EDMOMTON, Alberta – Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, hosts of the popular long-running BBC television series Top Gear, have been in Alberta over the past week filming an episode. The focus of the episode is heavy equipment used in oil and gas operations. With my extensive petroleum industry experience, and more importantly being related to the producer, your 2P News correspondent was asked to serve as a consultant and translator.
Their first stop was at an open pit tar sand mining operation at Athabasca. Mr. Clarkson and Mr. Hammond commandeered two Caterpillar 979B 400-ton heavy hauler trucks and proceeded to race to the bottom of the pit. As any viewer of the show could imagine, this was not without misadventures. Damage to the $6 million machines was extensive and the pair was escorted off the premises at gunpoint and told never to return. Whether or not any useable film was shot is unknown.
The next venue was a refinery loading rack. A competition was arranged to see who could load a tanker truck with gasoline and deliver it to customers in the least amount of time. Mr. Clarkson, a notorious pyromaniac, thought it would be hilarious if everyone performed the task while holding an ignited railroad flare. After once again being escorted off the premises by armed guards, Mr. Clarkson remarked that Canadians seem to be as daft about guns as Americans are.
Next, the three merry pranksters turned their attention to a drill site at the Pembina Field. After donning their idea of safety equipment, consisting of medieval suits of armor, they invaded a hydraulic stimulation job in progress. While the frac crew was taking a break, they surreptitiously rerouted a feed line and filled the command trailer with sand. After being beaten senseless by the frac crew, the trio called it a day and returned to Calgary.
Finally, Mr. May, a boating enthusiast, asked for a tour of the Calgary Shipyards. He said he had an idea to include a race among three oil Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) as a segment of the show. Each of the three hosts would captain one of the tankers. (His nickname on the show is Captain Slow.) He was quite disappointed to learn that Calgary is far inland, has no shipyards and VLCCs do not ply the Bow River. However, this request did cement his reputation as first among all twits.
The episode is expected to air sometime in 2015.