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Five Minutes With Fircroft: Canada’s Oil and Gas Industry

17/04/2014
Fircroft CanadaCanada is one of the giants of the global oil and gas industry. The country currently boasts the third largest oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and poised to produce approximately 6.5 million barrels a day by 2025. The industry focuses around a regional hub in Alberta, with many large scale projects currently in progress in this region.

Permanent or Contract?
The nature of the Canadian oil and gas industry is extremely contractor biased at the moment, due to the nature of the current projects currently taking place in the Athabasca Oil Sands, Cold Lake and Peace River areas. This means that whilst we do have some permanent roles on offer, our current focus is on filling the many new contract roles we have coming in on a weekly basis.

Due to Canada’s tight engineering standards and codes of conduct, the majority of our roles are currently filled by Canadian nationals. This is due to requirements such as the need for a professional engineer designation from the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers in order to qualify for some of the opportunities.
 
However, we are able to bring increasing numbers of international candidates on board through various trade agreements, such as NAFTA. It’s common for us to bring in engineers from fellow commonwealth countries such as Australia, as well as from the neighbouring United States.
 
Sub-Sectors and Disciplines
The landscape of Canada’s oil and gas industry is comprised of both upstream (extraction and production) and midstream (transportation and storage) activity. The upstream portion focuses around oils ands production, whilst the midstream pipeline industry is booming in areas such as Calgary, Alberta.
 
The challenge of putting thousands of miles of pipeline through Canada’s mountainous and aqueous terrain is no mean feat. Because of this, our clients are always on the lookout for contractors with experience of successfully channelling pipelines through mountains and/or across rivers. There are many major pipeline projects in the region at the moment including long distance lines running from north Alberta all the way to America’s Gulf Coast.

Future Development: Environmental Processes and LNG
The future of the oil and gas industry in Canada is looking very positive. The current boom means we expect the industry to expand enormously this year. The unconventional nature of the oil sands here means that the focus is also on unconventional extraction processes. Therefore, we expect many opportunities to develop for those with experience of the environmental elements of safe extraction processes, such as steam assisted gravity drainage.
 
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is also one of the areas which we expect tog row. We’re recruiting for a lot of roles in this area at the moment and this trend looks set to continue. For example, we’ve recently been finding candidates for roles on a new project that is in its very early stages. Currently, the project is at the feed stage which involves the engineering design for a huge facility. Unsurprisingly, this needs a lot of man power which we are helping to provide and we expect to see more opportunities like this over the coming years.

With plans to build oil refineries on Canada’s west coast which will mean less reliance on US refineries and the opportunity to ship to Asian markets, the future of Canada’s oil and gas industry certainly looks bright.

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