Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Two weeks ago, I arrived in Lloydminster, Alberta. I came here to work a staff job at the local paper, and after crashing in my friend's basement for a few days, I moved out to an acreage about ten minutes south of town.

I'm happy that I managed to get out of Lloyd proper. The trains move in and out unceasingly, moving oil and grain in and out the elevators and refineries that drive this town. Basically, I went from this,

  This train yard is directly across from my friend's place. The trains are daily.

This train yard is directly across from my friend's place. The trains are daily.

To this.

  Amigo and Bailey. Amigo is the one attempting to eat me.

Amigo and Bailey. Amigo is the one attempting to eat me.

It's a nice place, and always great to come back to after kicking around Lloydminster. However, living here brought me the closest I've ever been to the oil industry I've ever been in my life.

About five days ago, the field just across the road got really busy. Trucks, mobile offices, dust getting kicked up, the works. In short order, a long rig had appeared on the horizon, lying on its side. A day later, and it had elevated itself up a few degrees. Then it started drilling.

It was lit up brightly at night, and shone directly into my window. Trucks would go back and forth every single night, carrying away the final product of the machine. It was a landmark, sticking up from the prairie and clawing the oil out of the ground. 

When I came home from work today, it was gone. The rig, the blockhouses, the trucks, everything.

  The tracks from all of the trucks are ground into the mud and half frozen.

The tracks from all of the trucks are ground into the mud and half frozen.

The only thing left behind was a long blue bin of parts, and the pipe driven into the ground towards the oil. All around the pipe, the ground was covered in a mix of oil, water, and mud, which clung to my boots as I walked around the orange fencing that blocked access to the well.

  Fencing is reflected by a filmy pool of oil and water near the pipe.

Fencing is reflected by a filmy pool of oil and water near the pipe.

  Scraping the ground near the muck, I could expose the dirt underneath the caked layer of mud and oil.

Scraping the ground near the muck, I could expose the dirt underneath the caked layer of mud and oil.

  Footprints of the oil workers were still in the ground, gathering water and slowly disappearing.

Footprints of the oil workers were still in the ground, gathering water and slowly disappearing.

  A sheen of oil clings to my gloves.

A sheen of oil clings to my gloves.

This was my first real encounter with oil extraction. Though on a small scale compared to the industry in other parts of the province, getting up close and personal with an extraction site made it real for me. This is how fuel gets made, and it's right across the road from me.

I'll have to get used to that.