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Occupational Profile
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 $75,352.00
  • Avg. Wage $35.76
  • Minimum Education Designated Occupation
  • Outlook Down
  • Employed 22,000
  • In Demand Lower
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

75%
75%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
NOC & 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
NOC code: 8232.1
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
NOC code: 8412.2
OBJECTIVE

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 Feb 15, 2017

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.

Working Conditions
Updated Feb 15, 2017

Snubbing services are conducted 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Work is primarily 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 sulphide. 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 Feb 15, 2017

Snubbing services operators and supervisors need the following characteristics:

  • good communication skills (to understand and give clear, concise directions)
  • good interpersonal skills for working with others and developing relationships with clients
  • initiative
  • good analytical and decision making skills
  • physical strength and stamina
  • the ability to work efficiently and effectively under pressure
  • the ability to pay close attention to detail. 

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Feb 15, 2017

Snubbing services operators and supervisors are trained on the job. There are no standard education requirements but employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates or people who have related training or experience.

This is a designated occupation in Alberta which means that certification is not required but trainees can apply to Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training for an Alberta Occupational Certificate. To qualify, applicants must have completed Enform's petroleum competency program. 

Enform, located in Calgary and Nisku (near Edmonton), offers courses for those employed in the oil and gas industry.

To access and work in the oil and gas industry, employees must complete the Enform Electronic General Safety Orientation (eGSO) course. Some employers may provide this training in-house.

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Feb 15, 2017

This is a designated occupation. For full details, see the related certification profile.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Feb 15, 2017

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Snubbing services operators and supervisors are employed by contractors in the upstream petroleum industry. 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.

Certified Alberta snubbing services supervisors who have the supervisory and management competencies required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting an Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training office.

Snubbing services operators and supervisors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 8412: Oil and gas well drilling workers and services operators. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be 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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 22,000 Albertans are employed in the Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.7% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 154 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As snubbing services operators and supervisors form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for snubbing services operators and supervisors.

Over 6,200 Albertans are employed in the Oil and gas well drilling workers and services operators occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.6% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 37 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As snubbing services operators and supervisors form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for snubbing services operators and supervisors.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Feb 15, 2017

Incomes for snubbing services operators and supervisors range from $60,000 a year to $180,000 a year (2014 estimates).

Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
NOC code: 8232

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 $12.00 $46.20 $30.87 $30.84
Overall $15.99 $46.20 $35.76 $38.18
Top $21.63 $50.00 $42.40 $46.18

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.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

75%
75%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

38%
38%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

6%
6%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators
NOC code: 8412

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 $21.00 $46.20 $31.95 $31.95
Overall $24.00 $57.69 $36.02 $33.80
Top $27.00 $74.52 $39.38 $36.00

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
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

77%
77%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

33%
33%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

7%
7%

2015 Vacancy Rate

1%
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
  • Natural Resources
    • Primary Resources
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Feb 15, 2017

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

Enform (formerly Petroleum Industry Training Service and Canadian Petroleum Safety Council) website: www.enform.ca

Petroleum Human Resources (PHR), Careers in Oil & Gas (COG) website: www.careersinoilandgas.com

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2015. 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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