I started working in the oil industry in 2004. It was for a trucking company based out of Michigan and had a satellite office, here in the southwest. The trucks only hauled crude oil here, from the tanks in the field to the stations.
In the Southwest Division, we had thirty-four drivers, and twenty-six trucks. Not all of the trucks ran 24-hours, we couldnâ€™t get enough drivers. We had enough oil to haul, even at $38 dollars a barrel, to easily hire more drivers. We were consistently drowning in crude that had to be hauled. It wasnâ€™t unreasonable for our drivers to work their 70 hours in 4 days, take a day off and head straight back out there just to keep us afloat. Without drivers and mechanics that were clean and sober, that were actually willing to work, we had problems keeping up and keeping the trucks rolling. The drivers that chose to work, and didnâ€™t mind changing their own mud flaps or light bulbs, easily made more than $300 a day.
The boom hit, everybody was here to haul oil. Prices were up, people were working, and it was fantastic. All of the companies we hauled for were drilling wells left and right. We had more work than we could handle and were constantly hiring people from all over the country, putting them up in hotels with rental cars and paying for meals, and still had more oil that we knew what to do with. It wasnâ€™t unusual to have more than 100 loads of oil still in the fields waiting to be hauled at the end of the day.
The bust came; we were still hauling oil like mad. All those new wells kept producing and someone had to haul it. The drillers were hurting, as companies stopped drilling, and pretty soon, when a well had problems, instead of spending a few thousand to fix it, they just shut it down. With every load at approximately 200 barrels, and every barrel at $65, thatâ€™s still $13,000 a load. It would take less than that to get most of these wells up and running again. You might pay your pumper $20 to go out and check the tank and the driver might make $100 to haul it daily. Thatâ€™s still a lot of profit in a month.
There is still plenty of oil to be had out there; there are still wells capable of producing 5 loads of oil each day just sitting there. The major oil companies keep saying it doesnâ€™t pay to produce it. Well, I have to ask you, if it paid to produce it at $38 a barrel, why doesnâ€™t it pay to produce it at $65? The wells are already there; they have paid for themselves by now. Let those wells run, itâ€™s all gravy at this point.
Get the oilfield personnel back to work. These oilfields arenâ€™t going to ease off for many years yet, probably more years than we will actually need to stay reliable on it as an energy source. Take the next twenty years of oil production to find new ways to create energy for the masses. In twenty years, surely we can find a new source and have it perfected. Doing so will actually produce as many, if not more, jobs for the displaced oil workers that know how to work hard and are willing to learn. Experienced oilfield workers are different people; they are willing to learn everything they can to keep making decent, honest money for their families. They know what it means to work long, hard hours in tough conditions, and they donâ€™t back down from a challenge.
Open up those fields again and let them do their jobs. Meanwhile, get off your government rumps, and find new ways of producing energy so these guys can keep working when the world finally decides they no longer need oil.