working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Keepcalm
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 7:51 pm

working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by Keepcalm » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:35 pm

While I’m still young I was interested in making a temporary move out west to work in the oil fields. Halliburton has many open positions right now.

Anyone with a experience or knowledge please chime in on the sector.

User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 1179
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by F150HD » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:08 pm

Keepcalm wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:35 pm
While I’m still young I was interested in making a temporary move out west to work in the oil fields. Halliburton has many open positions right now.

Anyone with a experience or knowledge please chime in on the sector.
"out West"? Meaning....North Dakota? TX doesn't seem 'out west' to me personally (?)

wilshuer
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:40 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by wilshuer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:10 pm

What's your goal? Make a lot of money quickly? It will be hard, dirty, tiring work in not very nice places or conditions.

livesoft
Posts: 57211
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by livesoft » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:12 pm

The children of my neighbors have done this. The start of the movie "Five Easy Pieces" shows what some of it is like.

They still have all their fingers.

If you end up measuring levels of dangerous chemicals, be careful. This is old news: https://www.npr.org/2013/12/27/25080722 ... ly-expands
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
Didymograptus
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:18 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by Didymograptus » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:17 pm

I have worked in the oil patch since 1982 and it can be demanding. The client will want something done and the service company must move heaven and earth to get it done. Being at a low rung of a service company can suck with time away from home, working long hours etc. Relationships get strained and if you have a family you may become a stranger in your own home. That said, if you can survive the early years then you may move into a better position possibly with an oil company where you may earn more money and more respect. You have to be able to think long term because when you're working in crappy snowy weather at 3am on Thanksgiving morning you may need to answer the question, "why the hell am I doing this?"
The best things in life aren't things

onourway
Posts: 446
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by onourway » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:30 pm

What are you looking to know? There are a wide variety of oil field jobs. All of them suck in some way. Some much more so than others. What level schooling do you have and what do you consider yourself good at? Are you ok working insanely long hours in all weather conditions under high stress knowing the client will quickly replace you if something goes wrong? The on-site conditions can be somewhat dangerous, especially if you have long-term exposure as Livesoft points out, but in my opinion the most dangerous part of the job is the driving. You are often compelled to drive long distances, often at night or with too little sleep. If you are working near the boom towns rents are outrageous which can eat heavily into your profits. It's an extremely cyclical business, so you want to find a niche and make yourself indispensable because most jobs have lots of people vying for your spot and you'll eventually find yourself out of work for some period of time. That said, it's an industry where you can make a lot of money even without much education if you are willing to work hard.

dirtytough
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:07 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by dirtytough » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:35 pm

I work in the oil field not as a mechanic though. From what I’ve seen if you are a field mechanic for a service company they do a lot of sitting in their service trucks. If a shop mechanic then it’s a lot steadier during your shift. In the field you will get more hours, but also you will have to work in the elements. Overall the work is pretty easy. You work lots of hours and in some fairly bad weather sometimes.

I had a buddy that made $155k as a mechanic one year. He worked 2 weeks on 1 week off. Not bad for someone without an education.

The oil field is tough on relationships. You do work long hours. If you are a field mechanic a lot of times you will be at man camp for your hitch.

Idk exactly how Halliburton treats mechanics but they are one of the lower paying companies when it comes to operators. Not sure what state/area you are looking to work in but ND pays the most on average.

A couple other companies to look into are
Liberty and Keene.

Regards, Branden

mouses
Posts: 2446
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by mouses » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:42 pm

This is out of date, but I recall reading several years ago that living conditions are abominable.

Petroljunkie
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:44 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by Petroljunkie » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:28 pm

Dude,

Disclaimer: I've worked on the road in the oil and gas business for several years (I've been there, done that, and bought the proverbial t-shirt.)

In my humble opinion, it isn't worth it. Oil field is 24:7 / 365.

The oil and gas business has a way of taking everything from you (if you let it). Put differently, It's not a party and you will invariably sacrifice many parts of your life that others take for granted.

It can be an incredibly lonely existence.

You never get to truly establish a "life" because the project can end at a drop of a hat and you're expected to move immediately.

I've been laid off on Christmas Eve.

The majority of the oil patch has been divorced (usually several times) and suffers from some kind of addiction (e.g. alcoholism, overeating, drugs, compulsive sex, gambling, etc.)

But hey, maybe you'll be different, right?

WildBill
Posts: 301
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:47 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by WildBill » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:34 pm

Howdy

40 years in the oil field, all over the world.

Hard work. Good money. You can progress pretty far if you are good and if you want to. This can be very rewarding, and is the reason to go this route. If you are willing to push to advance it will work out. Otherwise you are just selling your time and energy for money, which is a bad deal.

Tough on the family if you have one.

Good luck.

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

Keepcalm
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 7:51 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by Keepcalm » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:54 pm

I did not expect this much feedback, thank you to all. Did not get a chance to read all the replies right now but sure will later.

User avatar
fishnskiguy
Posts: 2585
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:27 pm
Location: Sedona, AZ

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by fishnskiguy » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:30 pm

I have never worked in the oil patch, but from what I've read here it seems a lot like being in the military, but at ten times the pay. :sharebeer

Chris
Trident D-5 SLBM- "When you care enough to send the very best."

Shallowpockets
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:26 am

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:55 am

You are young. You seem to want to try this. You should.
All the bad things people have written are true. It is a side of life many will never see or experience.
You can do it with no commitments and the angst associated with various postings here about taking this or that white collar job. You can quit anytime. You will be working with the people who get their hands dirty and you will have some stories to tell. You will learn things about yourself. If you are presently living in a white collar, urban world it will be like landing on Mars.
Drive yourself out to North Dakota. Maybe in the spring because weather can be brutal there. Make sure you have the clothes to survive all day or all night in such conditions. Make sure you could sleep in your car. Make sure you have the means to leave. Then try it.
I think everyone should take the opportunity to dwell in such a world for a while. Makes you appreciate the other world of clean shirts and sitting at a desk afterwards. Gives you perspective.
The oil patch is in a slump now, so jobs come and go even more so than other times. Be prepared to encounter that.
Again, you are young, seem to want to try it. If it is possible that you can return to your present life without trouble, then go.

GCD
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:11 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by GCD » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:31 am

Shallowpockets wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:55 am
You are young.
You can quit anytime.
you will have some stories to tell.
weather can be brutal there.
Gives you perspective.
Make sure you have the means to leave
Don't be a wuss. Go do something different with a year of your life! :beer :D

I had business that briefly took me to the ND oil fields. By the time you pay living expenses (food/rent) you may not net much. Google man-camp for a view of the ND oil worker lifestyle.

When I passed through there were no hotel rooms available for any price. The cops offered to let me spend the night in a cell in the jail for free. I declined and drove home that night. As I understand it, people live 4+ to a hotel room and hot bunk. Even doing that it ain't cheap.

There are many nice people there, but a percentage of the oil field workers are drifting scum. I was up there because a couple of drifters murdered a woman. Be careful who you hot bunk with!

You also didn't mention whether you are male or female. That matters. Life is miserable for the women because they get hit on so much. M/F ratio is really out of whack and many of the women now know you can have too much of a good thing.
Last edited by GCD on Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

WildBill
Posts: 301
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:47 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by WildBill » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:34 am

fishnskiguy wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:30 pm
I have never worked in the oil patch, but from what I've read here it seems a lot like being in the military, but at ten times the pay. :sharebeer

Chris
Howdy.

This is a pretty good comparison. In general there are also less people shooting at you, but that can depend on the location. 8-)

Best to all.

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

snowox
Posts: 125
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:17 am

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by snowox » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:49 am

My brother was an adventurist and Did the pipeline back in the day in Alaska, worked on the Fishing boats you see the shows on , worked in some mines and he left at 18 and havent seen him since so that was almost 35 years now. Social media and or a letter here or there hes happy as a clam and has made alot of money. My point give it a shot your young. If it doesnt workout you can cross it of your list. For me I know its not the right thing. I went the military route and while I appreciate what I got out of it I wouldnt recommend that for anyone either.

User avatar
WoodSpinner
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:15 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by WoodSpinner » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:28 am

OP,

What kind of info are you looking for?

From a finance perspective:
1. Keep your living costs down (this can be challenging in a boom-cycle) .
2. Stash your cash—the boom WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A BUST and the cash is a vital safety net.

Others will have to provide more details from their experiences.

:greedy

3feetpete
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:30 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by 3feetpete » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:20 pm

It's pretty much boom or bust from what I could see. Never worked in it but traveled through Williston ND several times during the last boom. I remember a guy wearing a sweatshirt that said " Lord, please let this boom last and I promise not to piss the money away this time". The whole thing was surreal to me. A lot of men living in man camps and no women. Hotels and restaurants going up overnight. A typical business class hotel cost $250 a night. CNN and Lisa Ling did a documentary back then. Link follows. http://www.cnn.com/videos/bestoftv/2014 ... dakota.cnn. Was back after the bust and it was like a ghost town. The same hotel now $80.

Shallowpockets
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:26 am

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by Shallowpockets » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:36 pm

Or maybe.
You could look at the offshore oil fields, Gulf of Mexico. Then that housing situation will not be as much of a concern. You just have to be at the dock to go out for your stint offshore.
Maybe 7 on, 7 off. Out on the boats or rigs you get your meals and lodging. You could live a longs ways away as long as you can get there, so you are not beholden to some hasty trailer park, or motel as described previously.
Unfotunately, that segment of work is now not doing so well. You need to go when the boom part comes again.
Don't know what your skills are. You will have to market yourself. Altough in good times you can get a job as a roustabout with minimal experience.
7 days 12 hours a day is 44 hours overtime and no place to spend it offshore. Breakfast, lunch and dinner cooked for you. Commute is a walk to your bunk.
Sounds a lot better than North Dakota.

User avatar
akblizzard
Posts: 124
Joined: Mon May 05, 2014 4:25 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by akblizzard » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:59 pm

Although not a mechanic, I worked over 30yrs both offshore and onshore. Sure it’s wasn’t all roses and rainbows but I wouldn’t have done it any other way. If you’re up for an adventure go for it.

iamlucky13
Posts: 727
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:28 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by iamlucky13 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:29 pm

No direct personal experience. Observations of others I know:

An in-law working as an engineer for a fracking company before the recent price bust was making tons of money he didn't have time to spend, and became rather alienated from his family. His position meant he was doing more than just taking orders. His family unfortunately suspects he became an alcoholic trying to handle the stress. Things got better after the crash, because he was smart enough to flee to a far lower paying job before it hit full force, so his stress level dropped and he dodge being unemployed, but it doesn't sound like he ever bounced back from the burnout.

An old childhood acquaintance I still see updates from on Facebook has apparently found work in the current upswing. Before that I think he was pretty much destitute. He likes to post updates when his shifts exceed 24 hours or his weeks exceed 100 hours, sometimes with pictures of how filthy he is. He posted a lot more updates when I guess he got a break between contracts and saw his wife and kids for the first time in months. Although he's clearly doing unpleasant work, I think he's proud of it.

So high pay, tough working conditions, poor job security.

If you're not pursuing some other career path that would be disrupted by it, and can adapt to the likelihood of losing your job in the next downturn, it could be a good away build a nest egg or downpayment as well as demonstrate to other potential future employers your willingness to do difficult things. At the same time be aware of your limits.

dirtytough
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:07 pm

Re: working in the oil fields as a mechanic.

Post by dirtytough » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:00 pm

There is misinformation in this thread. Living conditions in ND are not bad at all right now. Even during the boom the most I paid for a 2 bed 2 bath apartment was $1120 a month. And that was a brand new apartment when I moved in. It’s much cheaper now if looking to rent. Lots of companies supply housing. One service company puts their operators in a hotel during their 2 week hitch and still pays them $1350 a month for housing/travel.

There are some drugs of course just like anywhere. But since most of the positions require a CDL with mandatory drug testing it cuts way down on the drugs. They also do random drug, alcohol, and weapon searches on locations.

If you work for a big company they do thorough background checks so nobody with felonies, dui’s, etc.

The worst things for most people are the long hours and working out in the elements. If you can handle that then you can make a good living.

While working in the oilfield I was able to increase our net worth about $80k a year, put my wife through school debt free, and pay off some debt she had accumulated before I met her. For me it’s been a good career move especially since I don’t have a degree and don’t have anything I really want to do that requires a degree.

Good luck with your decision.

Post Reply