Build a Solid Career in the Oil Sands Industry

It is a well known fact that the petroleum deposits from all over the world are beginning to decline, but there is one place where the oil exploration is rapidly gaining importance. In Canada and Venezuela were found large deposits of oil sands that are effectively exploited through advanced refining technologies.

The reserves of oil sands were recently discovered in a Canadian area that was supposed to contain only tar sands. The oil sands are actually reserves of bitumen, thick viscous oil that requires an intensive process of transformation before it turns into crude oil. In addition, it will be diluted with lighter hydrocarbons that will make it easier to flow into the pipelines network.

The oil sands are dug up by using huge dump trucks, moved into the processing refineries where they are transformed into crude oil. It requires almost two tones of oil sands to produce one barrel of oil. The oil companies use water separation which encapsulates the grains of sand and keep it separate from the oil.

In case the bitumen reserves are buried at too deep (over 75 meters) underground in situ recovery are exploited using mining techniques. Other methods include:

  • Cyclic steam stimulation (CSS);
  • Steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). The methods use the steam injection in order to bring the bitumen to surface.
  • Vapor recovery extraction;
  • Pulse technology.

Therefore, numerous oil companies have invested lots of money into the oil sands production and it seems that it's all paying off now. Thanks to the latest technologies available in the oil industry, the costs for producing oil from the oil sands deposits is lower and the price of the final product is permanently increasing. The only difficulty that the oil sands industry has to overcome is the lack of experienced workers.

Choosing a career in the oil sands industry means that you will have to spend a long time in remotes regions of Canada. Another aspect of an oil sands job is that you must consider is that the schedule includes long hours of physically demanding work. But you will fast forget about the bad aspects of this job when you will see how good the payment is. For all you jobseekers out there, here are some of the positions available in the oil sands industry:

  1. If you are looking for employment as a Welder, you can expect a salary somewhere around , 000 a year. The oil sands job will require you to work with pipes and weld them together.
    • It is very important to have a strong knowledge of the safety regulations as you will be involved in the fabrication, design and implementation of the oil projects.
  2. Environmental Engineer is a popular position among jobseekers, especially those who are concerned about conserving the natural environment. This oil sands job involves having an important role in assessing the impact of the drilling project on the natural environment. Usually, this job requires you to:
    • Visit and assess the area where the drilling is performed;
    • Obtaining the resource contents for the prospect drilling project;
    • Communicating the relevant aspects to the technical crew;
    • Use the computer systems and obtain an accurate assessment of the range of the environmental implications of the drilling or refining process of the petroleum.
  3. Geologists will have to study the composition and the structure of the earth in the area that is supposed to contain petroleum reserves. By examining the stones, the mineral deposits and by applying the principles of disciplines such as chemistry or biology, the geologist will help locating the areas with mineral deposits and implicitly, petroleum.
    • This job requires preparing maps and geological reports;
    • The payments and the relocation facilities are more than satisfactory.
  4. Looking for an oil sands job as a Mechanical Engineer is an easy task when it comes to this industry. There are lots of such available positions and you will have more chances if you have a Mechanical engineering degree or a degree in engineering sciences, as well as experience in the field. Though, some employers might focus on the skills of the persons that wants to build a career as mechanical engineer:
    • Technical knowledge;
    • The ability to combine the scientific knowledge with the practical situations that can occur during the project;
    • Creativity in coming with useful solutions;
    • Good communication skills;
    • Organizational skills and effective time-planning.
    • IT skills are an advantage;
  5. Working as a Mineral Reservoir Engineer requires you to study the characteristics and the development of the bitumen reservoir in order to determine the future production. Your assessments will lead to a profitable production of bitumen and consequently, of crude oil.
  6. In case you are in an oil sands job search, here is what you should be expected to do as a mineral reservoir engineer:

    • To estimate the potential of the bitumen reservoir and thus establish it's value and the investment that needs to be done;
    • To make a simulation of the evolution of the natural reserves over time by using performing computers;
    • To identify the locations where the wells need to be positioned in order to maintain the bitumen rate;
    • To research the enhanced bitumen recovery options;
    • Work closely with the team of other professionals, such as geophysicists or geologists.
    • Computer System Analyst is a position that is not usually to be finding as an entry-level one in the oil sands industry. In case you have the necessary certifications and experience which we will mention below, your task is to design and modify the computer systems of the oil company in order to improve the production flow.
    • You will work with all the employer's information, reports, plans, accounting files or scheduling;
    • Contacting the specialists and evaluate the procedures that he will work with;
    • After the acceptance of the system, the computer systems analyst will prepare the specifications for the team of programmers to follow.

    Job requirements:

    • Training or experience in engineering or scientific applications;
    • Degree in computer science, information systems or data processing are preferred;
    • Attention for details;
    • The ability to concentrate;
    • Good communication skills, as you will have to work with a team of programmers;
    • Update your knowledge in the field permanently, and keep up with the progresses of the technology.