Canadian Expertise – Global Influence

Date PublishedMarch 24, 2016
CompanyPajak Engineering
Article AuthorZac Bolan
Article TypeMarch 2016 Issue
CategoryArticles, Feature, Oil & Gas
Tags, , , , , ,
PULSE Interactive

Canadian Expertise – Global Influence


“Canadians are some of the best in the world at what we do,” states Chris Lassu, Controller for Pajak Engineering. “Canadians are some of the most environmentally conscious, and we’ve got the strictest oil and gas safety standards and regulations of anyplace on earth.”

 Canadian Expertise Global Influence

Calgary-based Pajak Engineering epitomizes this paradigm having built their reputation over a half-century serving both Canadian and global oil and gas industries. Founded in 1966 by Lou Pajak and partners, Pajak Land and Offshore Ltd. met a growing need for experienced operations personnel to drill and complete oil and gas wells. Under Lou’s leadership, the company set up a comprehensive training curriculum to prepare personnel for the oil rigs, including specialized safety training in such aspects as blowout prevention.

mapWhen the business evolved to include engineering services in the mid 1980s, the company became Pajak Engineering and continues to provide global staffing, engineering, wellsite supervisory,
and project management services to the present day.

While initially focused on providing services for Canadian oilfields, Pajak’s expertise now extends globally with their business spanning continents, encompassing 40+ countries. Their technical supervisors, engineers, and ‘Drop-in’ teams enjoy a proven record of accomplishment in every aspect of both onshore and offshore oilfield services, including wellsite preparation, drilling, completion, and asset management.


“For smaller oil companies that aren’t interested in taking on the responsibilities of staffing a drilling department for example, Pajak’s project management services are the perfect solution,” explains Lassu. “The client just tells us where to drill, and then we take over. Our consultants survey and build the lease – getting everything ready to go, such as the Authorization for Expenditure (AFE) – and then move in, drill, complete the well, put it into production, and hand over the keys.”

“In this aspect of our services, Pajak is really upstream,” continues Lassu. “When the well is ready for production, we step back and move onto the next lease. Most of these clients will want to look after their own transport whether pipelining or trucking, but Pajak can also assist in these areas.”

Pajak project management services include the organization of all the tools and equipment required to drill and complete the well in addition to staffing the project with skilled supervisors, engineers, and rig personnel required for the lease.

“We’ll build the program for our client, whether it requires vertical or horizontal drilling,” says Lassu. “We’ll get three bids from all the potential suppliers and service providers required for the project. The talent pool can include companies we’ve had good experiences with, companies our client likes to work with, or a combination. Whatever works the best for the client. Once we get the bids and the AFE is approved, we mobilize.”

“The biggest benefit to the client is there are no surprises,” continues Lassu. “They can sit back and focus on the daily reports from our team. The client has the advantage of having a full drilling company at their disposal without the long-term financial commitment and management overhead.”

“When the rig is released, we go home, and they are not getting charged anymore,” adds Lassu.

Canadian Expertise Global Influence


Pajak Engineering specializes in matching the right personnel to any client project by prequalifying a cadre of independent consultants with wide ranging experience in all aspects of oil and gas supervision and engineering, including wellsite, drilling, completions, construction, geology, and safety. The company ensures the certifications of all their supervisors are current before they go into the field, which safeguards the client’s project and people. Additionally, senior Pajak technical staff back their domestic and international supervisors and engineers on a 24/7 basis.

“We handle the insurance for our consultants and ensure their safety training meets ComplyWorks and ISnetworld standards,” clarifies Lassu. “Our safety manual has been approved, and all our protocols are in place in terms of insurance and WCB. Because of the services Pajak provides, our clients feel like they’re going to be taken care of by an established company rather than individual consultants.”

Other Pajak clients choose to benefit from having a comprehensive Drilling & Completions Department at their exclusive disposal on demand. Pajak provides these clients with ‘Drop-in’ teams consisting of self-contained crews with the required expertise to get the job done efficiently and cost-effectively. Project Asset Management and Accounting services are also available through ‘Drop-in’ teams, which ensures junior explorers don’t need to compromise while keeping their costs in check.

“Once placed, the consultant would work directly with the client to fulfill their needs,” continues Lassu. “When plans change, the client might want to decrease the scope of their project. In that scenario, they would just send a couple of personnel home and no longer have the expense of paying them. This gives our client a greater degree of flexibility.”

Behind the scenes, Pajak manages the complex logistics of multiple master services agreements required for all their consultants and ensures the essential paperwork, including invoicing, is efficiently handled. The consultants can rest easy knowing their interests are being managed as well. This enables them to fully focus on the client’s project.

“I always say the biggest compliment we can get is when a consultant we’ve worked with finds his own job, is asked to recommend services, and they bring the work to Pajak,” says Lassu.


Canadian Expertise Global Influence

“Our international business grew out of our relationships with Canadian clients when they needed key personnel overseas,” explains Lassu. “They knew the quality of people we provided, so it was a natural fit to reach out to Pajak Engineering to provide staffing solutions for their international projects.”

“Transnational personnel services encompass a whole different set of challenges when staffing. We have to consider things such as visas, insurance, and duty of care,” lists Lassu. “And as you know, oil is not always found in the most logistically convenient or friendliest environments.”

Pajak Engineering’s international business has scaled steadily in recent years. According to Lassu, in 2006 international operations represented a relatively small percentage of their business. Since then, Pajak Engineering has seen a ten-fold increase revenues from their overseas operations.

“When North American companies increased their overseas footprint, we were able to follow them,” continues Lassu. “Once our clients were established and successful in a region, resident companies would start to notice Pajak Engineering and the talent we represent. Before long, local oil and gas companies would be asking for our help in providing the skills and expertise their region lacked.”

While Pajak Engineering might potentially compete with huge international services firms, the company is more specialized and focused on working with clients with North American roots. For clients, part of the appeal of working with Pajak in these overseas markets is the high operational standards they bring to project management and wellsite

“Internationally, Canada is recognized for having the strictest regulatory and safety standards in the world,” reveals Lassu. “When you’ve got Canadians overseas running these operations, you’re bringing the Canadian standards over as well.”


“As soon as you drill a well, you potentially have a permanent liability on your hands,” states Lassu. “We’ve always done some well abandonment work for our clients as an extension of existing projects. However, going forward, Pajak Engineering will be focusing more resources in this area as the demand for well integrity and liability management services increases.”

“Most of the surface casing vent flow (SCVF) or gas migration (GM) problems existing in the province today are comprised primarily of methane from sources at various depths and/or producing formations,” explains Chris Fuglerud, Wellborn Integrity Specialist for Pajak. “Pajak now has a specialized team who has been dedicated to abandonments and solving SCVF and GM problems for several years.”

“During this time, our expert team has focused purely on increasing success rates and streamlining all processes involved in solving SCVF and GM problems,” adds Fuglerud. “Staying abreast of cutting edge technologies has allowed for the selective utilization of specific tools and techniques, which are employed whenever they can increase the success of the operation or reduce the associated cost. Our team also volunteers a significant portion of their time with various non-profit organizations dedicated to information sharing on the subject, such as the Canadian Society for Gas Migration.”

Pajak can also help you with Construction Supervision, Safety Professionals,
and has drop in teams to help you with your project

Fuglerud notes while abandonment data from outside of Alberta is difficult to obtain, the ultimate size of the abandonment market includes every well drilled. This is anticipated to exceed 500,000 wells in Alberta alone.

Meanwhile, Lassu estimates up to 17,000 wells in western Canada will require abandonment services in the near future.

“Abandonments need to get done regardless of the price of oil,” adds Lassu. “These projects can range from a two-day cut and cover with no SCVF problems to very complicated abandonments taking much longer. “With older wells drilled to 1950s or 1960s standards, you don’t know what you’ve got on your hands until you get down into it.”

Recent suggestions that federal funding be made available for provinces to mitigate the impact of abandoned orphan wells have been welcomed by the oil and gas services industry.

“Federal money for cleaning up abandoned orphan wells is a great opportunity to deal with an environmental issue while leveraging available personnel and skills cost effectively,” says Lassu. “The people with the necessary skills are available and ready to work. And, given the expertise we have in this area and our proven track record in project management, Pajak aims to become the go-to engineering firm to deal with these abandonments.”


“We can ‘Drop-in’ teams,” adds Lassu, “We can staff every aspect of an operation, including technical engineers, wellsite supervisors, country managers, and superintendents. Pajak is a great option for clients, because all they need is a Board of Directors. We can take care of everything else for them. They don’t have to staff up, and they don’t have any of the ongoing overheads.”

“There are other companies that just do the manpower, but they don’t have engineers, and they’re not drilling wells,” summarizes Lassu. “And, there are companies that just drill wells, but they’ll only staff their own projects. Still more companies only focus on the asset management side of the business.”
“So, it’s really rare to find a company like Pajak Engineering that handles it all.”

Canadian Expertise Global Influence






Originally published in the 

March 2016 Issue of Oilfield PULSE