Oil companies continue to hold on

Stettler oil industry businesses are keeping themselves busy despite the current low oil prices.

Stettler oil industry businesses are keeping themselves busy despite the current low oil prices, keeping many of their employees working, according to one of those companies, TAK Oilfield Sales and Services.

When the oil prices dropped globally, countries that relied heavily on the oil industry, like Venezuela, fell into chaos and ruin. In Alberta, the heart of Canada’s oil industry, the pain was immediately felt with companies laying off workers, postponing projects, and curtailing community donations.

Stettler, like other places tried to ride the wave by diversifying into various industries, primarily tapping into the agricultural base of the community, while others offered reduced hours, rather than lay off employees and turned full-time staff into casual or part-time.

According to TAK’s fabrication manager, Scott McLellan, his company, which builds single-well equipment for the most part, has taken the “wait and see” approach to riding out the oil recession, rather than the diversification route being walked by some other companies.

“We have looked into diversification,” McLellan said, explaining that after discussions with other local companies who had branched out into different types of services, TAK decided to keep on as-is.

“There is a lot of expense that goes into diversifying what we do,” he elaborated. The money that goes into training, new equipment and establishing new clients is money TAK would rather see remain in the bank to help them ride out the current situation.

Until this past spring, it’s been almost business as usual at the company, McLellan said, as jobs both existing projects and new ones kept the eight employees of TAK on full pay. However, since the completion of a job last spring, business has slowed down to a “job here or there,” requiring McLellan to partially lay off some of his staff.

“It’s a temporary thing,” he said about the layoffs. “They come back when there’s work, work for a few days, and go back home.”

Still, TAK holds on, and expects to be ready to go back into full production as soon as the work is there, McLellan said.

“I like to think it would (get better) soon,” he said of the oil industry situation.