Sun Country Well Servicing working near Oungre last August. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

ESTEVAN – Things are very busy for Sun Country Well Servicing of Estevan, but the service rig outfit could be busier, if they could find more people.

Brad Bennett, vice president of operations, said on July 25, “People are a big issue. Parts are hard to get for equipment. But overall, it’s very, very busy. The weather’s given us a little problem with being too wet in a lot of places with all the rain we’ve had.”

The company has nine rigs. Seven are working. “That’s all we can man, is seven rigs,” Bennett said.

If they had more people, could they put an eighth in the field?

“Absolutely,” he responded.

“We’re advertising from East Coast to West Coast, and unfortunately there’s not a lot applications coming in,” Bennett said.

Asked about wages, he replied, “We’re paying, I believe, $34 an hour starting wage. And there’s also $1,000 signing bonus.”

For those who stay with the company for a certain number of months, there’s another bonus. “If you stick around you get an extra 1,000 bucks and if you recommend somebody, and they stick around, you get $1,500.”

“We’ve got the full medical benefits packages. We’ve got health, dental, prescription, eyes, matching RRSPs. We’ve got a great benefits package.”

Sun Country Well Servicing could use more hands. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

The company works out of Estevan and Oxbow, as opposed to all over the place like some Alberta firms. “We are all home every night,” Bennett said.

It’s a big change from two years ago. “When COVID hit, we were right down. I think we were running four or five rigs and struggling. And but now it’s extremely busy but I’m not sure where all the people went.”

Workovers and abandonments comprise most of the work, with the federal/provincial Accelerated Wellsite Closure Program concluding at the end of this year.

Bennett expects abandonment work to continue after the program ends, but it won’t be as aggressive.

“There’s some completions going on, but they seem to be shying away from drilling, or so it seems like,” he said.

The rising cost of fuel means they have a fuel surcharge. “We didn’t have a choice, because we went from 90-some cents to $2 a litre, which doubled. I think our fuel costs went from $37 to $95 an hour, so a substantial increase.

 

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