A lucrative career in pipelining is being offered to Osage Countians.
Enbridge Inc. is offering more than 200 jobs through the Osage Nation to work on its Flanagan South Pipeline Project, beginning in September. The project, a nearly 600-mile crude oil pipeline that originates in Flanagan, Ill., and ends in Cushing, Okla., will require more than 500 employees to lay a 36-inch pipe this side of Independence, Kans., to Cushing. Osage County will lay the last 150-mile stretch.
The Nation’s Human Resources Department and Education Department are taking names and information from those interested in the work.
“We need around 200 employees, everything from oilers, welders, helpers, operators, cooks, laundry people … I need bus drivers,” said Ida Doyle, ON Education Department Director. “If you know anyone who wants to work, willing to work, wanting to work, I have jobs.”
The variety of jobs available will require training since the job is very dangerous, she said at an Osage Nation all-employee meeting May 8. The Nation will provide training to those who meet low-income guidelines and the trainings will be simulated to mimic the workday typical on the job site.
Trainings will begin in June and the first phase of work will begin at the end of July, she said. Once the main job of laying pipe gets started in September it will last for 8 to 9 months.
“We’re going to set training just like you’re gonna experience on the work force. Training will start at 7 a.m., you’ll get two 15-minute breaks, a 30-minute lunch, you have to eat on site and you’ll be done at 5 p.m.,” Doyle said. “I will be there the first day of training. If you’re late, you won’t make it.”
The jobs are all union positions and after the eighth day on the job employees will be eligible to buy their union book, which entitles them to health benefits, a retirement plan and a scholarship program. Some of the unions have said they will waive the sign-up fee.
“Everybody’s eligible, depending on the union or type, 798, which is the local union, the annual dues start at $2,100,” Doyle said. “A lot of them (union workers) are working with you. They’re going to provide certain equipment, like face shields, gloves, helmets. I think some of them, depending on what union it is, you have $100 to help toward your steel toe boots. The lowest paying job is $20-something an hour and $42.50 per diem. If you’re a welder, you’ll make $49-something and $150 a day per diem.”
Doyle stressed the more training a person attends, the more likely they’ll get hired. Those who get called back for training will have to find their own transportation to the business center in Pawhuska.
A person must be 18 and over to work, but must be 21 and over to be an operator, she said. Background checks will not be a barrier but Doyle said there will be random drug testing.
She said those interested can call Louise Cheshewalla at the ON Education Department at (918) 287-5303.
Enbridge will be hosting an open house May 23 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Pawhuska’s Business Strategy Center located at 1225 Virginia Street. The informal event is geared toward restricted landowners in whom Enbridge can obtain right-of-ways. Enbridge executives will be on hand to discuss construction plans and answer questions from the public.
According to a letter sent to the Osage Nation Energy Services LLC May 3 by Ron Fuchs, Senior Lands and Right of Way specialist for Land Services (U.S. Projects), Enbridge representatives have been working with the BIA Osage Agency since early 2012 to take the appropriate steps to obtain easement interests in the restricted properties along the Project route.
“In particular, Enbridge has worked with the Agency to obtain consent from restricted landowners to complete environmental and civil surveys on the restricted properties,” according to the letter. “Those surveys have been completed, and appraisals valuing the easements sought by Enbridge have been submitted to the Agency. It is anticipated that the Agency will be contacting restricted landowners soon to provide information regarding these appraisals and to convey Enbridge’s offer for the easements Enbridge is seeking.”
The ONES board discussed at their May 13 meeting the pending lease agreement with Enbridge. The agreement is for a 105-acre trust property near Pershing, Okla., that Enbridge will use to store materials. The agreement was initially for a pipe yard but the BIA’s environmental assessments were estimated to take too long for project deadlines.
“The Enbridge lease agreement is finished and ready for signature,” said Jill Jones, ONES board chair, at the meeting. Enbridge, Osage Nation Principal Chief John Red Eagle and the Bureau of Indian Affairs all have to sign the agreement.
Since construction on the pipeline doesn’t start until September, Enbridge will have enough time to conduct environmental assessments on the 31 trust properties Enbridge will be constructing pipeline through, Jones said.
Two pipe yards will be constructed for the project. Construction for the first pipe yard will begin in June, Jones said. The pipe yards will be located in Osage County and Payne County. Construction of the pipe yards will take about three weeks.
Jones said that Enbridge has yet to select a main contractor for the job.
According to Enbridge.com, the Flanagan South Pipeline Project will cross Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. The majority of the pipeline will parallel Enbridge’s existing Spearhead crude oil pipeline right-of-way. Once finished the initial capacity of the pipeline will be 600,000 barrels per day.
Enbridge Inc. plans to spend $8.8 billion in the U.S. to transport greater volumes of petroleum to refinery hubs in the Gulf Coast region and other markets, according to an L.A. Times article. The company will transport more petroleum than TransCanda would with its Keystone XL pipeline project from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast, according to the article.
Enbridge Inc. runs the longest pipeline system in Canada and the U.S.
According to Enbridge.com, “Enbridge’s policy lays out key principles for Aboriginal relations, such as respect for traditional ways and land, heritage sites, the environment, and recognition of unique legal and constitutional rights. The policy is designed to ensure that Aboriginal and Native American people near our projects and operations receive sustainable benefits.”
For more information on the Flanagan South Pipeline Project, visit www.enbridge.com/flanagansouthpipeline.
For more information on the Flanagan South Pipeline Project job opportunities and training, call Louise Cheshewalla at (918) 287-5303.
Osage News Senior Reporter Benny Polacca contributed to this report.