The Canadian oilfield services sector is surviving yet another significant downturn through perseverance, ingenuity and innovation once again. Since the breakup of 2014 when the downturn began it has been touch and go for PSAC members. Those that survived to this point in time not only stuck by PSAC but also continued to donate generously with their time and insights on how to ensure the survival of the association itself. Yes, PSAC too felt the pain and took all necessary steps to not only ensure we continued on but also did not slack off on ensuring top value for those members that chose to stand by the association. PSAC membership numbers were cut in half not only by company but also by employees and for PSAC it was a headcount and empathy, for our members it was anguish!
It is now nearing the end of 2017 and the association is as busy as ever, doing more with less people like our members to some degree. A highlight I feel was when PSAC succeeded in gaining $30 million of federal funding for Alberta to pay the interest on a $235 million loan to the Orphan Well Association for decommissioning wells and facilities. We made recommendations through submissions for Federal and Provincial Pre-Budget consultations, Alberta’s review of Labour legislation, the WCB review, OH&S legislation, the legalization of cannabis, Indigenous relations and federal reviews of the National Occupation Classification codes, and transportation hours of service.
PSAC advocated for Market Access, competitiveness, a natural gas strategy and energy literacy. We represented members’ interests in consultations on methane reduction regulations; Waste Water issues, and explosive regulations for perforating. We educated MLAs through tours of member facilities and met with federal and provincial ministers, political staff and senior bureaucrats as well as holding our first annual lobby days in Alberta and Ottawa making sure the government understands the importance of this sector and our workforce that contributes significantly to government coffers.
PSAC also sought ways to provide members with market intelligence with a redesigned Well Cost Study and additional resources for their businesses such as, MSA Model Clauses, Going Global information sessions, development of a Canadian Energy Export Guide and brochure for Canadian trade commissioners in global markets. And we were pleased to once again be able to produce our annual Total Compensation Survey.
We worked to ensure the Enform/OSSA merger met the needs of our members, refreshed our Hydraulic Fracturing and Working Energy Commitment webpage designed for the public, and continued to participate on the DACC committee and development of IRPs.
Over the past year, PSAC established a partnership to assist members with their workforce needs. The partnership is with a group of professionals focused on employee recruitment, retention and workforce knowledge and we are calling it PSAC Connect. These folks can help members find the right people for the job whether it be front line workers across western Canada or engineering and technical experts in district or head offices. Or they can help with general human resource functions. Please check out our website to find out the many ways they can help you.
Understanding how important NAFTA is to most members, PSAC participated throughout the year in discussions with government to ensure that industry’s concerns were understood as they prepared for negotiations with the US in order to avoid any unintended consequences. In addition, PSAC spearheaded a joint Canada-US meeting with US trade associations and think-tanks to discuss GDP/GSP and jobs benefits of cross-border trade, the potential impacts of emerging US energy policies including NAFTA on the oil and gas services sector with the goals of developing information and insights on the integrated, cross-border nature of our sector and potential impacts of changing policy along with joint messaging that could be conveyed by Americans to their government officials. For members with US operations or business activities, we encourage you too to promote the benefits of this cross-border trade. If you would like a fact sheet to assist you, just let us know.
And last but not least, PSAC tried its hand at introducing concepts around supply chain and collaboration relationships that are proving very successful in other oil patches around the globe. When we got to the part about collaboration between producers and service companies we were met with a certain degree of indifference. But we are not giving up, because introducing concepts that have proven successful at lowering the costs of exploration projects by up to 30 percent and both parties win is something we just can’t be deterred from exploring and promoting until we see a broader range of acceptance.
At the end of the day (year), 2017 has been a rewarding year, PSAC has gained stature for our members through very successful health and safety and government relations initiatives, so much so the invitations to attend policy discussions, partner with the other energy industry association to send positive messages out about the sector and respond to ever increasing media enquiries across Canada and the US are proof in point about the growing interest in a sector made up of the highly skilled front line, middle class Canadian worker. A group of companies and individuals PSAC is proud to serve and represent!
Mark Salkeld, President & CEO