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Interview with Preston Reum, Chairman of the CAODC Service Rig Division

Tuesday, 01 Jul 2014

The July issue of The Roughneck always trains its editorial focus on the industry's service rig sector.  In the July 2014 issue, The Roughneck interviewed the Chairman of CAODC's Service Rig Division, Preston Reum.

1) As the CAODC Service Rig Division Chairman, could you please describe the state of today's well servicing sector, and if there's any improvements you'd like to see made.

The service rig fleet is in a stable period right now, with an increase in activity expected to come. Horizontal drilling has opened all kinds of opportunities for service rigs. These wells require more maintenance than the shallow vertical wells that dominated drilling programs ten years ago. In terms of improvement, CAODC has had some successes working with western provincial governments on harmonization. This helps rigs easily operate across provincial borders.

Harmonization makes for a more efficient business environment, which ultimately creates savings for our clients. Increasing harmonization between B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba is a high priority for the Association. Accomplishing that will be very beneficial for the service rig sector.

2) What do you foresee for the remainder of 2014, and carrying into 2015?

Industry activity has been strong so far in 2014. The drilling fleet is projecting over 11,000 wells this year. This is a promising indicator for future service rig work.

The conversation around pipelines is also promising. Canada needs to expand its pipeline infrastructure so that our product can reach the right markets. For many decades, Canadians have done well selling oil and gas to the United States, but future demand will be in Asian markets.

People are looking ahead with optimism. Seeing the Northern Gateway pipeline pass the approval stage is a great development. We have incredible access to Asian markets. B.C. ports are closer to Asia than any other North American ports, and this is definitely an advantage for Canadian oil and gas.

3) How can the well servicing sector improve on its stability, and entice more people to join the workforce?

As a contract business, service rigs are always dependent on market demand. So if the Canadian industry is able to tap into areas of the world that have high demand, then we’ll be better positioned to offer our employees a stable work environment. Of course, this is a cyclical industry. We’re always going to have ramp up. It’s very important for this industry to have good resources for attracting and training new people.

CAODC’s Service Rig Competency Program is not only a training program. It helps position service rig work as a career path. New employees are able to see the knowledge base and the skills that are gained through service rig work.

CAODC is making some great strides in talking about the service rig sector as a career opportunity. The CAODC Service Rig Division has its own website – www.ServiceRigDrive.ca – and we’re more active reaching out with a message about the sector’s safety record and career options.

4) How important is safety to the sector, and how has safety grown in the last few years?

This is the most critical objective of any service rig contractor, and CAODC members support a safety culture of continuous improvement.

It’s worth noting that our people have done some extraordinary work on the safety front. This is thanks to the leadership in the field – drillers and rig managers – and also thanks to the management teams behind them. Our field employees are making the right choices for a ‘safety-first’ work environment.

5) What safety initiatives does the CAODC have in place?

Training resources do a great deal to advance the cause of safety. CAODC provides several training resources, such as the Service Rig Driver Training Program and the Service Rig Competency Program. But also, CAODC’s committee network is a great resource for rig safety professionals.

The safety committee network is one of the best resources CAODC offers to members. I’ve been the chair of the CAODC Safety and Technical Committee for 10 years. CAODC’s safety committees are made up of passionate and engaged safety professionals who really want to play a part in helping the industry continue to improve.

When any of these committees meet, the first item on the agenda is a roundtable. Committee members share recent events that relate to site safety. “Learning and Sharing” covers topics relating to incidents or near-misses. It’s a way to quickly raise awareness throughout the industry.

6) Could you please provide a personal background of yourself, and why is the CAODC so successful?

I started working on service rigs as a summer job in 1986 and 1987. By 1988, I was working in the industry full time.

The service rig industry has been a very rewarding career for me. There is great opportunity for any individual to also have a rewarding career. My tips for a rewarding career: good attitude, desire to learn, focused, hard-working, take pride, have passion for what you do, always fit for duty, enjoy your day!

We have a great team at Essential Well Service. It’s a team that’s really striving to always be the best in what we offer, whether that’s safety performance, fleet performance or customer service.

CAODC is marking its 65 anniversary this year. I think the Association has endured for so long because this industry has a great volunteer spirit. CAODC members are very committed to the Association and provide significant volunteer hours. And because the CAODC has been around for so long, this volunteer spirit is simply part of Canada’s rig sector. When CAODC takes on initiatives, CAODC members readily come to the table with their time and their resources. Teamwork makes things happen. And this is true for the Association.

From membership volunteers to CAODC staff, Canadian service rigs benefit from the team environment made possible by CAODC’s coordination.