“One tonne of 40/70,” Mr. Winters requests over the radio. “Three thirty-three, then hold till I tell you otherwise.”
Mr. Winters speaks a language few understand. He runs the show in the field when Trican Well Service Ltd. (TCW-T17.350.150.87%)is called in to perform a controversial technique used to gather oil and natural gas from impermeable rocks.
On this day, Trican is working for NAL Energy Corp. (NAE-T7.810.182.36%)near Bowden, about 100 kilometres north of Calgary. Trican is there to pump water, chemical and natural additives, and nitrogen down a well at frighteningly high pressure, with hopes of forcing fissures in the rocks thousands of metres below the surface. Sand will follow, propping open the cracks, allowing trapped oil to escape. The process is called hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.