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Alberta

World’s largest civilian transport aircraft lifts Red Deer Company to India to battle nightmare well blowout

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Piston Well Services Inc. has been hired to take on a fire that’s been burning for months.

Report from Northeast Today

The world’s largest Civilian transport aircraft ANTONOV (AN124) which has been commissioned for snubbing operation in Baghjan-well number 5 landed at Kolkata airport on Wednesday night from where it will make a 14- day long road journey to reach Baghjan in Assam’s Tinsukia district.

Reportedly, as both the Guwahati and Dibrugarh airport runways are not able to handle the massive Ukrainian ANTONOV (AN124) aircraft, it had to be landed in Kolkata.

As per reports, the 59,000 kgs equipment boarded the An124 heavy-lift aircraft – the world’s largest cargo carrier from Russia. The aircraft is used all over the world for its long haul cargo dropping.

According to the OIL sources, the aircraft was commissioned by Piston Well Service Inc of Canada which was hired by Alert Disaster Control, Singapore. The Alert has been commissioned by OIL for killing the Baghjan-5 well, which was burning since May 27 of this year.

According to the spokesperson of Oil India Limited (OIL) Tridiv Hazarika, the snubbing operation is expected to commence by the beginning of next week and the fire is expected to be snubbed by the first week of November ending months of misery of the people of Baghja

Earlier, the general manager of the company Ross Whelan informed the same through a facebook post saying that a crew had arrived and was ready to board a heavy-lift aircraft from Canada’s Calgary.

“Our crew has arrived, and 59,000kg of our equipment boarded the An124 heavy-lift aircraft in Calgary today,” he said.

On May 27 this year, a blowout occurred in the Baghjan Oil Well, this was followed by an inferno on June 9, after the well suddenly became active while OIL was carrying out workover operations in the gas-producing well under Baghjan Oilfield. OIL lost three men including two firefighters and a young engineer.

Read the whole story including photos of the Antonov at this link

Tinsukia: An aerial view of the Baghjan oil field engulfed in fire, in Tisukia, Assam, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The field has been leaking gas for the past two weeks. (PTI Photo) (PTI10-06-2020_000035B)

From Ross Whelan, GM of Piston Well Services Inc. in Red Deer.

Piston Well Services Inc. of Alberta is proud to announce the award of a contract to conduct emergency snubbing services for Alert Disaster Control of Singapore on the Baghjan Well #5 blowout in Assam, India.  The scope of work includes mobilizing a crew and snubbing unit with support equipment to facilitate killing, plugging and abandoning the well which blew out on May 27, 2020 and exploded in a remote wetland causing a major human and ecological disaster.

The well is currently capped, and uncontrolled flow is temporarily diverted as wellhead integrity issues caused by the blowout and subsequent fire are preventing the use of traditional well shut-in and kill methods.  A proposed snubbing procedure was confirmed with computer modeling and ordered by the well owner.

Piston’s team engaged to overcome a litany of logistical issues but it’s an honour to deploy our Canadian know-how to bring an unfortunate event to a safe conclusion.

Piston is a snubbing, completions & workover company based in Red Deer, AB, established in 1999 by the industry’s pioneers and continues to serve the Western Canadian Basin with a fleet of proprietary high pressure snubbing units.

Here’s a time-lapse from Piston Well Services Inc. showing the process of loading Rig 6.

 

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Alberta

World Cup super-G called off in Lake Louise because of too much snow

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LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — A World Cup men’s super-G race was cancelled Sunday in Lake Louise, Alta.

It was the second race called off because of too much snow. Friday’s downhill was also cancelled.

Matthias Mayer of Austria won Saturday’s downhill at the ski resort west of Calgary in Banff National Park.

The cancelled downhill in Canada has been added to the program for the next World Cup in Beaver Creek, Colo., starting Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

'For the greater good:' Indigenous financial advisor works to empower others

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CALGARY — It’s often said that every name tells a story. 

For Theodora Warrior, that couldn’t be more true.

“My name doesn’t lie,” says Warrior, a Blackfoot member of the Piikani Nation in southern Alberta. “The purpose of a warrior is not meant for battle. They are meant for protection and sacrifice for all for the greater good.”

Warrior is the first Indigenous financial facilitator for Momentum, a Calgary charity dedicated to community economic development.

Jeff Loomis, executive director of Momentum, says it’s committed to having a role in reconciliation with Indigenous communities and bringing Warrior onboard ensures a culturally relevant and supportive environment to aid in financial reconciliation.

Warrior views her job as one that empowers others, particularly Indigenous families such her own who experienced poverty as a result of the residential school system. 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report says the schools amounted to cultural genocide, stripping Indigenous people of their language and customs, and has led to chronic unemployment, poverty, poor housing, substance abuse, family violence and ill health.

About two years ago, Warrior attended a money management workshop hosted by Momentum, similar to one she now teaches, and was asked to write down a vision for her future.

She had lost everything — her house, job and belongings. She says it was a cycle she had repeated for years, from housed to homeless, employed to jobless, hopeful to disheartened.

Her vision on a piece of paper, now tucked away in a safe spot, listed 17 goals, including having a two-bedroom apartment, a healthier mental state, being debt-free with savings and having a steady job. 

Most of those dreams came true.

Warrior is now bringing the program that helped change her life to other Indigenous people in Alberta communities. She calls the workshop series Money Moccasins.

“Financial wellness is a lifelong journey,” says Warrior. “Walking barefoot can make the trip more difficult. Moccasins are very sturdy and strong.”

Thinking about the workshop she attended, Warrior says the information was helpful but the facilitator, who was white, lacked an understanding of unique barriers faced by Indigenous people.

The facilitator talked about spending $200 on plants, almost the same amount Warrior had received monthly on welfare.

“It had nothing to do with where we come from, what we really encounter, what we have to work with,” says Warrior.

Warrior’s mother and grandmother attended residential schools. 

As a child, she remembers living in apartments with cockroaches, using food banks and moving frequently, both on and off reserve. Her mother, who has three university degrees, often worked multiple jobs. 

Warrior says she believes the repercussions of the residential school system left her mom struggling to find financial stability.

As Warrior became an adult, she also had trouble staying afloat.

There were months when she had money from working in the trucking or hydrovac industries. At one point, she had a five-bedroom house and was financing a new vehicle.

But, she says, everything fell apart in about nine months when a friend moved out without paying their share of the bills and work opportunities disappeared.

When looking for a place to live, she says she faced encounters with landlords who hurled racist and prejudicial comments. Sometimes she left showings in tears.

Warrior says she stayed in women’s shelters and slept in empty apartments.

“I’ve been through it all,” she says. “Homeless. Hitchhiking. Food banks. Relying on the kindness of strangers … the depression that comes with it, domestic violence, alcoholism, addiction.”

She says she openly shares her experiences now with those in Money Moccasins. She remembers one participant who laughed when Warrior told the class she was in bankruptcy.

“‘Who better to learn from than somebody who’s been there?’ Warrior recalls telling the woman. “Being open and vulnerable with them like that drops their guard.”

Warrior keeps a constant reminder of how far she’s come at her desk. Her computer screensaver shows Warrior looking into the distance with her sprawling First Nation behind her.

The photo was taken the day before she lost her driver’s licence for drinking. Shortly after that, in 2019, she attended her first class at Momentum and got a job with the charity.

She describes her Money Moccasins program, which started this year and explores assets, budgeting, banking, credit and consumerism, as generation changing.

“In this Western world, money is life. In our world, water is life,” says Warrior.

“This course, these classes, they give you something to hold that water. They show you that you can save your water, that your water is meant to be saved for the next generation.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2021.

Alanna Smith, The Canadian Press

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