suites have a separate bedroom from the living area. “Because we’re extended stay, we only do weekly housekeeping,” Wall said. “It’s like an apartment, furnished. They just move in.” “Our goal is to have a home away from home.” “We have guest coin-operated laundry on each level as well.” There is a meeting room and workout room, but no pool or hot tub. Two computers can be found in the business centre, just down the hall from the front desk. All the rooms have wireless Internet as well as hardwired Internet. Each room has a 32-inch ﬂat screen TV. One elevator services the building. Pricing is based on a four-tier system, with the most expensive being one to four nights, and discounts applied
for longer stays. Clients staying over 30 days get the highest discount. “We have guests who booked Oct. 17 and are staying until Dec. 22. Some are staying until April,” Wall said. There’s quite a mix of oilﬁeld companies, one-night leisure guests, weekly guests, corporate clients and even hockey teams. Several of the oilﬁeld company have taken blocks of rooms. “We’ve got subtrades under the main companies as well staying with us,” Wall said. As of early November, approximately 70 per cent of the client was oilpatch related. “It could go higher,” she said. During the weekends, some rooms have become available, but during the week, they are routinely packed. Canyon Technical Services, who set up their Estevan base just a few blocks over from the new hotel, is one of those clients, taking a substantial block of rooms for their frac crews. “The guys are ecstatic,” said Ron Deringer, base manager for Canyon. “The rooms are bigger, and with the kitchenettes, they can cook their own meals.” There will be approximately 13 people working at the hotel. Wall and her family moved to Estevan in the spring of 2011. The remainder of the staﬀ is largely local. ɸ Page A25
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
The addition of the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel to Estevan takes a small amount of pressure off the short housing situation in the city.
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Estevan’s Newest Hotel
Room for families to visit ɺ Page A24 For the new hotel, like nearly every other business in the region, it’s tough to ﬁnd enough people. “Staﬃng is an issue,” she said. “I’m still short on housekeeping. I was stripping beds before I met you. Have I been working long hours? Yes.” Indeed, just prior to opening, much of the executive and administrative staﬀ for the management group was helping out with ﬁnal preparations. “The CEO was helping with housecleaning.” The ownership of the hotel lies with a limited partnership, which includes some local ownership. The management group is Encore Hospitalities of Winkler, Manitoba. Bridgeroad
Developments, also of Winkler, acted as general contractor. The clients, Wall said, have been extremely grateful. “They love it here. They say it’s one of the best properties they’ve stayed in for an extended time.” One diﬀerence of a hotel versus a camp is that family can come, visit, and stay in the same room as the client. “One family came for two whole weeks,” Wall said, adding such visits “help stabilize relationships.” “We try to accommodate the family,” she said. It’s common for two workers to share a two-bed queen room, depending on the company’s request. The parking lot will not be paved until next With a round of best wishes to all our good friends at Christmas.
404 Kensington Ave. Estevan
spring due to weather, with gravel as an interim solution. A grand opening is expected down the road.
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HERE COMES CHRISTMAS! Here’s hoping the holiday delivers an abundance of glad tidings to you and yours. For your kind patronage, you have our heartfelt thanks.
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
One Woman’s Perspective on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Land Locations By Nadine Elson The Christmas season is officially here. If I hadn’t figured it out by the Christmas carols now playing on the radio and in the stores, or the lights twinkling on the houses in my neighbourhood, I knew it for sure when I saw the large gaily wrapped
nut tray at the oil company office. Many companies use the Christmas season to express thanks to existing customers by sending Christmas cards, but oil companies are extraordinarily generous with gifts of nut trays, boxes of
All kinds of Christmas gifts chocolates, bottles of liquor, and items of clothing and hats personalized with their company logos. I recently attended a shower. Not a baby shower or a bridal shower, it was billed as a Shower of Blessings after the Flood. Dan and Renee King of Roche Percee, like many other residents of southern Saskatchewan, had been victims of flood waters. They were rebuilding their house after the flood damage. Attendees contributed to a money tree or brought household gifts.
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In thanking everyone for their generosity, Renee talked about how hard some of their days had been due to the flood. She cried when she recounted a particularly difficult day of throwing out wet and damaged belongings that held memories. Her children did not witness their mother in distress though, because another couple from the church had taken all 5 siblings for the day, feeding them physically and emotionally. “It was such a gift!” she said, “A gift of encouragement on a day when I was feeling so low! It was such a blessing to know that my children were being cared for and having fun even in the midst of my sadness.” “A gift of encouragement”- the phrase stuck in my head and I thought about it. The dictionary defines a gift has something given voluntarily
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without payment in return, to show favour to someone, to honour an occasion, or to offer assistance. By that definition, encouragement is most certainly a gift. I, too, have been given the gift of encouragement. Many times as it turns out. As recently as after church on Sunday, Gloria told me how much she appreciates the column and looks for it every month. She told me that reading my column and imagining me in the patch, has inspired her to step outside her own comfort zone. Last week, Dale, a former oil supply store owner and friend of my father, greeted me outside the grocery store and told me how much he enjoyed reading the column too. The column has been running for a year now. Many people over the last year have taken the time to read it. Many have also encouraged me with their comments in person, through Bruce, and e-mail. Olive, a dear 93-year-young lady who was the receptionist in the law ﬁrm that my father came to article in as a young man in 1957, called my home phone in February and left a delightful message on my machine. I heard from a former employee of mine when
her mom sent her the column in the summer. When I wrote about the local Desk and Derrick Club and the regional convention being held here in May, president Claudia liked to column so much she had it copied, and inserted it into all the registration packages. I think it was the mental image of me winning the wet T-shirt contest that tickled her funny bone. Her action was a gift to me as many registrants commented to me on the piece. So this Christmas, as you are making plans to give gifts to your employees, bosses, suppliers, customers, and families, I hope you remember to give the really important gifts, the gifts that money cannot buy. The gifts of encouragement, love, understanding, gratitude, and time are worth more than the most expensive nut tray. Nadine lives in Estevan, with her husband and family, and works as a hot shot driver in the oil patch regularly delivering goods in and around Estevan and Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, and Sinclair and Waskada, Manitoba. Her mission, beyond delivering the goods quickly, is to have every interaction be a positive one. She can be reached at email@example.com
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PIPELINE NEWS December 2011
Keystone delay idles welders
Welders like these ones, working on Enbridgeâ€™s Alberta Clipper project in 2009, were gearing up to go to work on the Keystone XL pipeline for TransCanada. While they are still likely to Ă€nd work, the delay disrupts many plans and lives. File photo
are â€œrig welders,â€? who hire on not only themselves, but their truck and welder. Unlike many other tradespeople, they donâ€™t just show up to work with their hard hat, boots and lunch bucket. Welding rigs are typically one-ton duallies with either a custom built service body or box insert equipped with everything from a large welder to grinders and acetylene torches. They are not cheap. â€œ$100,000, minimum, to get rigged up,â€? Knipple said of the investment required to set up a truck for big-inch pipeline welding, including the truck, welder, accessories and tools. â€œIf youâ€™re going to run in that circle, you have to be set up to go. You have backups for everything â€“ two of everything thatâ€™s services, prepped and ready to go.â€? â€œA lot of guys have been getting ready for it, spending money, arranging accommodations, purchasing trailers.â€? The pay for welders is top-notch, but the work is hard and demanding. â€œAt points youâ€™re literally running, then down in the ditch, then up, in and out of the mud.â€? All the while thereâ€™s no room for error. â€œOne or two repairs for a tie-in welder, and youâ€™re done. You donâ€™t get to fail welds.â€? Knipple said. â€œItâ€™s perfection
every time.â€? So what will they do while Keystone remains in limbo? â€œGo work on other jobs. Thatâ€™s what we do. We work contract, construction,â€? Knipple said. â€œItâ€™s a setback, a letdown, but not a showstopper. â€œWe do other work, absolutely. But we wouldnâ€™t want to see two or three of these jobs go sideways.â€? He added that the loss of the work is devastating for some areas of the U.S. â€œWhere does it go from here? If the U.S. doesnâ€™t want it, we donâ€™t know where itâ€™s going,â€? he said. â€œItâ€™s too bad. Itâ€™s all based on politics.â€?
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