Q&A with Darren Bates, owner, Diverse Drilling Ltd

Darren Bates

You offer geo-technical and environmental drilling services. Can you explain what this means to those of us who are not familiar with what you do?
Geo- tech drilling is where we test soil densities and stratigraphy for engineered structures and facilities. Often this pertains to new buildings, piling installation, bridge installation and pipeline crossings. The environmental aspect of drilling is basically testing soils for contamination. There is upstream drilling, which includes well sites and plant sites and downstream, which is generally fuel and bulk stations.

Diverse Drilling has also evolved to include vac and steam trucks as well as some general trucking such as gravel and contaminated soil hauling.

How long has Diverse Drilling been in business?
We have been in business since 2003.

Where are most of your drilling projects?
The drilling projects have taken us all over northern B.C. and Alberta whereas the vac and trucking work is mostly local.

Looking at the gallery slideshow on your website, it seems you go through any terrain. What are some of the more challenging jobs you encounter?
As far as terrain for drilling projects, muskeg can be an issue. We have definitely sunk a few drill rigs in the past.

Do each of the services you offer require specialized drilling equipment and training?
For the most part, the drilling is pretty straightforward for regular soil sampling. The tooling consists of 5-foot-long drill stem (auger) with a 6-inch diameter with hex fittings, male and female, that slide together and then are retained with a pin. This stem is drilled into the ground then retracted straight out and the environmental consultant retrieves the soil sample from this auger. To advance the hole, the auger is drilled back in and another auger is attached and drilled down. We also have hollow stem augers, air rotary and ODEX drilling capabilities.

Once a well is drilled, how much ongoing maintenance/service is required to keep it operational?
We do not drill wells in the conventional sense. We install Piezometers (groundwater monitoring wells), which allow the consultants to retrieve groundwater samples for analysis to ensure there is no groundwater contamination or monitor it if there are issues.

Please state some of your company’s core values.
Obviously, safety is at the top of the list: we want everyone going home in one piece and, quite frankly, with safety systems such as ISNet, Complyworks and PICs, injuries or lost time accidents are detrimental to small companies such as ours. Maintaining a solid relationship with clients is important, and it starts from the bottom with a good working environment before the employees and equipment leave the shop.

Your company places a high value on safety. What are some of the safety procedures you expect from yourselves and your employees?
We have a procedure for basically every situation an employee will encounter in the field. We also maintain an open line of communication between field personnel and management so we can mitigate safety issues before they become incidents.

Your company has regular safety audits. Can you explain why these audits are important?
We are COR-certified, so that includes yearly audits. We also do our own onsite inspections and quarterly safety meetings. The audits are a tool to find and assess issues regarding safety. Whether it be personnel, equipment, PPE, engineered or documentation, these are all part of the safety processes that are reviewed by an external auditor and management to make sure we are operating accordingly. The information and updates are also passed on to employees or equipment updated as needed.

It says your drillers and driller’s assistants are trained on the job. What is the basic education level they should have before they can start training?
Attitude, experience and common sense are, quite honestly, more important than the education background of the employees in our industry.

What are the pros and cons of working at a drilling company such as yours?
Although we are called Diverse Drilling, I would not call us a drilling company, per se, as we have diversified over the years. It is not easy to make a name change when so many clients are already acquainted with our current name. Like any other oilfield service company, we work long hours under changing weather conditions and encounter new challenges everyday. That being said we have a great group of employees who are up to these challenges, and the people that we work for have been excellent to deal with – which makes day-to-day operations much more enjoyable.


  • Address: PO Box 73, Baytree, AB T0H 0A0
  • Phone: (780) 933-3137
  • E-mail: darren@diversedrilling.ca
  • Web: www.diversedrilling.ca