Special Oilwell Operator

Special Oilwell Operator is a self-study online course that teaches you the details about oilfield boilers that are typically a component of a drilling or service rig. You will learn about the safe operation of an oilfield boiler, with a capacity of up to 1,000 kW.

This course will prepare you for the Alberta Boilers Safety Association (ABSA) Special Oilwell Operator (SOW) exam.

Upon Completion

Upon completion of the course, an Energy Safety Canada certificate will not be issued. Please visit www.absa.ca for examination scheduling, application deadlines, submitting your application and receiving approval to write the exam.

Topics Covered

  • Boiler regulations and basic principles
  • Design of wellsite boilers
  • Boiler construction and materials
  • Boiler parts
  • Boiler fittings
  • Combustion and firing equipment
  • Automatic boiler controls
  • Boiler water treatment, operation and maintenance
  • Pumps and injections
  • Boiler operation
  • Troubleshooting and maintenance
  • Boiler safety


There are no prerequisites to take the self-study online course.

Equipment Requirements for Online Class

  • A currently supported version of your operating System for Windows or Apple
  • Stable internet connection with a supported web browser
  • Speakers / Microphone (headset recommended)


  • To qualify for the Special OILWELL Operator examination, participants must meet the following ABSA criteria:
    • Six months’ experience in an installation that involves a boiler or boilers operating as part of a transportable power plant at a drilling or hydrocarbon production site
  • The ABSA examination is booked directly through ABSA on their website www.absa.ca.
  • Participants are given unlimited attempts at the final practice exam.
  • The course can be accessed at anytime through your online account, for 90 days from initial registration. Our Energy Safety Canada offices are available to support during regular business hours.
  • Students who do not complete the course within 90 days, registration fees will not be reimbursed, as per the Cancellation Policy
  • After 90 days, students can register for the course again, registration fees may apply.
  • All registrations for the course are booked through Energy Safety Canada.
  • Energy Safety Canada does not have any affiliation with ABSA certifications. For information regarding recertification, replacement certificates or exam results, please contact ABSA.
  • The ABSA certificate is renewable by paying a yearly fee to ABSA.