FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Students in search of safety and rig training for employment in the oil and gas industry will soon turn to Northern Lights College, thanks to generous contributions from government and industry partners.
Work is underway at the College’s Fort St. John Campus to install a full-sized drilling rig. The rig will become a focal point of the Simulated Well Site Training Facility that has been developed in conjunction with the Jim Kassen Industry Training Centre/Oil and Gas Centre of Excellence. The Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, recently announced $930,000 in funding.
“Ensuring that students have access to practical training facilities for careers within the oil and gas industry is important for our Western economy,” said Bob Zimmer, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “Our Government is working to ensure the next generation is ready to prosper from the opportunities this industry has to offer so that our region’s economy can continue to create jobs and growth.”
The simulated well site training facility is a three acre fenced compound in the southwest corner of the college property. Within the compound, a gravel pad over geotextile matting has been laid to simulate a typical, all weather well site.
“This drilling rig project has been part of the vision for the Fort St. John Campus for more than a decade. Now that it is coming to fruition, the rig quickly will become a focal point in helping to provide skilled and trained workers to meet the needs of our partners in the oil and gas industry,” said Laurie Rancourt, President and CEO of Northern Lights College.
Shehtah LP has donated the 40-metre triple-cantilever, beam-leg mast drilling rig, appraised at approximately $5.5 million. The drilling rig includes a 40-metre cased and cellared hole for drilling purposes. Once in place, students will be able to follow the steps involved in oil and gas extraction and subsequent service requirements from production to processing. In addition, cosmetic tie-ins will increase the realism and enable students to become familiar with the operation of a typical well site.
“Nabors Canada is proud to donate Drilling Rig 62 to NLC for the Simulated Well Site Training Facility, as it will complement the Well Service rig previously donated,” said Joe Bruce, President and CEO of Nabors Canada. “Also, I would like to thank Shehtah Drilling for their support with this donation. The on-site rig will enhance the hands-on training aspect and give students the competencies required to pursue careers in the oil and gas drilling industry.”
A number of companies and organizations have contributed to the project. Shell Canada provided a $100,000 donation, as well as supplying a site supervisor at a value of $1,500 per day. Mullen Oilfield Service contributed $120,000 in-kind for rig transportation and storage. Swanberg Bros. Trucking will supply equipment and personnel to relocate and assemble the drilling rig at the Fort St. John Campus. Encana Corporation contributed $100,000 during a cheque presentation held in May.
The industry-sponsored Science and Community Environmental Knowledge (SCEK) Fund, that supports applied research related to environmental and social values associated with oil and gas exploration and development in B.C., provided a $50,000 contribution for preliminary site work and rig transportation from Edson, Alberta. Sure Point provided an in-kind donation of assistance (of a value still to be determined) in developing the site plan, and supplying a site supervisor.
Other companies continue to come forward with donations of products and services as the project progresses. A full list of contributors will be publicized as part of the official opening, expected to be held in Fall 2012.
“Our goal is to hire local people and support the development of the communities in which we operate. With this program we know the College will be able to attract the best talent, and we, in turn, will get the best operators,” said Rej Tetrault, Operations Manager for Shell’s Groundbirch asset.
“We feel the completed facility will directly benefit the residents of northeast B.C. and enhance the labour force required for the oil and gas industry. Mullen Oilfield Services believes in supporting partnerships for industry incentives that advance the benefits for the local economy,” said Richard Henning of Mullen Oilfield Services LP.
“We recognize the significance of the northeast B.C. region as an industry resource hub and we're proud to sponsor Northern Lights College and its Simulated Well Site Training Facility. The Jim Kassen Industry Training Centre will help to prepare a skilled and local workforce to respond to industry needs and the continued growth of the oil and gas sector,” said Jim Roberts, Encana's Vice President of the Cutbank Ridge Business Unit.
“This project is an excellent example of a partnership among educational institutions, industry and government providing direct benefits to the local community. The Science and Community Environmental Knowledge Fund looks forward to working with the partnership to build locally skilled workers who are trained in the safe operation of oil and gas equipment in a sector with significant growth projections,” said Geoff Morrison, SCEK Steering Committee member, and Manager, B.C. Operations, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.
Currently, NLC offers Oil and Gas Field Operations, Power Engineering and Gas Processing, Electrician, and Heavy Duty Technician programs, in addition to dozens of Workforce Training safety courses at the Fort St. John Campus. A new program in Rig Technician Apprentice, and additional training courses developed in conjunction with training and industry partners are also being examined.
NLC’s Dr. Peter Nunoda, Vice President of Education and Laurie Rancourt, President; Mike Forgo, Vice President Business Services and Stakeholder Relations for Encana Corporation, and Jim Roberts, Vice President, Encana Cutbank Ridge Business Unit.