Snubbing services are specialized oil and gas well maintenance functions that require working with a well under pressure. They include:
- completing (assembling and inserting production pipe into wells to enable well production)
- fishing (using specialized tools and equipment to remove tools, debris, sand or fill from a well)
- lubricating (fitting and removing pressure-control equipment to the wellhead to enable specialized tools to be used in the well)
- staging (isolating a specialized tool between blowout preventers to enable the tool to be used in the well)
- stripping on or off (placing specialized equipment over production pipe to enable specialized equipment or tools to be used in the well).
In Alberta, this is a designated occupation with the following six levels:
Assistant operator is an entry level position. Assistant operators provide support and assist with pre and post job snubbing operations.
An Operator 1 works in well environments where the shut in pressure is less than 10 MPa and the wellbore gas or fluid is sweet. Snubbing services involve single zone (producing section or formation of a well) work overs and completions, including jobs where the tubing can be moved through the well without staging couplings or tool joints.
An Operator 2 works in more complex medium pressure well environments that are sweet or sour, where the shut in pressure is between 10 and 21 MPa. Snubbing services involve sand cleanouts, lubricating, fishing, multi zone or dual string completions.
An Operator 3 works in even more complex high pressure well environments. The gas or fluid may be sweet, sour or critical sour. At this level, operators can work on wells with a shut in pressure greater than 21 MPa. Snubbing services may involve operations using multiple blow out preventers.
A Supervisor 1 oversees operations in medium pressure well environments, sweet or sour, with shut in pressure less than 21 MPa. Level 1 supervisors manage wellsite performance and ensure a healthy and safe work environment while following industry practices and implementing environmental policies.
A Supervisor 2 oversees operations in high pressure (greater than 21 MPa) well environments that may include critical sour gas and fluids. Level 2 supervisors are responsible for the snubbing crew, management of wellsite performance and worksite safety.