Driller training rebounds in Alberta as oil prices stabilize

Bundled up “like a snowman” on a wind-whipped Precision Drilling rig in wintry eastern Alberta, rookie hand Dan Brook says he couldn’t feel more removed from his childhood home on the south coast of England.

For the 32-year-old, whose family moved to Canada 20 years ago, his new profession offers hope of a better life after 15 years working at low-paying hotel and mechanic shop jobs in Alberta and New Brunswick.

“I would like to see it as a career,” he says. “As of right now, definitely, I’m just going to throw myself into it as if I plan on doing it for the rest of my life and go from there.”

Brook isn’t yet sure how much money he’s going to make or how his shifts are going play out, but he already knows keeping his job depends on oil prices set in New York and London.

Recent oil price stability over US$50 per barrel and optimism sparked by the announcement in November of production cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC producers have resulted in rising numbers of oilpatch workers registering for courses at Enform, the industry’s primary safety training organization.

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