Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting There

As everyone knows getting there is half the fun so here is a typical getting there story.

With just 2 days to go in my hitch I got the the call...

Just so you know, my work in the oilfield usually begins with a frenzied call from the rig. There are usually two possibilities. The rig has either reached a point at which further drilling is impractical or the rig is stuck in the hole. Either case requires action on my part so lets assume the former. First step is to round up the the usual suspects (crew) and get everyone down to the heliport.

But wait...that's not a helicopter...apparently the helicopter is only for oil company personnel. Service company hands can ride on the boat with the food containers. My 30 minute buzz to the rig just became 5 hours. Damn cheap ass oil company!

The weather can change rapidly on water. It was raining when we left and blue sky when we arrived. So somewhere in between I got this.

The rig. No matter where you go they all look alike. Some are nicer than others. You are probably wondering how I am going to get up there from here. Can you see the basket on the left?
From here the personnel basket looks alarmingly like those cages that medieval types used to put criminals in.

A closer look. Simply load up your stuff in the middle, get a death grip on the webbing and ...

Wait for the whoosh while hanging on for dear life. Not quite as much fun as an arcade ride, but the excitement can be directly proportional to your fear of heights and the skill (or lack) of the crane operator. Note that there are no seat belts. We were lucky today and the cranes were good. I was once stuck on these baskets for an hour hanging off in space - not where you want to spend your time.

It takes about 30 seconds to get from the boat to the helideck.

Once we are on board its time to organise equipment. In most cases we have about 24 hours from the time we arrive to when we are actually needed. That's usually enough time to check our equipment and get a quick nap in before starting our job.
Luckily enough my relief arrived the next day, so instead of going to work, I was going home woohoo! I even got my own personal helicopter this time.


schmerly said...

Yep PJ been there done that, I used to think it was FUN!! but that was when I was young and stupid, now I'm just old and stupid!!

pj said...


I had not been on a Billy Pugh in 10 years and the next time I take one will be too soon. This one was actually pretty tame. I was on a rig in Bangledesh where the currents made it very difficult to position the boat. So the procedure was to hang you over the side until the boat could swing in. Then they would drop you at light speed, stopping at the last possible moment. Those crane drivers were good!