Once again climate change has reared its ugly head. Another winter with tropical temperatures and all of us walking around in our shorts and sandals! Awesome! The good people that burned all that jet fuel and ate all the good food and drank the good wine were right. We can sleep soundly knowing that all the money (of ours) they spent/wasted will for surely save us from ourselves. They braved the possibility of contracting COVID as they gathered in Scotland to carefully plan how we would navigate the future by making our lives better…

Whatever they said is sure working. This past week has been minus 30 to minus 50, depending on the wind. Snow in California, Russian ships trapped in the early ice, cars getting towed in to thaw out and just the plain old pain of being cold. My arthritis is also reminding me how cold it is.

But let’s take a break on all this geopolitical carbon usage crap. The big question is, “How do oilpatch workers stay warm in the winter?” Here is a list of some tactics used by me and some other roughneck associates of mine:

  • Dress warm, and in layers. Try to stay dry, and don’t overdress. Moisture is your enemy. Change your socks during the day.
  • Carb up. Eats lots of nutritious food that gives you energy and fuel to burn. (Not Redbull)
  • Keep moving. Don’t sit still, always be in constant motion.
  • Stay out of the wind. You know that nice, lazy Saskatchewan wind. (We call it lazy because it would sooner go through you than around you)
  • Meditate until you conjure the sun in the center of your chest. (Taught to me by a Shaolin Kung Fu master many years ago.)

Now for the bad news. On a really cold day on the Saskatchewan prairie, none of this works. Not a chance. Try being in the derrick for four to five hours in the wind at -30. You are gonna be cold. Sorry dude, it is what it is. The only refuge is in the doghouse, and that’s only for a short time.

So how do those guys survive? What is it that makes them say “F—-it, I’m outta here!” Really, why not go get a warmer, indoor job? Less money, but less pain and suffering.

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There are really just two basic reasons the guys stick it out during the extreme cold. Money and pride. The money is the one the guys will tell you is number one. But it’s not really the cash, but what the cash allows you to do. That floorhand can buy the 4X4 with the 6” lift he’s been dreaming about. The derrickhand is saving for a down payment on his first house. Its Christmas presents for the kids, that weekend at the hotel with the waterslides, a trip to Mexico. Just to keep up with the mundane everyday bills. It’s a good feeling when the credit card balance is a zero, isn’t it, especially this time of year?

But deep down, it’s the pride. The pride of a job well done, working in a team environment. Toughing it out on the toughest of days, especially the brutally cold ones. Working on weekends and holidays, when others are warm and cozy with their families. You are out with your rig family, making sure the supply of cheap energy is readily available. (At Christmas, we drove to BC to visit family, and every time I gassed up the vehicle, I said a quiet thanks to our energy industry workers, from the wellhead to the refinery) The people out doing the jobs most normal people just won’t do because it’s HARD.

 

So what keeps these guys warm during the cold snaps? A good, positive mental attitude. The warm clothes and the doghouse heaters sure help, but its knowing you are doing a tough job most won’t and you’ll have the money to live your best life. Basically, happy positive thoughts and attitude are what keep you going.

Now, here is the problem for our political leaders who believe positive attitudes and progressive platitudes will keep us warm. They don’t. Cheap plentiful energy provided by fossil fuels does. This where the problem lies. They seem to lack the foresight to understand a transition to 100 per cent “green” energy can’t happen overnight. Building fields of solar panels and windmills isn’t gonna do it. When we get these cold snaps (very common in this part of the world), we are not using sound logic. They wish to impoverish the population with ridiculously high energy bills just for the need to stay warm. I guess what I’m trying to say that while a good positive attitude helps, it must be mixed in with some good, sound logic. The same logic a roughneck uses when he hangs his boot liners out to dry at night, also applies to the future of energy. Keep things moving, and use some common sense. How about that all you politicians and world leaders?

 

Brian Crossman is a partner with Independent Well Servicing in Estevan, Sask. and speaks fluent sarcasm….

He is currently thanking all the people who keep the power on and the fuel and natural gas flowing. Pretty damn handy at minus 33 (minus 49 wind chill). You people are the absolute best!

P.S. One more thing for the list, My first driller (JR) told me this years ago: “Remember, no matter how cold and uncomfortable you are, you will soon be in your home eating a hot meal and enjoying the warmth.” JR was right, the tough days always end. This also applies to governments. They never last forever, and someday we will have some leaders with common sense.

 

  • 0029 Latus Viro updated Latus phone
  • 0031 Lloydminster_Heavy_Oil_Show_2022
    0031 Lloydminster_Heavy_Oil_Show_2022
  • 0027 TED_NA Helium 2021_30
  • 0028 SIMSA_Energy_Forum_2022
  • 0025 Kendalls
  • 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002
  • 0001

 

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