Day in the Life: Steve – Well Testing Operator

“Hi, I’m Steve Dumontet and I’ve been working in the patch for about a year and a half now. When I got out of high school I apprenticed as a cabinetmaker but it was pretty boring work. Then a friend who was working on a well testing crew told me there was a job available and the money sounded good.

Our crew is just about the last people at a well before it starts sending oil and gas down a pipeline. We do tests to get information on things like flow rate, pressure, salinity, or anything else the operator wants to know about what’s going on down there.

In the winter when it’s busy, we go from job to job with just a couple of days off in between. I don’t mind the hours, because as well as a base salary I get a day rate on the job, so the more I work, the more I make. We travel to well sites all over Western Canada, so it really varies from job to job, and that keeps things interesting. The only part of this job I don’t like is being away from home for so long at a time.

Anyone who wants to work on a well testing crew has to get used to working outside. It can get really cold in the winter, especially if there’s a wind chill. In the summer it can be great, although when you’re carrying heavy pipe around it can get pretty hot. Personally, I don’t mind the weather because I like being outdoors.

Each testing crew has a supervisor, an operator and an assistant operator. I’m the operator on my shift, which means that after the supervisor I’m in charge. I take care of the equipment and fix it if it needs it.”

Company: Central Production Testing

Location: Calgary, AB

Base Salary Range: $42,000 – $63,000, plus most companies offer additional compensation in the form of field pay and / or a day rate.

Education: Grade 12 preferred

Advancement: Potential to move up to supervisor or project manager, with an annual salary of $100,000 – $150,000.

Salary, education and advancement may vary from company to company.

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