An Independent Well Servicing crew working new Stoughton in 2020. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

Back during the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show, the Education Minister for Saskatchewan, Jeremy Cockrill, announced a new Grades 11 and 12 Oil and Gas course will be available online through the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Centre. Teine Energy has generously offered $150,000 to support this endeavor. This, of course, was applauded by all of us in the industry. Many of us can see that the oilpatch labour force is dwindling to some extent, and if we stand by and watch, it will be difficult to operate an industry that contributes over 1.2 billion dollars to the provincial coffers in the not-too-distant future. That is revenue crucial to running the province, funding healthcare, education, infrastructure, social programs, and many other things we all require in “The Skatch.” So, it makes sense that we should give young people who are interested a basic understanding of what the industry entails.

Many people will fear or even hate this initiative. This is natural, as the media and some in our education system (sorry teachers, correct me if I’m wrong) often portray oil and gas as horrible and the cause of many of the world’s problems today. (The correct answer of course is politicians, just kidding, we need them too) I have noticed several comments online to confirm this fear and loathing. One person commented, “Why, stop there?” “Pull those kids out of grade 11 and get them out on the rigs.” Now, I understand this fella’s disdain for the Saskatchewan Party is the fuel behind the comment, and this was his way of lashing out. (Side note; you must be 18 to work on a rig here) But my friend has missed the point. The idea is not to send them out to trip pipe, the idea is to educate the students who are interested in a career in oil and gas ahead of time to give them a “head start” so they come into the industry better prepared than we were years ago. A better-prepared workforce will do an infinitely better job of improving the industry as they move forward.

I also noted a comment from someone else making the comment that we might as well teach a class on buggy manufacturing. This person claimed this developing a class like this is the functional equivalent of a class on the tobacco industry written by the tobacco industry. He went on to comment that oil and gas is slowly polluting the ground and air over time. I’m not going to debate anyone about how the world works in modern times, and the trouble that comes with it. You can point at fossil fuels, fertilizer, pesticides, processed food and many others that are contributing factors, but can a population of this size survive without them? The same can be said of nuclear power, big pharma and other modern technology the human race may not need to survive, but these things keep us living longer, and not living in huts and caves.

I guess I’m saying we can get by without tobacco, but good luck surviving with out oil and gas. If people are suggesting we quit trying to teach future generations about the energy industry, then step up with a better alternative. “Mr. Fusion” from Back to The Future is a few years away at this time. Often the people making the most noise against our industry also enjoy the many benefits of fossil fuels (transportation by car and plane for starters). I know of one person who claims to hate what fossil fuels are doing to the planet, but she goes on multiple ocean cruises each year. Not exactly doing her part to “save the planet.”

  • 0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
    0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
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    0078 LHOS 2024
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    0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
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    0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
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    0076 Latus only
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    0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
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    0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
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    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
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    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
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    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
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    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
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    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
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    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
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    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
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Teaching the next generation will only make the industry better. Safer, cleaner and more efficient. That’s the beauty of getting a head start with these young minds is viewing the industry with a set of fresh, young eyes. I am of the opinion that this will accelerate the industry down a path to become more environmentally friendly at a faster rate than it already is. These kids can program your smart phone or television remote at light-speed compared to us older folks. Just imagine what they can do for the oil and gas industry. The short- and long-term improvements from the next generation of better educated workers would secure Canda’s place as a world leader in energy production.

Historically, we have been our own worst enemy. We have sat back and done nothing (actually, too busy working) to say enough is enough to the naysayers and media. We are getting better at promoting our industry but have still not done as well as we need to. But initiatives such as this will go a long way to help. This will most likely be industry-funded, so the taxpayer burden will be minimal. We don’t need more regulation and bureaucracy, just smart people willing to do things the right way.

I would like to finish with a few words for the hypocrites mentioned earlier (and others of their ilk). If you are against fossil fuels, quit using them. Just stop. Walk, ride your bicycle or skateboard. Buy an EV even. Oh yeah, they are built with material derived from fossil fuels, the materials in the batteries are mined with equipment running on fossil fuels, and they are likely charged using fossil fuels to generate the electricity. And as if that wasn’t enough, the food you eat everyday is grown, harvested and shipped using, you guessed it, fossil fuels. So, when an industry that produces a product that you use every single day in one way or another wants to teach young people about the possibilities of a career in the energy sector, just say thanks. Or if you are still upset, say nothing. But please continue to enjoy the many conveniences of modern life brought to you by the good people working in the oil and gas sector.

You’re welcome.

 

Brian Crossman is a partner at Independent Well Servicing. He would like to remind everyone that the oil and gas industry is more than “working the rigs.” It is science, engineering, accounting and so much more. Not everyone gets their hands dirty. Just the really lucky ones!

Editor’s note: last week, Brian Crossman, Colan Trail and I sat down and put together an outline of what we think should be in the curriculum for these new oil and gas classes. We will be sending this to the ministry in the next week or two. Hopefully they take note. 

 

  • 0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
    0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
  • 0078 LHOS 2024
    0078 LHOS 2024
  • 0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
    0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
  • 0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
    0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
  • 0076 Latus only
    0076 Latus only
  • 0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
    0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
  • 0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
    0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0002 gilliss casing services
    0002 gilliss casing services
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 9001

 

Crowdsourcing a curriculum for the new Oil & Gas 20 and 30 high school classes