Oil companies are shifting their focus for the future from politically fractured places to places where oil comes out of the rock, only when it’s fractured.
In many cases, that is the old United States. This change is not a drop in the bucket of oil, it is more like a revolution in the oil industry. Why? Because the US is likely to be the world’s largest oil and gas producing nation by 2020, if PFC Energy, a Washington DC-based consulting firm, is correct. That means a lot more pipe welders will be working in America from now on.
Political risk in other countries is part of this new oil picture, and political and economic headwinds in the US could cause more than a boom soon.
Shell Oil, for example, says it would rather face the technical and environmental challenges of complicated new drilling methods, such as shale fracturing and super-deepwater drilling in the US and other politically secure countries, rather than of running the risk of operating in less than stable or hostile countries, where it is relatively easy to get oil and natural gas out of the ground.
At the same time, public and political attitudes about US oil and natural gas production may be shifting toward more aggressive development of US resources because Americans are getting tired of erratic gas prices. and a less than robust economy. Oil and natural gas production from domestic reserves can help both. Canada has enjoyed a less stressed economy while the United States struggles. This is largely because Canada is producing oil using new technology that allows it to get oil from Alberta’s tar sands.
The EPA has approved a huge pipeline, from the tar sands of Canada to the refineries of Texas. Although it may be delayed for political reasons, it will most likely start soon and will employ thousands of pipe welders.
It’s no secret that skills that are hard to learn and in high demand make the most money, regardless of the industry..
Welding is no exception to this rule. However, the most common welding skills don’t pay anywhere near what pipe welders can. They can earn $100,000 a year or more in places like North Dakota, where overall unemployment is below 4%, due to shale oil production.
6G is the designation given to a pipe welding position where the trial joint is set at a 45 degree angle and the welder must weld the joint without moving the pipe. The proof is so because the fixed angle makes the welder have to weld in almost every possible position. When a welder can complete the weld test for the weld to pass a destructive bending test performed by a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), the welder may weld pipe.
Although the average welder does not have the required skill to weld pipe, just about anyone motivated enough to obtain the 6G skill can do so, either by attending a pipe welding school or by teaching themselves, with enough proper practice.
22 sacks? You can’t weld pipes unless you have experience, and you can’t get experience without welding pipes.
How do you do it? The newly certified 6G welder will need to assist and shadow an experienced pipe welder for weeks or months before getting the opportunity to weld pipe as a pipe welder. During this time, the new 6G welder will be able to weld occasionally, while the experienced pipe welder watches.
What should you do next?