November 2011


It’s days like today, when my wife puts a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on my plate, that I long for being back on location of the oil rigs, with my favourite catering truck serving me hot, delicious food. After being spoiled for four months with some of the best food I have ever tasted, I miss my cooks. I almost think that the oil companies have employed sous chefs that belong in five-star restaurants, the consistent amazing quality of the food being offered just seems so out of place in the middle of an oil rig. I know that they make more than I do as a lowly rustabout, but based on what they’re serving me, it’s worth paying these catering people more than three roustabouts combined. If I hadn’t been working so hard on the rigs, I imagine I would have been fat by now. And it would be from gorging at the catering truck. I tried to get some recipes of my favourite meals to take home for my wife, just so I wouldn’t miss the rig food so much. The head cook kindly gave me one recipe. The wife can’t make it right. At least, she can’t make it like they can at the rig. I can’t wait to go back!

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If employment on an offshore oil rig is something you’re interested in, the quickest way to gain this position is to start yourself as a roustabout – considered to be the “grunt” position performing various jobs that require little training. Without any experience on an oil rig, regardless of the expertise you may have, you will find it difficult to start your career offshore. However, the roustabout position gives you experiences and a vast range of potential employers, allowing you to start at the bottom and work your way up – roustabouts often are the long-term employees who gain experience and grow within the company as they take on more difficult and dangerous tasks. Oil companies love a person who is eager to start at the bottom. Once you have a job on an offshore oil rig, you’ll figure out quickly if it’s something you’d like as a career and if so how easy it will be to get future jobs on other offshore rigs – experience matters!

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When I first started thinking about getting a job at a Canadian oil rig, I felt like I was cheating my own values. I believe in a clean environment, using what we need and replacing what we take. I believed that our earth was left a worse place to live because of these people. After some research though, I realized I was totally ill-informed about the practices in place by Canadian oil companies – it turns out that they really do care about the environment too, and that they do have programs in place to renew what they have taken from the land. Not only do the companies care, but so do their employees. After talking to some of these employees, it was clear that they themselves would make every valiant effort to keep our earth in a condition our children could be proud to inherit. I have never been as impressed with individuals as I was following my inquisition. After that, all I could of think was how these were people I wanted to work with, and how the company may, much to my disbelief, have the same ideals as I do. All the initiatives and programs in place made my decision for me. I would in fact not be going against my beliefs, but rather I would be helping the oil company of my choosing achieve what we have all set out to do – which in this day and age is to ensure that our earth is still ready to supply the lives of the next generations to come. Without a little research, I may have forever been inside a mountain unwilling to believe that people were working to keep me standing. Since that time, I now have what I consider to be my dream job, keeping Canada’s environment clean and safe for the future. Without the oil industry’s dedication to the earth, I could have never achieved this.

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This past summer, I spent a few weeks working up in the oil rigs. Let me tell you, it is not a job for everyone. The physical strain it puts on your body, not to mention the mental thoughts of what could go wrong at any time, tends to weed out the boys from the men. And I’m a lady. Well, at least I like to pretend I am. Hardly can be called a lady when you’re covered head to toe in oil droplets, a hardhat on your head, and coveralls three sizes too big.

No one expected me to last as long as I did. What I can tell you is that during those three weeks, I surprised myself and surpassed many expectations of things I thought I could not do. The camaraderie amongst the workers is amazing. The pay is outstanding. The schedule of days on/days off allows you to go home to see family.  If you have the guts, the glory you’ll feel inside is well worth thinking about employment on the rigs. All I can say is, DO IT!

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