Oilpatch careers in Canada offer opportunity for innovation

'If you look for it, there’s always somewhere you can climb a little bit higher'

By Mario Toneguzzi
L-R: Oil and gas industry workers Noah Warren, Samantha Moen and Ryan Capri. Photos provided to Canadian Energy Centre

Canada’s oilpatch remains an attractive career for thousands of Canadians with the opportunities it presents for innovation, advancement and lucrative compensation. 

Noah Warren, 19, has ties to the industry since he was 15 working in a pipeline company’s yard. He’s finishing up the Petroleum Engineering Technology program at SAIT and has lined up a position as a student oil and gas operator over the summer. 

“The biggest attraction to working in the oil industry as a young person is the pay reflects the work that you put in more than any other profession in my opinion,” said Warren.  

“I really like that there’s opportunity to get both experience working with your hands as well as working in the office, and a huge opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. I know if I ever get tired of doing one thing I can change career paths within the industry and not have to start from scratch.” 

Samantha Moen, 30, a quality control tech with a hydraulic fracturing company and a graduate of SAIT’s program, said that growing up in Calgary she was aware of the oilpatch because it’s such a big part of the city, but not many of her family members had a lot to do with the industry. 

Now working in the sector, Moen said she enjoys discovering the many places in Alberta she has traveled to as well as into the US. 

“If you look for it, there’s always somewhere you can climb a little bit higher,” she said. 

“Purely speaking from my own experience, if you have a drive or a will to learn something, the beauty of this industry is that there’s so many different facets to it that you can always find something to learn if you’re open to it.” 

Ryan Capri, 29, who works as a technical sales manager in the industry and graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Science in Energy Engineering, also a graduate of SAIT’s program, recognizes the ongoing importance of oil and gas.  

“I was very fortunate I found a passion in the industry,” he said.  

“We have such a dependence on fossil fuels, and we don’t recognize that it is there in our daily lives and affords us the quality of life that we have and the technology advances that we continue to see.” 

Capri said the sector also affords people with many opportunities and the ability to support loved ones. 

“This is an industry I can do a two-year diploma in and make a respectable living. There is plenty of opportunity for those who seek it,” he said.  

The oil and gas sector directly employed 139,975 Canadians in 2019, according to new CEC research. Workers saw an average wage of $124,679, compared to an average $56,783 across all jobs in Canada.  

Mark Scholz, CEO of the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors, said that employment in Canada’s oilpatch offers diverse opportunity not found in other places. 

“The one thing I love about the oil and gas sector is you prove yourself not through who you know or your historical background, you prove yourself through what you do,” he said.  

“That to me is something that is very, very special in Western Canada and is very unique in the industry.” 

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