Lloydminster – Garrison Oilwell Servicing out of Lloydminster is experiencing a similar labour situation that other service rig outfits around Saskatchewan have – that they could use a few more hands.
Bev Garrison, who owns the company with her husband Darryl, spoke to Pipeline Newson Nov. 7. She said, “It depends what day you ask me. I kind of am right now. We’ve been doing not too bad, then all of a sudden you lose a couple guys, then you gain a couple, then you lose one. We’re just kind of hovering. It’s like I need to gain a few more, extra.”
The company has five service rigs. “Today we have three working. We were at four. For a few days, we were at five, but that was making us very lean. We’re good with four,” she said.
It’s a family-owned and operated business, and has been for around 42 years now. Like several other of the companies Pipeline News has spoken to, management has had to fill in at times when they are short hands. Sheldon Garrison, their field supervisor, does that on occasion, as an example.
Most of the family still works with the outfit, but, she said, “This downturn has been hard on that, too. Two of our family members are now working in different places, their choice. We got really slim for a few years.”
“It’s definitely been slower, but this last year we’ve actually perked up quite a bit. July and August were really slow for us. A lot of that was the rain. We couldn’t get permits to move.”
When that happens, the workers sit, just as the company sits. However, she added, “We’re really good at keeping our equipment up, but there’s only so much shop time we can do. We encourage them, on those days, anything that needs to be done on your equipment, get it done. Do your shop time. But if it goes on too long, once you have everything tip top, there’s really not a lot more you can do.
“If you can’t get permits to move, you don’t want to be doing stuff where you’re laying in the mud, either.”
Bev does the hiring. Asked if she could snap her fingers, how many people would show up, looking for work, she replied, “I’d probably get five, a whole crew.”
A lot of their recruitment is by word of mouth, and they do some advertising as well.
“Pretty much everywhere has felt the effects of this bad environment, to say the least, and its gone on for quite a while,” she said.
“We follow the CAODC recommended wage schedule,” she said.
Bev appreciates the fact that the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), of which they are a member, has been standing up for the industry.
“It’s been a great organization for us, and I like the fact they’ve gotten more politically out there,” she said.
“People are so silly,” she said, noting that simply brushing her teeth, she noticed of everything on her vanity. “How many products that the petroleum industry had touched?”
She pointed to a TV commercial where everything made out of petroleum disappeared from a man’s life. “It’s like, everything. It’s too bad that isn’t taken more to heart. These kids that are protesting – you know what? Parents, take your kids phones and all their electronics from them. Put them in a sod hut in the back yard, because that’s what they’re preaching they want the country to be, on their phones, sitting in their heated or air conditioned homes, trying to cram this down everyone’s throats.
“You know what? You live in a house with no running water. You don’t like it. Experiences we forget. We moved forward for a reason. I don’t think the pioneers loved their sod houses. Between this lifestyle, and the lifestyle back then, I think we know what the choice would be,” Bev said.
Quite a few of Garrison’s people took part in the convoy that went down the main drag of Lloydminster.