THE OIL PATCH, Everywhere – In a brief reprieve from our unusual style of reporting oil and gas news, I wanted to write a bit of truth for a change. The Patch is down on its luck, there is no doubt about that. Even if it were to turn around tomorrow, the wolves are ready and waiting at the end of the lane for its triumphant stroll back to business as usual.
With many friends, family members, and colleagues bearing the weight of the hardship of this downturn, I wanted to take a look at who it is that so many people outside of our industry see fit to trample with condescension and insults, falsities, and stereotypes.
In the oil and gas industry, technical and office staff get up at 5 in the morning, start getting ready for work while our coffee or tea brews. We wake our kids up to get ready for school because our days start early, not like other 9-5 careers. As we all get ready to head out the door, there are forgotten mitts, maybe a lunch bag or a hat left behind some days, just like everyone else.
We arrive at the office to a slew of emails from the previous day and night, from our field staff and contractors, hopefully not bearing bad operational news but occasionally it is. We move through our day doing our best, taking a coffee break with friends, laughing about something we read in the news, teasing the geophysicist, picking on the geologist and berating the engineer (all while the landman laughs at us all).
We get back to work and finish up our maps and our plans, our budgets and our proposals, readying ourselves for next week’s executive presentation or shareholder update. We leave the office site recycling our daily consumables and head home to pick up our kids, hear about their day and the day of our spouse, make dinner and try our best to get everyone to settle down for a decent family meal. The kids do their homework and get a story, or play outside for a bit if it’s nice, then off to bed. And repeat.
Field staff experience a different end of this spectrum, but much the same nonetheless. We leave for work for weeks at a time, or long days at the least. We say goodbye to our family before they awake and are usually home after they are back to sleep. We live in our trucks and our shacks and our camps, every day making the best of the solitude with our coworkers and friends in the field, all of whom struggle with the same scenario every day.
We work hard to make sure goals and targets are met, we work long hours to help our office and technical counterparts achieve their milestones and keep us employed. We do everything we can to ensure the safety of our colleagues and the preservation of the usually remote regions and environments within which we work. We are not maniacal evil geniuses out to destroy the world for 1 trillion Dollars, we are just here to work safely and efficiently to provide for our families back home. That’s what it boils down to.
We are all just people making living. We are not the owners, or the multi-millionaire investors that people associate with the oil and gas industry when they get angry and excited in the news. We are not anti-ecosystem terrorists. We are not the ones responsible for high gasoline prices or energy costs. We are just people making our way the same way anyone else does. Hard work at our job and hard work at home for our families.