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Updated / Apprenticeship

Snubbing Services Operators and Supervisors

Snubbing services operators and supervisors insert and remove drill pipe, tubing and specialized equipment into and from oil and gas wells when blowout preventers are closed to contain well pressure.

  • Avg. Salary $75,145.00
  • Avg. Wage $36.52
  • Minimum Education Designated Occupation
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 26,500
  • In Demand Medium
NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Oil and Gas Well Drillers and Well Servicers (8232.1);  Oil and Gas Well Services Operators (8412.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Oil and Gas Well Drillers, Servicers, Testers and Related Workers (I132);  Oil and Gas Well Drilling Workers and Services Operators (I142) 
  • 2011 NOC: Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers (8232);  Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators (8412) 
  • 2016 NOC: Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers (8232);  Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators (8412) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

63%
63%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Snubbing Services Operators and Supervisors is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Oil and Gas Well Drillers and Well Servicers
OBJECTIVE

Interest in controlling the operations of drilling and service rig drilling and hoisting machinery

DIRECTIVE

Interest in speaking with members of rig crew to direct them in setting up rigs, drilling and completing and servicing oil and gas exploration and producing wells

methodical

Interest in compiling information to maintain records of drilling and servicing operations

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Oil and Gas Well Services Operators
DIRECTIVE

Interest in driving trucks to well sites and in operating systems to pump chemicals, gases, sand, cement and other materials into wells

METHODICAL

Interest in monitoring pressure, density, rate and concentration during pumping operations

innovative

Interest in copying information to read gauges to interpret conditions and adjust pumping procedures; may mix chemicals and cement

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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 levels:

  • Assistant operator is an entry-level position, which provides support and assists with pre- and post-job snubbing operations.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Snubbing services are conducted 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Snubbing services operators work mainly outdoors, sometimes in adverse weather conditions. The work environment around a well site can be noisy and dirty.

Safety is very important in this occupation because the work is performed on wells that are under pressure and may contain hydrogen sulfide. The work is physically demanding and involves handling tools and equipment that weigh up to 25 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Snubbing services operators and supervisors need:

  • Initiative
  • Attention to detail
  • Strength and stamina
  • Communication skills (to understand and give clear, concise directions)
  • Interpersonal skills for working with others and developing relationships with clients
  • Analytical and decision making skills
  • The ability to work under pressure

They should enjoy operating machinery and complex equipment, having clear rules and guidelines for their work, and solving problems.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Snubbing services operators and supervisors are trained on the job. There are no standard education requirements but employers generally prefer applicants with a high school diploma or who have related training or experience.

To access and work in the oil and gas industry, employees must complete the Common Safety Orientation (CSO) course from Energy Safety Canada.

Snubbing services operator is a designated occupation in Alberta. This means that certification is not required but trainees can apply to Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training for an Alberta Occupational Certificate. Certification requires completion of a petroleum competency program managed by Energy Safety Canada.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Snubbing Services Operators and Supervisors

Snubbing services operators and supervisors insert and remove drill pipe, tubing and specialized equipment into and from oil and gas wells when blowout preventers are closed to contain well pressure. For more information, see the Trades and Occupations section of Alberta’s Tradesecrets website.

Legislation

In Alberta, government-legislated certification is available for snubbing services operators and supervisors.

Contact Details

Any of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Service Offices located throughout Alberta. For a list of office locations and telephone numbers, click on “Contact Us” on the home page of the Tradesecrets website (tradesecrets.alberta.ca).

Additional Information

Certified tradespeople who want to build their business skills may obtain an Achievement in Business Competencies (Blue Seal) Certificate from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Contractors in the upstream petroleum industry employ snubbing services operators and supervisors. Newly hired individuals usually start in the entry-level position of assistant operator. With experience, they may become operators at a higher level and advance to supervisor positions.

In Alberta, snubbing services operators and supervisors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification:

  • 8232: Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
  • 8412: Oil and gas well drilling workers and services operators

80% of people employed in the Oil and gas well drilling workers and services operators occupational group work in the Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction [pdf] industry.

82% of people employed in the Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers occupational group work in the Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the I132: Oil and Gas Well Drillers, Servicers, Testers and Related Workers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.7% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 154 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

In Alberta, the I142: Oil and Gas Well Drilling Workers and Services Operators occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.6% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 37 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Incomes for snubbing services operators and supervisors range from $60,000 a year to $180,000 a year (2019 estimates).

Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.00 $42.00 $31.09 $28.37
Overall $20.17 $56.00 $39.89 $42.00
Top $21.92 $92.86 $55.41 $51.28

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

63%
63%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

32%
32%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

10%
10%

Vacancy Rate

6%
Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $50.51 $31.82 $30.01
Overall $20.95 $55.00 $36.52 $36.00
Top $26.00 $75.96 $43.02 $41.50

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Oil & Gas Extraction
Construction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

45%
45%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

46%
46%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

11%
11%

Vacancy Rate

2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

Energy Safety Canada website: www.energysafetycanada.com

PetroLMI, Career in Oil and Gas (COG) website: careersinoilandgas.com

Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) website: www.psac.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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