In 1927, two geophysicist brothers—Conrad and Marcel Schumberger—ran the very first wireline at the Pechelbronn Oil Company in France. They attached three conductive cables, batteries and a potentiometer to a weighted probe using insulating tape. They loaded the cables onto a hand-operated winch and lowered it 600 metres where it gathered logging data. The process took 15 hours.
Today, wireline operators use sensors, hydraulics, pressure gauges and motors to unravel the mysteries of an oil well. If this drills down into what you’re looking for, a career as a wireline operator might be a perfect fit.
Wireline operators raise and lower special downhole instruments and tools into oil and gas wells to collect and process data. In general wireline crews lower, operate or direct the operations of wireline instruments, tools and equipment. These can range from electrical well logging equipment (e-line), to perforating guns which are used to perforate well casing and permit oil and gas to flow into the well, to downhole plugs and fishing tools used to retrieve broken or lost wire or equipment. Wireline operators also drive wireline trucks to and from drilling sites. Wireline operators can specialize in cased-hole or open-hole conditions.
Transferability information for this occupation is available on the Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers.
I'm interested in a career in
- Sub-sector Oil and gas services
- Environment Primarily outdoor work
- Average Salary $53,000 to $89,000
- Education High school diploma
- Career Demand Growing
In this occupation activities may include:
- Operating the winch from the truck to lower and raise the instruments or tools
- Lowering, operating and raiding instruments, tools and equipment, such as electrical logging equipment, perforating guns, downhole plugs and fishing tolls used to retrieve broken or lost wire and equipment
- Maintaining records of drilling and servicing operations
- Performing wireline cable tests and re-heads, and undertaking preventative maintenance
- Driving wireline trucks to and from drilling sites
- A high school diploma (or equivalent) is typically required, along with specialized industry courses and three to six months of experience. Working in an offshore environment may require several more years of experience working in the equivalent onshore environment. Some roles, such as open-hole well logging, may require a post-secondary diploma in electronics or engineering technology.
- Standard and emergency first aid
- H2S Alive
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
- Fall protection
- Confined space entry
- Traffic control
- Respirator fit testing
- Aerail lift training
- An air brake endorsement may be required
- In some cases a special oil well operator (boiler) certificate may be required.
- Travel likely required
- Shiftwork/variable work hours
- Primarily outdoor work
- Physical work
- Safety-sensitive environment
- Work away from home/in camps
You are very detail oriented, and work well with your hands. You are a strong communicator, you’re helpful by nature, and you work well in stressful situations. You are physically fit and can lift heavy equipment.
- Public safety and security
- Equipment selection
- Equipment maintenance
- Operation and control
- Operation monitoring
- Complex problem solving