In-situ Oil Sands Jobs

In-situ Oil Sands JobsOpen pit mining isn't the only way to get oil from the oil sands. In-situ is another recovery method being used in the Fort McMurray area. When the oil sand is too deep for surface mining, in-situ techniques are used.

Horizontal or vertical wells are drilled hundreds of feet into the ground. Steam, air or solvents are injected into the wells to separate the thick bitumen from the sand. Once it starts flowing, it's pumped up to a plant for processing.

There are several in-situ projects operating in the region, and more are under construction or being proposed. Jobs are available in three main areas:

 Plant operations and maintenance

How many jobs are created?

While they are much smaller-scale operations than open pit mining, there are still many employment opportunities created by in-situ developments.

Before construction begins, seismic and exploratory drilling rig crews do tests to see how much oil is under the ground.

When the plants are being built, the number of construction workers needed is usually around 300 to 750 people. There are some larger in-situ projects in the works that will need from 1,000 up to 3,700 construction workers. Construction usually takes one to three years to complete. And depending on how many barrels of oil they produce each day; most in-situ plants employ around 40 to 150 people in operations and maintenance.

There are 91 active oil sands projects in Alberta. Of these, five are mining projects. The remaining projects use various in-situ methods to recover the oil (SAGD is the most common method in theregion).

In-situ development is an area that has plenty of long-term potential. New technology is making it easier for companies to access deep deposits. And there is plenty of oil left to bring up.

In fact, there are 170 billion barrels of oil sands reserves still in the ground, and about 80 per cent of that will be recovered with in-situ technology. As the economy rebounds, new projects are expected.

Exploration: Drilling and seismic crews

Oil sands in-situ development begins with exploration. Before they invest millions of dollars in a project, oil sands companies need to know how much oil can be recovered below the ground.

There is an exploration component in the oil sands. There have been a lot of mineral rights leased over the last five years. A lot of what's underneath the ground is unknown.

Exploration work is often done in winter, when the muskeg is frozen. Drilling contractors are hired to drill exploratory core holes. While the rigs are specialized for the oil sands, regular rig crews are employed to do the work. The number of core holes that are drilled varies widely from year to year.

When the price of oil drops, as it has done recently, exploration activity often falls too.

Other rig work

Besides exploration drilling, rig crews also drill the well pairs that supply the in-situ plants with oil. A well pair usually produces for six to eight years.

In Alberta, the majority of drilling contractors are located in Nisku (just south of Edmonton) and Calgary. Ensign Energy Services (, Precision Drilling (, Akita Drilling ( and Nabours Canada ( are some of the major companies doing drilling work in the Fort McMurray region, but there are others.

Some drilling companies will hire entry-level workers and train them on the job. In today's job market, taking a seven-day Pre-Employment Floorhand Training course through Enform ( can help a candidate stand out. All drilling hands start out as entry-level leasehands or floorhands. The next step is to become a rig technician, which is a mandatory trade (see for details). The top position is rig manager.

Rig crews typically work eight to 12-hour day or night shifts. A common rotation is two weeks on, one week off. Wherever the rig moves, the crews follow, so jobs may be in the Fort McMurray region or other locations across Western Canada. There are also some seismic crews doing occasional exploration work in the region, using explosives and other tools to map the underground formations. Some positions, such as geologist, are very skilled. But there are also entry-level positions such as chainsaw buckers, survey helpers, driller helpers and line crew helpers. Seismic crews travel across Western Canada, working long hours in the bush.

Plant operations and maintenance

Most in-situ projects include steam generation and water recycling plants, which operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A few in-situ developments, such as Suncor's Firebag and Nexen's Long Lake SAGD plants, also have refineries. The refineries upgrade the oil before it's sent to market.

The largest percentage of workers at the in-situ plants are power engineers, process operators and maintenance tradespeople. Devon's Jackfish site, for example, has about 100 plant employees, and about 75 of them are in operations and maintenance.

Power engineers generally work with high pressure boilers and process operators work with equipment that processes oil or gas. The minimum education needed for these positions is a high school education and a fourth class power engineering ticket.

People with previous operations experience working at pulp or paper mills and chemical plants, or as oil and gas battery operators, may be able to transfer their skills to become power engineers or process operators.

Maintenance tradespeople working at the plants include instrumentation technicians, millwrights and electricians. Some tradespeople are permanent, full-time workers employed directly by oil sands companies. Some, such as welders, may be hired as-needed on a contract basis.

The qualifications for tradespeople vary, but typically workers start out as entry-level apprentices. Over a period of three or four years, they learn the trade through a mix of on-the-job training and technical schooling.

cheap oakley sunglasses mulberry outlet Ugg Coupon Code cheap uggs mulberry outlet
mulberry outlet coach outlet burberry outlet coach factory outlet mulberry outlet coach outlet UGG Pas Cher cheap oakley sunglasses cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys coach outlet canada black friday coach ugg boots on sale cheap uggs gucci outlet oakley outlet coach outlet