ALBERTA

Ask Me Anything: Roughneck Answers Questions About Living, Working In The Alberta Oil Patch

03/10/2013 03:10 EDT | Updated 03/10/2013 03:10 EDT
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F365180 07: A roughneck works on the Peterson Drilling Company rig in Carlsbad, New Mexico, February 26, 2000. With oil prices at the highest level in nearly a decade, the oil business is experiencing a boon. But those in the business remain cautious, given the unpredictable nature of the industry. Oil prices are close to $30 a barrel. (Photo by Joe Raedle)

There are myths, rumours, truths and lies about working in the Alberta oil patch and now one lowly roughneck is giving those on the outside a first-hand glimpse into the fast times and big money that go hand in hand with the province's oil and gas industry.

Going under the handle "traviesaurus," the lowly rig hand took to Reddit and held court in his own "Ask Me Anything" to answer those most burning questions that average Janes and Joes have about living in Alberta and working in the oil patch.

He recounts how, as a three-time college drop-out, his first paycheque was unexpectedly big and how his second was even bigger.

Read more:

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He's candid about what it's like living in Alberta and why he's had to swear off booze and drugs, "even weed."

How does one get a job in the oil patch, where does one live when working on the rigs and where are most of the people pumping out Alberta oil from?

Read the highlights of the AMA in the slideshow below.

Story continues after slideshow

AMA: The Alberta Oil Patch

The description of the Alberta oil patch by those who live and work there vary from the very negative - a harsh wasteland suitable only for a quick buck, to the very positive - a land of opportunity, the likes of which exist nowhere else in North America.

Proven reserves in Alberta guarantee that, as long as there is demand and a way to get bitumen and natural gas to markets, the oil patch will continue to attract workers from far and wide.

The latest study conducted by the U.S. government into the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which virtually gave the proposal a passing grade, will mean greater labour demands in Alberta's notoriously tight jobs market.

According to the Financial Post, citing a a five-year outlook published Monday by Industrial Info, because of Alberta's constant struggles with labour supply, average wages for electricians, boilermakers, plumbers and pipefitters, carpenters and structural steelworkers in the province can be anywhere from 70% to 136% higher than median U.S. wages.