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Canada Energy exodus: oil and gas workers look for more opportunity in Texas

19:15  02 december  2019
19:15  02 december  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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The oil and gas sector is struggling to get its 'Alberta Advantage' back and that has many looking elsewhere for opportunity . WATCH: Alberta's struggling oil industry is fuelling a surge to the south. Some workers have relocated to Texas , where the industry is booming and the demand for their

READ MORE : Energy exodus part 1 — Oil and gas workers look for more opportunity in Texas . Other Canadian ex-pats in Texas avoid the hot Houston summers. “One hundred degrees (F) outside in the summer? No thanks,” said Nova Scotia native Joe Dunn, from inside a North Houston

a view of a city: Some Alberta Oil and Gas workers are trading the Calgary skyline for Houston.© Global News - Dallas Flexhaug / CP Images - Larry MacDougal Some Alberta Oil and Gas workers are trading the Calgary skyline for Houston.

Alberta is known for its energy and the accompanying booms and busts because of it.

But ever since the last bust — when world oil prices collapsed in 2014 and tens of thousands of energy workers lost their jobs — Alberta has struggled to regain its footing.

That has many looking south to survive, and thrive.

READ MORE: Pipeline constraints to slow Alberta’s economy to single-digit growth in 2019: ATB

Calgary-based Osprey Informatics, a tech company that services the oil and gas industry, opened a Houston, Texas office in January.

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Get fresh Oil and Gas jobs daily straight to your inbox! By clicking the button above, I agree to the ZipRecruiter Terms of Use and acknowledge I Experience with W Energy software and basic oil and gas accounting knowledge a nice to have. How Much Do Oil and Gas Jobs Pay per Year in Texas ?

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It budgeted to do 10 per cent of its business in the U.S. this year, and 90 per cent in Canada. But 2020, it's forecasting 70 per cent of its business to come from the U.S. and 30 per cent in Canada.

Paul Ritchie, the COO of the company, has spent half of his year in Houston: "I can tell you by my hotel rewards points I've spent a lot of nights there."

"I almost feel like a citizen of Houston."

And soon he will be — Ritchie plans to move to Houston next summer and said Texas is welcoming him with open arms.

"I wouldn't have left Canada without the opportunity that sits in front of us right now.

"Canadian companies are so well respected that it's not even a blip in the road when you're dealing with somebody. It's like, 'Oh, you're a Canadian company — it's going to be good, and you're going to be nice to me.'"

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That has many looking south to survive, and thrive. Calgary-based Osprey Informatics, a tech company that services the oil and gas industry But ever since the last bust — when world oil prices collapsed in 2014 and tens of thousands of energy workers lost their jobs — Alberta has struggled to

Energy exodus : oil and gas workers look for more opportunity in Texas . 4 on Global News Hour at 6, Dallas Flexhaug looks at why Alberta oil workers are heading south in a special three-part feature, Energy Exodus .

Oil analysts say Ritchie's case is far from unusual. Tim Pickering with Auspice Capital Advisors Ltd. said there's definitely an energy exodus happening.

"We all know the big names that have left. There are hundreds of smaller companies that are very significant employers here in Calgary that, 50, 60, 70 per cent of their revenues are coming out of the United States and they had no choice."

"This isn't something that they wanted to do, but if the business is in the U.S. you are going to go where that business is."

"It's just a lot easier in Texas in a lot of ways," Pickering said. "There's no real edge to being in Alberta and that's painful to say."

READ MORE: Forecast that Alberta, B.C. will lead country in economic growth in 2020 ‘a bit bullish’: experts

Pickering said Canada has had one pipeline project application since 2016, compared to 14 in the U.S.

a close up of a sign© Provided by Global News

There's been a lot of uncertainty around the energy sector in Canada, especially in the last five years. Canadian oil continues to sell at a discount compared to the world oil price.

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A few hundred oil and gas workers will find themselves without jobs near the start of the New Year. Layoffs of more than 50 employees ( more than 33 percent of the company’s workforce) will occur Good thang Apple is investing a billion dollars in Texas . They will be needing all the folks that are

Oil and Gas Workers . The goal of this sub is to be an information exchange. From field work to We cannot commit the resources to vet every recruiter, and we do want to look out for everyone's best Look to these sites instead: LinkedIn is a good resource to connect with recruiters and have an online

There are more regulations, like Bill C-48 – the northern B.C. coast tanker ban – and Bill C-69, known by the industry as the "no more pipelines bill."

There is also a lack of market access and mounting skepticism over timelines around when projects – like the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion — will be built.

READ MORE: $320M in government subsidies given to Trans Mountain in first half of 2019: report

Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors president Mark Scholz said it's been a tough five years, especially for the drilling sector.

"Since 2017, we have lost 29 high spec drilling rigs to the United States. Pre-2014 we had approximately 900 drilling rigs in Western Canada. At the end of 2020 we are predicting to have less than 500."

a close up of a sign© Provided by Global News

Scholz said he has watched several families in Alberta struggle. So has Paul Ritchie.

"I have close friends that haven't worked in two years. They are Masters of Engineering and they're driving an Uber now," Ritchie said.

Changing drill strings on a platform south of Fort MacMurray in Alberta.© Getty Changing drill strings on a platform south of Fort MacMurray in Alberta.

Ritchie said he's up for the adventure of moving to a new country, and to a city that reminds him of the young, vibrant place Calgary used to be 15 years ago.

"Houston has a Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Consulate is there, they have three trade commissioners there. They are very active in pushing Canadian companies to the U.S. market."

Scholz said conversations are happening all over the province in businesses, wondering if it's worth it to keep their head offices in Alberta.

"I really worry about the future of this industry."

"I worry about the future of Alberta; the future of the country," Scholz said.

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