Board Bio: Don Rae

Don Health Board

How long have you been in the industry and how did you get your start? I’ve been in the industry for 48 years. I started roughnecking in the summer of 1968 on a service rig to make extra money through the summer holidays. I returned to school that fall and the following summer having been bitten by the oil patch bug I returned to the oilfield, this time on the drilling rigs and from that point on I worked my way up to rig manager. After being a rig manager I started consulting in the early ’80s and continued in that capacity. In 1990, I formed my own consulting company which I owned for 17 years. I had as many as 20 plus consultants working in both U.S.A. and Canada. In 2008, I started Crusader Drilling Corp. which I currently run today. I enjoy working in the industry and the people I have met throughout the years.

How have you been involved with CAODC over the years? We became a member of the CAODC in 2008 at the time we formed Crusader Drilling Corp. and have remained an active member ever since. In the fall of 2014 I was asked to join CAODC’s drilling executive as a director. Shortly after that I was asked to finish out a term for a member of CAODC’s main board of directors ending in March this year. I was then elected to a new two-year term.

What prompted you to run for the Board of Directors? I ran for the board of directors because I believe we need a unified voice for our industry and also it gives me the opportunity to bring a Saskatchewan voice to the table. I feel that in good times and bad, the CAODC gives us both a unified voice and the ability to combine the resources and expertise of many of our industry leaders as we adapt to industry and government changes. The CAODC is well respected in our industry and at the government level and allows us to speak with a unified voice.

How have you seen the industry change since the early ’80s? Probably the biggest change I’ve seen is when the industry went from drilling vertical wells to using horizontal technology which came along in the late ’80s early ’90s. This breathed new life into all of the old oilfields and allowed companies to better drain their reservoirs and allowed to drill multi-wells and multi-legs off of one surface location. This leaves a much smaller environmental footprint and is much more cost effective for the oil companies. Also the new fracking technology along with the horizontal technology has brought many of the shale plays both oil and gas to profitability and has allowed these new shale plays to unlock there huge reserves. Also, drilling rig technology has really evolved.

In your estimation, what does Canada need to do to be more competitive in the global market? In my estimation, the biggest hurdle for Canada is our lack of pipelines; both east-west and south to get our resources to market. We are a huge producer of oil and natural gas and the pipelines are needed to make us competitive on the world markets.

Do you have any thoughts on doing business in Saskatchewan vs. other provinces? One of the biggest advantages to doing business in Saskatchewan today is the business friendly government that believes in low taxes and elimination of red tape within our resource industries. The Bakken play is a resource rich shale play and the current political regime has made their royalties more competitive than the surrounding provinces which draws more investment to the province which in turn creates more work and jobs within our oilfields.

How do you spend your time “off hitch”? I enjoy spending my time with my wife, five kids and my grandchildren. I spend a lot of time hunting and fishing. I also spend my summers at my cabin on Good Spirit Lake boating and quadding. In the winter I like to snowmobile and try to get away if I can to a warm climate for a week or so.

Anything else you’d like to add? I have been through these trying times on more than one occasion in the past and I know that this too will pass. I want to wish my oilfield friends all the best as they deal with these trying times.