Lund named Oilman of the year

By Geoff Lee

February 18, 2016 1:35 PM

Arnie Lund

There’s a good reason why 70 year-old oilfield retiree Arnie Lund spends six months of the year in Mesa Arizona.
He simply doesn’t like cold weather any more.
His memories of working on a frigid cold drilling rig for Imperial Oil in the Northwest Territories for more than six years are anything but warm and fuzzy.
“Imperial Oil’s drilling department hired me in 1968 and boy that was an eye opener,” he wrote in his biographical notes as this year’s Oilman of the Year.
He certainly didn’t get the warm welcome a newcomer from Virden, Manitoba would expect.
In his own words he said, “I arrived in Inuvik, NWT Dec. 11 — temperature was 60 below with a wind chill making it something like -98 F.”                   
Lund’s aversion for cold weather will be retold during the annual oilman’s induction ceremony at the upcoming Lloydminster Heavy Crude Bonspiel banquet March 18.
He said the job he liked the best was a materials coordinator like he was for Nexen in Lloydminster up to his retirement in 2008.
“The other jobs were outside and cold, and I didn’t like the cold,” he said.
“I always said the only reason I didn’t like the cold was because I was lazy, but nobody else thought that.”
With Imperial in the NWT, he joked that he sought out jobs that kept him warm as a grader operator, forklift operator and camp attendant — but soon found himself back on the rig floor.
He toughed it out until 1974 as a roughneck, derrickhand, motorhand and a spare driller.
“It was freaking cold,  but it was exciting,” he said.
“We were out there wildcatting.”
Lund said when Esso sold their rigs off and hired contractors to cut costs, he transferred to their production department as a battery operator in Steelman, Saskatchewan.
There he did various jobs as a treater operator, service rig supervisor and pipeline supervisor.
“A lot of it was indoors or sitting in a truck,” he said in reference to the relative warmth of the work.
In 1991, the Esso Southern Saskatchewan operation was purchased by Sask Oil that employed him as an area materials coordinator in Estevan.
He looked after all the inventory yards in Midale, Aida, and Steelman.
It was not all work and no play for Lund whose name is in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Manitoba as a player and the Saskatchewan hall of fame as a coach for the Lampman As.
He coached the Lampman As to six provincial titles in eight tries.
Today, he golfs and fishes at his cottage in Loon Lake with plenty of firelogs handy to keep warm.
He also curled in Estevan where Sask Oil went through several name changes including Nexen in 1996 when he transferred to Lloydminster as a materials coordinator.
It was his role to keep track of company inventory yards in Edam, Marsden, Winter, Plover Lake and Court along with shallow gas wells and coal bed methane wells in Western Canada.
Lund retired at 64 and said if you include the first few jobs he had with other companies, it brings his career total to 45 years.
Looking back he said the biggest changes he’s seen in the industry are stricter safety and environmental rules and regulations.
“We as Imperial Oil employees did our best to look after the environment in the Arctic because it’s very tender up there,” he said.
He recalled they made ice roads to protect the tundra and put down a gravel pad between the rig matting and the tundra, so it wouldn’t thaw.
Money was the initial lure for his first job as a roughneck for Coulter Drilling in Manitoba.
“When I started in the oilpatch it was $2.25 an hour for a rough neck compared to 90 cents an hour for working on the railroad,” he said, giving a nod to his dad’s job where he worked as a foreman.
“When I had the job offer. I jumped at it. It was good money back then,” he said.
Lund will be at the banquet as a former runnerup in the bonspiel A event years ago in team skipped by Bruce Jack.
He also played in bonspiels in Wainwright and Maidstone with Lloyd being his favourite as one of the largest of its kind – until the downturn cut the event to 56 teams last year and maybe fewer this year.
“I am concerned about that, but you got to look at in another way too – like what else is there to do?” he said.
“Maybe go out and enjoy the day and the weekend and have some fun because there’s a lot of stress out there now.”
He said you can’t sit around and mope.

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