Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Morality - Tangerang Style

Don't let your morals prevent you from doing whats right
Issac Asimov

It sucks to be a poor kid in Indonesia. It sucks even more when you have to shine shoes at the airport instead of going to school like the other kids. And it really sucks when police arrest you for gambling when you are just playing a coin tossing game for pennies. All in the name of morality.

Apparently these kids in Tangerang must be a fearsome lot because the police felt the need to threaten them with their firearms. Too dangerous to be sent home they were hauled off to detention - for a month - instead of allowing them to stay with their families. Then they convicted them of gambling and now have criminal records. All of this in a city whose motto is ahlakul karimah (Good morals).

A Rogues Gallery

Fachrozi Hanapi - One of the arresting officers, Pak Fachrozi felt compelled to threaten children with his sidearm while making the arrest. The man will probably get a medal. Makes you wonder what kind of people get into the police force these days.

Suyono - Tangerang district chief prosecutor. Surprisingly enough he was willing to prosecute this case after having the option to demand an acquittal. What did he have to prove and what self-respecting prosecutor would want this on his record?

Retno Pujiningtyas - The judge who presided over this farce and convicted all the children. Better that she said than risk having them become repeat offenders. I suppose she has that tough love thing going. Pity her kids.

Wahadin Halim - The mayor of Tangerang who really should be paying more attention to what is going on in his city. Perhaps he had a busy skins game the day the kiddies were convicted.

All of this police time, court time, and prison time for what is essentially a few kids playing a game. Whatever happened to giving those kids a good talking to? The real crooks must be settling in Tangerang - the police and courts are way too busy with frivolous cases to worry about chase the preman, thieves, con artists and corrupters .

In Halim's crusade for moraltopia children are the casualties.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Angola Revisited

Its been some time since I've been down in West Africa. Almost 2 years since I've been to Angola. There have been positive changes. There are a lot of new buildings under construction. The Railway is up and running now. There are the beginnings of a highway going north from Luanda. The Airport has a new arrival hall. Unfortunately some things haven't changed. The traffic is still horrendus. There is still nowhere to park. The visa process is still a giant clusterfcuk. And the food in Sonils still sucks - big time.

I'm was kind of expecting to be here. Apparently some work that some people thought was easy went badly wrong. I'm here to lend some experience to the operation. As a result my cunning plan to go to Ghana has been put on indefinite hold. The good news is that there is a real possibility for an extended contract here. We have all been looking over our shoulders since last October - the company is in the midst of an intensive reshuffle. Any kind of perceived job security is good news. The other good news is that we are getting all kinds of new and fancy equipment to do this work.

We are at the moment in the modelling stage. Hopefully we will deploy next week. Still a few things to do before all ready to go but my confidence at the moment is high. Here's to a successful campaign!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Tournament

For some reason I enjoy Golf. Maybe its the joy of tromping around in high heat and humidity. Maybe its the pert caddies. Maybe its for that one-in-a-thousand shot amongst all the slices, duffs, shanks, hooks, and missed putts. Take your pick. So although I am a serious duffer I quite welcome the opportunity to get out on the course for a few holes and into the clubhouse for a few beers post-play.

It was not too difficult to convince me therefore to enter into a charity tournament a few weeks back at New Kuta Golf. The tournament was held to benefit the R.O.L.E. Foundation. It could've been a benefit for the society of wayward oilfield expats for all I care - any excuse is a good reason to play.
So Sunday afternoon Buddy and I found ourselves on the Tee box with a cooler full of beer, waiting for the third member of our flight to show up. Now usually I recommend playing golf with strangers. Its a great way to meet people and its always surprising to find out who knows who. But this time was different. This time our stranger was Mr 18 handicap. I sure 18 handicap has a real name but I really don't care if he does. Anyone who introduces themselves by announcing their handicap is a social equivalent of the guy at the party who talks constantly about his Mercedes parked out front. Furthermore I have serious doubts about anyone wearing sweatbands on a golf course.

After making his presence known 18 handicap then proceeded to the tee box to make his drive. Buddy and I watched in anticipation. We waited while 18 handicap made a few cursory practice swings with his thousand dollar graphite driver. We waited some more while 18 handicap made impressive faux measurements of topography and wind velocity using only his driver - apparently now it was also a sextant, surveying device and anemometer. We waited while 18 handicap made minuscule adjustments to his stance while simultaneously moving his head up towards his target and back down towards the ball - perhaps he was concerned that either the fairway or the ball would disappear if he took his eyes off it - who knows. All I know it was taking way too long to make this shot. Jeez Louise I thought, just hit the damn ball already. Finally 18 handicap took his stroke and fired the ball 260 yards straight into a gully. What a putz! Now there is nothing in golf better than watching someone you don't like make a spectactular bad shot. Makes you feel warm all over. In our case it meant that 18 handicap had to go through his interminable routine all over again but in a way it was worth it. Buddy took advantage of the delay by burying himself in the beer cooler. Not a bad place to be.

Several hours (and beers) our little flight has the dubious distinction of being the last people on the golf course. Thanks to 18 handicap by the time we had finished everyone else had gone home. As the Marshall handed me my door prize he mentioned , "we had to put 18 handicap with you and buddy pj - no one else would play with him".

Now you tell me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An update on the lapindo thing.

Photo clipped from here
The Lapindo debacle has been ongoing for just over 3 years now. Recently a report commissioned by Medco somehow found its way to Al-Jazeera. Its such an interesting report that I just had to post some of the findings here. Medco was a partner in the Lusi well.

You can read or download the entire report here.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The level of incompetence demonstrated by the operator in this case is astounding. Basically the report says that the well plan was inadequate, the drilling and geological personnel were incompetent, and the rig was in no condition to drill anything. Furthermore the actions of the operator after encountering lost circulation demonstrated no understanding of the problem and no clue of what to do. Basically they tried to run away.

Here is a teaser (executive summary) below. The author is Neal Adams

Lapindo Brantas, Inc. as the Operator of the Brantas Block in East Java planned and drilled the Banjar Panji No. 1 Well. The well was spudded on 9 March 2006. After drilling to 9,297 feet and reaching the Kujung formation, lost circulation was encountered. An attempt was made to pull the drill string out of the hole. A kick was taken when the bit was at 4,241 feet. An underground blowout occurred and subsequently created an above ground blowout.
Primary causation of the blowout was due to numerous operational mistakes as well as errors and omissions. Lapindo violated its own Well Plan by failing to install casing at 6,500 feet and also at ~9,000 feet. The installation of either casing string, with a proper cement job, would have prevented the kick and subsequent blowout.
The kick taken with the bit at 4,241 feet was incorrectly diagnosed and handled by Lapindo.
Several attempts were made to kill the flow before Lapindo turned its focus to the stuck pipe.
These kill attempts were nearly successful at killing the underground blowout that had developed. It appears that Lapindo did not have the technical competence to recognize that its pumping operations would likely be successful at killing the underground blowout if they had continued.
The numerous errors and omissions by Lapindo in causing the Banjar Panji No. 1 blowout can be considered as negligent, grossly negligent and/or criminally endangering the lives of the crew and surrounding residents as well as endangering the environment.
Lapindo bears the sole responsibility for the blowout.

There was another interesting comment made by a Lapindo spokesman basically stating that Lapindo had been given permission not to run protective casing by The energy watchdog (BPMigas I think - correct me if I'm wrong). If thats the case then Migas too shares the blame of incompetence in this disaster.

Given all this its a wonder why people are not rioting in the streets.

VSP - Vertical Seismic Profile. - A seismic survey whereby the receivers run into the wellbore. Offers several refinements to surface seismic incuding: a) depth correlation-surface seismic is time based b) improved resolution - the geophones are much closer to the features that you are trying to identify and c) lookahead capabilities using VSP are much more accurate than surface seismic.