What fuels the oilpatch?

Weyburn – Quick question: what fuels the oilpatch?

If you thought diesel, or gasoline, you’d be wrong.

Anyone whose worked in the field and has spent time in a doghouse knows it’s coffee.

And that’s why Apex Distribution carries it. And sugar. And cups. Because no one’s turning to the right without their Folgers or Maxwell House. When you walk into the back of their Weyburn shop, it’s the closest thing to the door.

“Rig crews don’t want to drive all over town to pick up a can of coffee,” said Trevor Pandachuk on May 14. The same thing goes for five-gallon jugs of water.

Pandachuk does inside sales with Apex in Weyburn. In his younger days, he worked in the field, doing oilfield maintenance. “I used to work in the field. I worked in maintenance for Midale Petroleums for 16 years. I turned 40 and realized you know, I’m too old for this, pulling pipe wrenches in -30 C.”

Back in 1978, he was driving form his home in Moose Jaw to a party in Estevan when he saw a sign for the distillery in Weyburn. He initially got a job there, but eventually ended up working in the oilpatch.

That perspective of having working in the field is useful when you’re on the other side of the counter, supplying rope, soap and dope. 

Apex specializes in oilfield supply, but they also have safety supplies and provide a fair bit for farmers, especially during seeding and harvest. The hydraulic hose area in the back is particularly important during those times of the year.

Lately, they’ve been selling some water hoses to famers who are trying to fill up their dugouts, Pandachuk said.

He’s one of four people working at Apex’s Weyburn location. Between them, the offer 24/7 on call service. “You’ve got to a little bit of everything,” he said.

“If you need it, we’ll have it, or we’ll get it.”

However, sometimes after a request comes in, there’s a little head scratching as to how they’ll get “it,” whatever “it” is, but that’s part of the job. It could be a pallet of water softener salt, or batteries, or hose.

The store is open 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. “You’ll see customers first thing in the morning, then at the end of the day,” Pandachuk said of their busy times, as crews go out or come in.

Sometimes they’ll get called in after hours as many as three times in one day. “We don’t charge to be on call. It’s a service,” Pandachuk said.

He doesn’t mind being called in, because he used to be the guy on the other end of the phone. “You understand what the guys are doing. Been there, done that. It used to be me, making the call,” he said. “I much prefer being the guy getting the call, and not driving the hours to go fix it.”

At the upcoming Saskatchewan Oil & Gas Show, to be held June 5-6, you’ll likely see Pandachuk moving around on a side-by-side. This year, the 19th show, marks something approaching 38 years that he’s been volunteering for the show, starting right at the beginning.

Pandachuk’s been on the board for 10 or 12 years, he said. “It’s a good board.”

His role is “show services.” What that means is he looks after anything affecting the grounds, facilities, and security. While there are committees looking after different areas, he’s the overview guy.

Every two years he takes two weeks of his own holiday time to work with the show. “It’s a volunteer thing, and you’ve got to step up,” Pandachuk said.

That involves a lot of 10 to 12 hour days over those “holidays,” if you can call them that. 

But this will be the last year he handles show services. He’s not resigning from the board, but he will not be doing the same role. “Trevor Sealy is going to take over for me. I think he’s a good choice. I think he’ll be dedicated.”

“I don’t mind it, but I’m tired,” he said. This is Pandachuk’s fifth show in this role.  

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