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Slickline Services (All Levels)


Slickline services operations perform a safe, cost-efficient means to complete or enhance production in pressurized or static wellbores. Slickline operations involve the use of slickline, specialty line or braided line in conjunction with operation specific tools to:

  • install and retrieve valves, plugs and pressure regulators,
  • remove sand and paraffin from the wellbore,
  • run instruments to record bottom hole pressure and temperature, and
  • install and retrieve gas lift valves.

Slickline operators work primarily in oil and gas wells. Due to the associated complexities of working in wells under pressure, safety is a critical component of these occupations and is given primary importance at each level of slickline occupations.


Assistant Operator - is an entry-level position that provides support and assists with pre- and post-job operations. The assistant works with supervision from slickline operators.

Operator Level One - operates in oil and gas wells.

Operations include all primary aspects of job planning, implementation and evaluation involving pressure control equipment and the running of slickline tools. Additional responsibilities involve establishing operational requirements, maintaining and servicing equipment, ensuring conformance to industry recommended practices and taking charge of slickline operations on site.

Operator Level Two - operates in, or supervises operations at oil and gas wells.

Operations include different types of slickline operations such as fishing, bailing and perforating. This role involves ensuring a healthy and safe work environment, facilitating safe work procedures and practices, and implementing environmental policies. This position also includes supporting relationships with customers and supervising crew training.

Operator Level Three - operates in, or supervises operations at oil and gas wells.

Operations include all aspects of supervising and evaluating operations in sour critical and high-pressure wells involving advanced operations, such as complex fishing and braided line operations. This role involves ensuring a healthy and safe work environment, as well as compliance to industry recommended practices and all legislation. The position also requires supporting and building customer relationships.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Occupation Regulation


Working Conditions

Workers travel and conduct slickline operations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, working primarily outdoors, sometimes in adverse weather conditions.  The work environment at a wellsite can be noisy, dirty and physically demanding, while requiring periodic lifting of slickline equipment, up to 25 kilograms. The work may also require working at heights up to 5 meters. Certification requirements for the slickline operations levels are cumulative. This means candidates may apply for certification at any level without holding a competency certificate at the lower levels. However, the assessment process at each level includes assessment of all subordinate levels.


Working in Alberta

A certificate is not required to work as slickline services operators in Alberta.  This is a designated occupation and participation is voluntary.

Job skills, competencies and standards of performance for slickline services have been defined and approved under the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act.

An interested individual must complete the online Occupational Certificate - Credentials Application The application must include the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process, and a copy of an individual's petroleum competency program certificate, managed by Energy Safety Canada.

Individuals possessing a valid Alberta Journeyman Certificate, an Alberta Occupational Certificate or a document indicating that the individual holds a certificate that is recognized as equivalent to an Alberta trade or occupational certificate, are eligible to receive an Alberta Blue Seal business credential upon completing the necessary requirements.


Employment and Advancement 

Slickline services operators and supervisors are employed by contractors in the upstream petroleum industry. Individuals usually start at the entry-level position of slickline assistant operator.  As your work experience and competencies increase, these individuals may become operators at a higher level with supervisor responsibility.

Certified Alberta slickline services operators who have the supervisory and management competencies required by industry, may apply for a Blue Seal business credential after completing all requirements.

Slickline services are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 8232 oil and gas well drillers, well services, well testing and related workers.  Over 17,500 Albertans are employed in this general occupational group.  Demand for workers is expected to grow by 2.5 to 3.5 percent annually from 2007 to 2010.

According to a 2009 estimate, the salary range is $60,000 to $180,000 annually, depending on experience.


Occupational Certification Based on Recognized Credential

To learn the skills required for an Alberta Occupational Certificate in slickline services, a person must:

  • complete the petroleum competency program through Enform.
    • There are no entrance requirements for the slickline services occupation.

The Occupational Committee encourages individuals to obtain their high school diploma to meet employer’s requirements for employment and future advancement.

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates or people who already have related training or experience.

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available.  More information is available by contacting an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or by calling the toll-free information line at 1-800-248-4823.

To qualify for an Alberta Occupational Certificate based on completion of industry-established competencies, a person must:

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 780-248-4823.


Contact Information

To learn more about the detailed standards of competence used in the Petroleum Competency Program, visit Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform#.

Note: The detailed standards of competence must be purchased through the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform.

To learn more about Enform's Petroleum Competency Program contact:

Enform Registration, Certification, Student Services
5055 – 11 St. NE
Calgary, Alberta T2E 8N4
Phone: 403-516-8000
Phone Toll Free: 1-800-667-5557