Brian Crossman. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

 

One of the most important skills in the Oilpatch is finding your way to location. It sounds silly, but it is one-hundred percent true. Scratch that, it is THE most important skill. If you can’t find your way to the job, your chance of getting paid is zero. That is not how you want to be remembered. That guy who didn’t show up and didn’t get paid. Don’t be that guy.

Nowadays, there are several excellent location finder apps that you can use for free (or nearly free). OilTrails, Oiltrax, Fractracker, Wellsite Navigator are just a few. We use GFI Latitude to track our trucks and find the best way to locations in order to keep the rural municipalities happy. (They are not impressed when you drive a service rig package on a 5-ton road.) It is very easy to find a wellsite with this great technology. I use it a lot and they can be a great time-saver. (I have also become mentally lazy because of it too…)

I am one-hundred percent sure that everyone reading this (that works in the oilpatch) knows how to read a grid map. But just in case, I thought I would show a little “How-to” on using a lease number to find your way.

How to read a grid map

Write the directions down left to right. Example: 5-31-5-13 W2, which is just northwest of Goodwater.

Read the directions starting from right to left.

Example: 5-31-5-13-W2

W2 means west of the second meridian. In Saskatchewan the change from W1 to W2 is in a north/south line around Glen Ewen on the east side and changes from W2 to W3 near Assiniboia. Everything else that ends in W2 is between those two lines.

  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0020 Sk Oil Show PO Ad 02 speakers with voiceover
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0017 eventworx
  • 0016 Estevan Meter Services
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0009
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002
  • 0001

 

5-31-5-13-W2

The thirteen would mean the increments of six miles (9.6 kilometers for you young-uns) running east and west between the W2 (meridian) line and the W3 (meridian) line.

5-31-5-13-W2

The five would mean the increments of six miles running north and south starting at the US border and going north.

5-31-5-13-W2

The thirty-one represents the one mile by one mile section on the grid map.

5-31-5-13-W2

The five would represent the LSD (Legal Sub Division) within the one mile by one mile section on the grid map.

When finding where you have to go, you have to know where you are. Find a sign with the LSD markings on it then you will know where you are. (You can also use a grid road map of the province which is a big help.)

For example: If the location you are at is 5-31-5-13 W2 and the next location you are to go to the last number before the W2 is a 12, you would go east. If it is a 14 or higher the location would be west of your current location.

If the second last number is lower than 5 you would have to go south from your current location, and if it is higher than 5 you would go north of your current location.

Depending on the last 2 numbers you could also be going NE, NW, SE, or SW of your current location.

Whatever your second number is it will not be lower than 1 or higher than 36, with the 1 starting in the bottom right hand corner, and the 36 always ending in the top right corner.

Here’s a handy example of a township and LSD grid, which many oilpatch companies conveniently print on the back of their business cards. They probably do that to keep their own salesmen from getting lost. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

The LSD card is a 1 mile by 1 mile grid that is set within the section or the second number. That will always start with the lowest number as a 1 in the bottom right hand corner and the highest number will be a 16 on the top right hand corner.

All RMs are 18 miles north/south and 18 miles east/west, with each township & range being 6 miles by six miles. (Thus the last two numbers 5-31-5-13)

  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0020 Sk Oil Show PO Ad 02 speakers with voiceover
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0017 eventworx
  • 0016 Estevan Meter Services
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0009
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002
  • 0001

 

Another helpful hint: most roads north and south are 1 mile apart, while most roads going east and west are 2 miles apart. (For all you younger people, the country was mapped before the metric system; hence it is divided by miles and not kilometres) The information here is for surface locations only; there is more information, numbers and letters to determine the legal location of horizontal wells.

Now I’ll tell you for nothing that I’m sure not going to quit using my OilTrails app, as I love the ease and convenience of finding locations. But if the satellites ever go down or we get that EMP burst that knock out the electronics, you can still navigate your way to location. Or better yet, give directions the way the old boys we used to work for did.

(In a gravelly, slightly agitated voice) “Head out east to Glen Ewen and go south a few miles to the speed curve.

“You’ll see the big red barn, go past that probably six or seven miles, turn south at the road with the power line running alongside it.

“After a bit you’ll see a pasture to the east (NEVER right or left) there should be a horse standing near the corner.

“Turn east and you’ll see three pumpjacks in a row.

“It’ll be the middle one, check the sign to be sure.

“You’ll want to rig up on a bit of an angle ‘cause the old flowline riser will be in the way.” (This ends with a heavy smoker’s cough…)

The grid roads were not always (see rarely) called by the number on the sign. I’m sure a few of you have used and may still use, “the Huntoon Road”, the “Manor Road”, the “Steelman Gas plant Road” and the ever-popular “Neptune corner.” Hell, I still call the #705 corner on #47 Highway the “Halbrite Road.”

(Important note; if part of the directions involved driving past a battery site; it was always called by the name of the oil company that built it, never the current owner. You did the same in order to not get yelled at…)

Sure enough the directions were always accurate, even the damn horse. Hope all this helps a few of you “find your way.”

 

Brian Crossman is a partner at Independent Well Servicing in Estevan and carries his old tattered grid road map in his truck, just in case….(special thanks to Garnet Rasmussen who gave me the “how-to use a grid map” paper years ago.)

 

  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0020 Sk Oil Show PO Ad 02 speakers with voiceover
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0017 eventworx
  • 0016 Estevan Meter Services
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0009
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002
  • 0001

 

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