BLACK GOLD/Alberta oil companies.


Public media articles on the oil industry are abundant. Off-shore drilling in rough seas, heavy oil (or diesel) spills, long term damages to the environment, contribution to green house gas emissions, ruthless handling of employees. Alberta oil industries at the foreground.

How about some inside experience ? Sixteen years working for Canadian oil companies in Alberta was an eye-opener for me on their culture.

The oil industry is well know for ‘boom’ and ‘bust’ cycles, largely caused by rising or depressed oil prices. I went thru at least two bust cycles, layoffs caused by company takeovers or by company downsizing.

This is common practice, but should not be reminiscent of a “world war III” scenario. Employees are only pawns in this game.

Example Trans Canada Pipelines (TCPL) Resources Calgary [HQ.Toronto]:

After takeover of Maligne Resources company in 1983 [Maligne, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical], TCPL started initiating projects for the purpose of massive layoffs. Using typical scare techniques.

I was forced to complete for the Controller a company-wide work flow analysis study for the purpose of identifying which positions are not needed. This included hundreds of interviews of my co-workers (friends, colleagues), to identify layoffs. Very distasteful exercise. On completion I ‘got the boot’ also.How ? I was called in to the “Enforcer’s” office and presented with a 100page report (about myself?) and some document to sign. I ignored this report, nor signed any a**hole papers, of course. They offered me 3-months salary (after 7 years as a Sr. Systems Analyst & Designer/Developer). During this time 1986, there was a deep recession in the Canadian oil industry, because of falling oil prices. Even 167 letters of application for a job didn’t do the trick. I was forced to leave my son alone in Alberta and travel east to Ontario, together with hundreds of Albertans out of work.

This is a company who allowed heavy smoking in the workplace and had decidedly a dirty culture all around.

!!Companies such as those now call themselves “socially responsible”!!

I am happy to say that I had received from upper management excellent written references before leaving. Including one from the then President.


Le Canada a bien l’intention de devenir une superpuissance énergétique. Stephen Harper (le Prime Ministre du Canada): “Apart d’être une puissance en hydroélectricité, uranium, gaz naturel, le Canada aussi renferme la troisième réserve de pétrole au monde, derrière l’Arabie saoudite et le Venezuela. Plus de 170 milliards de barils dorment dans le sous-sol albertain, 30 milliards de barils potentiels au Québec.“ Le gouvernement de Stephen Harper aussi proumouvoir le pétrole albertain aux pays de l’Europe, dont le Canada ne vend pas une goutte de pétrole. Le sommet de Rio + 20, 2012: Le Canada est le seul pays à avoir annoncé son retrait du protocole de Kyoto. [voir: la protection de l’environnement]. L’economie pétroliere contre le Reseau action climat. On verra. (partiellement du l’article dans L’actualité, Quebec) [RHS]

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