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Waiting for a Gate....4 reasons you don't have a job.

The overwhelming oil field gate guard topic of discussion via email this past few weeks has centered on the availability of jobs.   Several of the good folks that were counting on a gate guard job for the winter months are being told they are to report to the ‘yard’ and wait on a gate or they are just flat out being told there are no openings available at the present time.

Doesn’t surprise me a whole lot –they missed the ‘window’.   When Miss K and I and others were grinding it out in the dust and heat of one of the most brutal Texas summers on record,  some of these folks were enjoying more favorable climes up north.   We first contacted our company in October and were told to check back the first of the year.   We were ready to go on or around January 1 but did not get the call until February.  Over this past summer when folks contacted me for info, I stressed the fact that there was a certain ‘window of opportunity’  that would definitely narrow down anytime after September.  It just stands to reason…

Petrohawk drilled their first horizontal well in the Eagle Ford about this time 3 years ago so for all you newbies out there — this thing has not been going on that long.  The snowbirds with RVs which are affectionately called  Winter Texans down this way quickly discovered that oil field gate guarding was a great way to supplement winter income.  Returning Winter Texans who are veteran gate guards are why you new folks are waiting for a gate.  Seniority and prior experience count here just like any other job.  This is the first reason the oilfield gate guard jobs might be scarce this fall.

The oil business is driven by price and demand more so than you might think.  When the crude oil prices are north of $100 per barrel, the oil fields are going to be busy.  Oil companies are in it for the money–make no mistake.  When the oil prices are down around $75 per barrel like they were in the early fall, several things might come in to play.   The oil companies might just sit on the oil.  I have seen them shut the wells in– turn them off so to speak.  I have seen them just let the wells run and store the crude in onsite storage tanks.  Wells in progress and not completed might just be capped off with fracing and completion scheduled at a later date.  New exploration (drilling new wells) could be curtailed or even suspended.  I just checked and crude oil is at $92 — not real strong.   This  the second reason your plans to just waltz in to a South Texas gate guard job are not working out as planned.

It was a good first 9 months for the oil business here in Texas.  Crude oil prices were up and the oil fields were jumping.  All big companies have budgets.  I know in EOG’s case here in the Barnett Shale their construction budget was exhausted at the beginning of the 4th quarter.  With crude oil prices down compared the the earlier part of the year,  they released most of the drilling rigs they had under contract.  Word is as soon as the 2012 budget becomes active and money is available, new construction will once again start up.  That is the third reason.

You noticed how bad the economy is and how many folks are looking for work?  Recreational vehicles are being used as replacement living quarters more and more these days.  People have lost their homes and their jobs and an RV is turning out to be a viable alternative to those who once lived in a sticks and bricks.   Naturally,  a job such as gate guarding which provides needed income and requires an RV is a good fit for these folks.   Used to be, a typical oil field security gate was manned by a retired couple looking to supplement their income  –not so much anymore.  Blame it on a bad economy but that is the fourth reason the gate guard company does not have any openings.

The only advice I can offer is sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  Companies that hire gate guards have been inundated with calls and emails from folks wanting to know more about the job.  Many of the calls and requests are from wannabees who do nothing but waste precious time because they are not even half-serious about the job to begin with.   If you are really serious about acquiring a position you might want to think about applying in person.   Actually showing up at the  office shows them how serious you are about the job.

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6 comments to Waiting for a Gate….4 reasons you don’t have a job.

  • Four good points, Andy. Kit said there are 30+ couples waiting for gates right now. Looks like we’ll be in the waiting room starting next Wednesday – they’re stacking our rig for the reasons you mentioned. Sounds like Forest is stacking most of their rigs for a month or two. Interesting days ahead.
    Debbie

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    • Andrew

      Hi Debbie
      I don’t see it getting better before the first of the year — unless the price of crude goes WAY up.

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  • That’s sad. Good thing we have some money put back.

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    • Andrew

      The equipment yards here are full of idle drilling rigs.

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  • Southpaw

    I have been working at a Sheriff’s Office as a Sgt. for near 23 years. My best friend has been there 14 years and is also a Sgt. We have both been told that politics in the coming year will cause the two of us to be phased out.

    We are trust worthy ,hard working and stick to out guns. We have living quarters and the know how to handle the public. We would be in it for the long haul. If anyone knows of a place that can use two self motivated,dedicated,trust worthy, self sufficient men please let us know. We are not the fly by night type guard and would make excellent security consultants or supervisors. This is not to say we are better than any one else it’s just we both started from the bottom and worked our way up. We care and take care of our position We are willing to do that again but believe it would be a waste to throw the two of us just any where.
    I see where you say we need to apply in person but as the two of us are hundreds of miles from these areas that would be rather a hard thing to do and we cannot afford to take off from work to do so.

    No offence to the hard working few who are out there.

    Southpaw

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    • Andrew

      We incorporated an office visit into some off time from work. i did NOT say you needed to apply in person. I will state that applying in person seems to net better results. I did for us and other people we know. YMMV.

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