"We started with one rig in December 2009, and we're at 8 rigs as we speak today," said Randy Hawkings, president of CanElson.
Savanna, who now has 14 rigs working in the basin, is no different. Gordon Wills, Savanna operations manager, said, "We've grown tremendously fast, but at the same time we've taken care of our safety, and I think we have a very good safety record...our style of rigs."
It was that style of rig that had operators turning their heads when they first started going up in the Basin. "It was kind of an eye opener for a lot of the local people when we brought the first rigs in here being microscopic doubles...very compact rigs that move quickly and as far as the design of the rigs, it was definitely different than the American rigs at that point," said Wills.
It was this difference that forced their companies to bring in Canadian righands to train local workers. "How to run them properly, how to maintain them, how to clean them, and how to actually work safely on them was an important part of the procedure," said Hawkings.
Savanna is now down to 5 percent of Canadian workers in the Permian Basin. CanElson is down to 30 percent. But the ones who remain say they're in no hurry to leave.
Savanna driller Chris Rose said, "It's not as cold. It's good work."
"I actually texted someone when I got off the plane, and I walked out and just smelled the air. I was like... it's starting to feel like home," said Terry Kruneck, CanElson rig manager.
"Every Canadian who's worked here that I've talked to has said this is the best place they've ever worked. The best people. The nicest people. They've felt the most welcome. This is coming from all parts of Canada. They felt like the customers actually cared about them as a contractor. They all want to come back," said Hawkings.
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