Drilling activity in western Canada is busiest during the winter months. From October to mid-March, cold temperatures freeze the ground enough for drilling companies to move rigs without damaging municipal roads.
Come April, as temperatures rise, the ground thaws, and road bans are put in place, a number of rigs are shut down and stacked for what the industry calls “spring break-up.” Typically lasting anywhere from six weeks to three months (depending on weather, activity levels, and the rig’s location), crews are laid off to wait out the thaw.
“Lots of hands look for temporary work during break-up, often picking up seasonal jobs like landscaping or farming,” explained Trisha Hennig, Field Services Manager in our Canadian division. “Others budget throughout the year and take the time off to travel.”
However, seasonal work and travel aren’t the only things crews can stay busy with, noted Hennig. “Spring break-up can also be a great opportunity to fill-in on other rigs or prepare for the coming drilling season.” Read on as we share a few of these “stay busy” opportunities below.
3 ways to stay busy during spring break-up in Canada
1. Fill-in on other rigs
“If guys are willing to work the floors (for example) until their rig goes back to work, they can check-in with us on a weekly basis for opportunities to fill-in on some of our larger pad rigs that are working through break-up,” explained Hennig.
Though these temporary fill-ins may only last a week here or a week there, they’re a great way to make a little extra cash, meet new crews and gain experience on a different rig.
As it’s tough to gauge exact start-up dates, Hennig and her team encourage rig hands to book ticket and training renewals right away; this makes sure they’re ready to rock when the phone rings.
3. Complete Rig Tech training courses
In Canada, drillers, derrickhands, and motorhands train to a journeyman standard through CAODC’s Rig Tech apprenticeship program. In the program, rig hands must log 1,500 hours of on-the-job-training and complete a four-week technical training course for each of the three levels. What better time to complete the technical courses than during break-up?
We want to hear from you!
If earning a spot on one of Trinidad’s well-trained rig crews is a goal of yours, we want to hear from you when the masts begin to rise again. Keep an eye on our careers page for opportunities to submit your resume.
If you’re already part of our Canadian team and are interested in temporary fill-ins or certificate renewals during break-up, give Hennig and her team a call at Trinidad’s Nisku office. In the meantime, tell us how you’re spending your days #OfftheRig using the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.