Although most of their work takes place below the ground, Suncor’s Wells team plays a key role in discovering and developing new assets for the company every day. 

From building leases and roads, to drilling and completing wells or working at both on and offshore sites, it can often seem like there's nothing this team can't do. 

After beginning his career working in the field, Nathan Mitchell, a drilling superintendent for sites in the Wood Buffalo region, has a unique understanding of the contract workforces he leads. He says the incredible scope and amount of work the wells team does is a testament to their expertise across the board, “It's an amazing team.

Everybody I work with is positive and great. We're all subject matter experts in our own area and it's such a dynamic group.” 

The integrated wells team is flexible and adaptable with a workforce that adjusts according to the season.  For example, when the team maps new areas or collects core to inform future mine plans, a lot of the work can’t be done in the summer due to muskeg and lack of density in the ground. Most of the work the integrated wells team does takes place during the winter, with contractors joining Nathan’s team and across the integrated wells team.

“Our team are masters of dealing with change,” adds Nathan. “We often get last-minute details and requests that are critical. Our team works with other aspects of operations and stakeholders to assess and understand the risks to ensure we deliver the work in a safe manner.” 

An aerial photo of a clearing where a drilling rig is set up. There is snow on the ground and buildings and vehicles along the clearing perimeter.
Much of the work of Suncor's wells team needs to be done in the winter when the ground is frozen.

Nathan also believes culture is the most important aspect of achieving his team’s goals in a short time frame with a rotating team. He works hard to understand his teams needs and incorporates Suncor’s number one value — safety above all else.  

Nathan visits his teams regularly to ensure ongoing safe practices and to reinforce the care and trust he has for the team. It’s an important mindset to keep when work needs to be accomplished in a set time frame. Last winter, the wells team in the Wood Buffalo region drilled close to 1,800 wells in four months. This is important work to test for new development sites or sites for potential reclamation. 

“If we're doing something that they think doesn't make sense, I want my team to feel comfortable telling me about it,” adds Nathan. “I have the utmost confidence in my team as they are competent and skilled workers. We're there to create a positive work environment and make sure that we're giving them everything they need to succeed safely.” 

While the integrated wells team spends most of their time working underground, it’s important to recognize and appreciate our field-based workforce who form the base of our business by keeping our wells operations running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.