Owner seeks re­turn of stolen oil­field equip­ment

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY + REGION - MOR­GAN MODJESKI mmod­jeski@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/Mor­ganM_SP

SASKA­TOON The owner of a $45,000 piece of oil­field equip­ment wants the al­leged thieves to bring it home.

In a news re­lease is­sued over the week­end, Unity RCMP said a blow-out pre­ven­ter was stolen from a Cona Re­sources well site in Win­ter, Sask. some­time be­tween Nov. 5 and Nov. 11. RCMP said the al­leged thieves would have had to use a trailer and a “picker truck” to re­move the equip­ment, which is de­scribed as “very heavy and large.”

“I find it re­ally hard to be­lieve that some­one would take it,” said Brent O’Don­nell, owner of Cru Well Ser­vic­ing Ltd., which owns the equip­ment. “The big­gest thing about oil­field equip­ment is that you have to have cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. With­out that cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, the piece of equip­ment is ac­tu­ally use­less.”

If the thieves tried to get the equip­ment cer­ti­fied, they would have to ad­mit to work­ing with stolen prop­erty, as the se­rial num­bers and other iden­ti­fy­ing mark­ers are needed for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, he said.

“The sad part is this is prob­a­bly go­ing to end up get­ting sold for scrap me­tal or never be­ing used,” he said.

The theft is the largest he’s ex­pe­ri­enced, but this type of be­hav­iour is not un­com­mon be­cause equip­ment is some­times stored in re­mote and iso­lated ar­eas, O’Don­nell said.

He plans to keep his equip­ment in bet­ter-lit, more pop­u­lated ar­eas in the fu­ture, he added.

Theft can hit par­tic­u­larly hard dur­ing an eco­nomic down­turn.

“When times are tough, it’s an added ex­pense that you don’t need,” said Hal Wright, pres­i­dent of Pipemas­ter Oil­field Ser­vices, not­ing im­prov­ing se­cu­rity also re­quires in­vest­ment.

“With the eco­nomic down­turn in the oil­patch, it isn’t get­ting any bet­ter, that’s for sure,” he said.

Ray Frehlick, pres­i­dent of Prairie Mud Ser­vices in Este­van and a mem­ber of the Petroleum Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada, said while theft of a piece of equip­ment like a blow-out pre­ven­ter is likely an “iso­lated in­ci­dent” due to its size alone, he’s had fuel tanks drained and tools taken in the past.

“There’s a huge amount of van­dal­ism,” he said.

“We live in the city of Este­van here and we can’t leave our trucks out at night un­less the fuel tanks are locked up on them, be­cause they’ll steal the fuel.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the theft is asked to call RCMP in Unity, Wilkie or Mack­lin, or con­tact CrimeStop­pers at 1-800-2228477.

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