While working as a semi truck driver hauling goods over long distances provides you with independence and flexible scheduling, you can use your qualifications as a driver to apply for jobs in other industries. If you are looking for job in a high-growth sector with a chance to enter a management position, you should consider working in the oil and gas industry as a coil tubing operator.
Coil Tubing Basics
Oil and natural gas operators must constantly monitor the performance of their wells. If wells develop problems that hamper production or put employee safety at risk, companies must figure out the best solution to correct the issues. The process of coil tubing is among those solutions.
Coil tubing involves inserting a continuous length of metal tubing into a well to modify, clean and cement equipment. The massive spools that hold coils of metal tubing are thousands of feet long and sit on semi trucks and specialty rigs operated by workers with a commercial driver's license (CDL).
Drivers transport the coiled tubing over long distances to wells that require maintenance. The coil tubing process removes sand and other contaminants from wells. Coiled tubing also enables oil companies to pump chemicals to the bottom of a well independent of the effects of gravity and to break through rock deep into the ground.
Job Qualifications and Duties
With your CDL and experience as a long or short-haul truck driver, you already meet one of the main qualifications to become a coil tube operator. Like traditional truck drivers, coil tube operators must adhere to a variety of provincial and federal safety regulations and maintain daily logs of their work.
In addition to holding a valid CDL, you should also have premium connections and experience working in a variety of outdoor conditions and be physically fit so you can lift equipment safely. Some companies offer additional on-the-job training in coil tubing.
Other job duties of coil tube operators include:
- Monitoring and controlling coiled tubing from a semi truck control cabin
- Operating different types of pumps, reels and support equipment attached to trucks
- Filling out paperwork for submission to regulatory authorities
- Working with teams of other drivers and oil field workers
- Wearing protective equipment
You job duties may also include operating forklifts and cranes, positions that also require a CDL.
While you may see generic job listings for coil tube operators, specific job titles that require a CDL and truck driving experience include cement operator and bulk transport operator. Depending on the location of your job and your position, you may be required to work on a rotational schedule and be on call during heavy production periods. However, if you are an experienced long-haul truck driver, you already have experience working nontraditional schedules.
If you have an interest in management, you can apply for supervisor positions after obtaining several years of experiences as an operator. Supervisors not only manage work crews, they also keep tabs on safety inspections and equipment maintenance. Supervisors also make site visits to monitor job progress and meet with customers.
Job Settings and Industry Outlook
Canada is among the leading oil and natural gas producers in the world. The majority of the country's petroleum fields are located in Alberta, also known as the energy province. You can apply for jobs that require CDL experience at oilfields and natural gas operations close to metropolitan areas or work in beautiful, remote regions of the province. In addition, you can work directly for an oil or natural gas company or look for a position with many of the firms that support the industry.
Coiled tubing firms are among the fastest growing businesses in the petroleum industry. In fact, there are more companies providing coiled tubing services to oil companies in Canada than in the United States according to the Intervention and Coiled Tubing Association. Therefore, if you choose to enter the coiled tubing sector operating specialty trucks, you will enjoy the benefits of working in a high-growth industry with plenty of employment opportunities.