Oilfield Trucking 1
There are thousands of truck drivers from all over the world looking for these Alberta trucking jobs every year that really should know what they are getting into. Unfortunately, nothing like this existed when I made the decision to do this myself. I was happy I did, but I prefer to base my decisions on a little more information than I had at the time.
This inspired me to help others by taking an introductory, but comprehensive look at oilfield trucking. I hope this helps you to make a more informed decision whether this will be the right move for you. It will require an hour or two of your time to go through all 8 sections. This is designed for people that are serious about this decision. This is a move that will affect your life, and the lives of those close to you. Investing an hour or two of your time is a small price to pay for making the right decision. The first thing I learned about the oilfields is that they are often referred to as the “Patch”. Oilfield work is just like any other trucking, it gets in your blood. And just like any other trucking, it is tough to get it out. This is sort of ironic as a “Patch” is something that is supposed to rid of us an 3 addiction.
My experience in oilfield trucking was a drop in the bucket compared to people I met in the industry. Nonetheless, my 8 years actually seemed like a lifetime. I don't consider myself an industry expert, but I learned enough to be able to share my knowledge with those considering a career in oilfield trucking. What you take or learn from a job, is just as important as the time you spent doing it. There were many things I didn't know before getting involved in the diverse oil and gas industry. I wasn't aware of the difference between “Tar Sands”, and drilling for oil and gas, or “Oilfield” work. 4
These are both different than "Ice road Trucking", and we will get into this later. There are many different products that come from a drilled well like: different kinds of gases, and oils. Then there are the tar sands and they are all contained in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. The Tar Sands work is more exclusive to the northeast part of Alberta, but it expanding into the Peace River area, while the drilling for oil and gas occurs almost everywhere in this vast region.
I have also worked in all these areas including Ft. McMurray (referred to as Ft. Mac). This is the home base for most tar sand work in Alberta. Since 2008, the Alberta economy has experienced some ups and downs like the rest of the world. Despite the economy, it has still remained one of the few North American hot spots for jobs, and higher than average wages. This oil and gas basin covers more than just Alberta. It is a vast area stretching from northern British Columbia, across Alberta to Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I traveled and worked in all of these places, but spent most of my time in Alberta and northern BC. 6
Almost every center in Alberta has ties to the oil and gas industry, which leaves you many possible choices for relocating. There is something for everyone, and it may take some trial and error to find your fit. Most people start with a â€œtrial runâ€? before committing to a full move. We will get into this later in another section. Many people remain transient when working out west as "Hot Spots" for work can change frequently. It often depends on investments into different regions made by the oil companies. Calgary and Edmonton are the two largest regions with populations of just over 1,000,000 people in each. They both contain many of the head offices of oil companies. Almost halfway between these two cities is the smaller city of Red Deer. This is a smaller city, but is central in the province and serves as a large equipment base for many of the service companies. Red Deer is roughly 1.5 hours to both Edmonton, 7 and Calgary airports.
There are many other great places throughout the province from Lethbridge and Medicine Hat in the south, to Hinton in the west, to Lloydminster in the east. Grande Prairie is the largest city base servicing the oil and gas fields of Northern Alberta, and British Columbia. It sits roughly 94 kms southeast of the border to BC. Many drilling and service companies have northern bases situated in Grande Prairie. Across the border in Dawson Creek, BC is â€œMile 0â€? of the Alaska Highway. The Alaska Highway runs north through Ft. St. John up to Ft. Nelson. From here it continues through the rest of northern BC, into the Yukon, and Alaska."Sedimentary basin" oilfield work is very limited north of the Ft. Nelson area except for Horn River Basin. There are some great opportunities with companies servicing the oil and gas industry in northern BC. 8
I really enjoyed the challenge of the terrain in the foothills, along the edge of the Rockies, and up the Alaska Highway. Most of central and southern Alberta is relatively flat, and may not appeal to those looking for a little bit more of a driving challenge. The Saskatchewan landscape is also mostly flat with a few rolling hills, and for those of you that love large bodies of water, be prepared to miss it. Hopefully, you have a better picture of the â€œwhereâ€? we are referring to when we talk about the oilfields. 9
Sources: http://www.entrec.com/services/heavy-haul-conventional/ http://www.truckerswheel.com/oilfield-trucking.html 10