New From Canada - Need Oil Job Leads


Nov 9, 2008
Hello all, I am currently living in Calgary, Canada and looking for a change. I've been here 4 years. I am a pipeline (mechanical) engineer with piping design experience and am looking for people doing similar work in BA that can give me a few job leads. I am also curious about standard of living for expats in BA. I may figure this part out through the forum posts. Thanks in advance, Calgarynewf
haha -- We just spent 8 months waiting to hear about a transfer to Calgary from here. I know BA is a lot more interesting of a city than Calgary, but in terms of engineering, the pay is pretty miserly, so you'll have to decide whether financial reward is important to you! (To give you an idea my boyfriend is Argentine, Mech Eng, 6 years experience, Supervisor for the Southern Cone Region at one of the largest Pumps & Seals Corporations in the world (they have facilities in Calgary as well). Yet for all that his annual salary is the same as a minimum-wage earner in Alberta.)

You don't say what level of experience you have but if you can get scooped up on a foreign contract in a Managerial position with your Calgary experience you should be able to get a good salary and perks. However, if you wait and apply when you get here, and you don't have Spanish (again, you don't say) there's not necessarily going to be a lot of positions available, and with a language limitation you may have trouble finding jobs.

So if the money is important to you, the best bet for you is to attempt to get a transfer from Calgary down here, if that's an option in your company. With transfers you tend to be able to get a better salary.

If not, you should register with all the international recruiters you can find, and then target all the larger companies -- to be honest I do not know who the largest ones would be in pipelines, if you want I can ask the BF who that would be here.

Another good option would be to look into some of the Texas-based firms -- there are some that have offices down here and language may not be an issue. The other thing is, perhaps you could consider a transfer to Houston and then try and get a Latin American position from there.

There is also a lot going on in Neuquen, Mendoza, and down in places like Comodoro Rivadavia, so you may want to start scoping the web and find out who's set up down there and apply for positions from Canada. If you're willing to go to Patagonia (ie like going to Ft MacMurray) you'll make higher wages, but nada que ver with what they pay up in Northern Alberta. Chile also has a lot going on in the industry, and the salaries are higher.

Unfortunately in Argentina there's no central organisation like APEGGA. But you might want to start looking at the UTN (Universidad Technologica Nacional) site and see if they have anything like a jobs board. There's also a job board called that lists quite a few engineering positions, this could at least get you going with some idea of what Multinationals are operating down here.

I guess the good thing is that since there's nothing like APEGGA you won't have to worry about doing any PEng exams or anything! However if you don't go the apply-while-still-at-home route, bring translated copies of all your credentials with you -- your transcripts etc. Some of these companies can bwe incredibly rigid about these things! I still think you should do the apply from home route though. I think you'll have much better luck, and with foreign experience you could find yourself bumped up a few ranks compared to where you are in Canada.

Argentina, as you'll see all over any expat forum, is not as cheap as it was, and a lot of your day-to-day items are the same price and even sometimes more expensive than in Canada. However the only time we got snow was a couple of centimeters one day one June or July, but at least that's really winter here, not just some weird Chinook blowing through like in Calgary!

Good luck with your search.
Hey -- I was just talking with the BF over dinner about your options -- he says there's not a tonne of new pipeline design projects right now in Argentina but you could have some luck with Jacobs. He did say there's a project in Peru right now, I think he said the company running that is Techin?? Sorry not sure that's anywhere near right, lol. He said quite a few jobs would be out of La Plata rather than BA (1 hr away). Anyway he said if you want any advice / tips etc you can email him, so send me a PM and I'll pass you his address (his english is really good).
Thanks Syngirl. I know Jacobs well. Don't know if they would transfer me but its worth looking into. I have 4 years since graduation and 2 yrs during schooling of work experience. I don't need Fort Mac money and don't think Patagonia would be for me. :) Half the reason for going south is to be in a warmer place. My spanish is pretty basic for now but I am in lessons and expect I would have 3 of the 6 available levels done before going to BA. Peru would be interesting as well. I just visited Cusco and Macchu P. last June. I have submitted a resume to an Canadian oil operating company in Peru and Colombia. I will wait and see what happens there.