Monday, December 14, 2009

A Dilbert Moment

Our company has a lot of really clever people working for it. They hang out in a group called operations support whose job it is to take questions/problems from the field and come up with new ideas, workarounds, or solutions to these questions/problems. There is in fact a website dedicated to this process and you can follow the status of your problems as they work their way through the system. Generally it works pretty well and makes for some interesting reading.
So much by way of introduction. A while back I had been asked by  sales what limits there were on the weight of a tool string that could be effectively picked up on a piece of cable (sorry here is where stuff starts to get a bit technical). Most our documentation (and industry for that matter) deals with safe working loads and failure loads under static or near static condition. We can design a tensile weak point to pull out at 10000 lbs give or take a few pounds due to statistics and temperature. The same weak point can be pulled to say 7000 lb a million times reliably without ever experiencing a failure. In light of this it was suggested that for this application we could put a 7000 lb weight on this cable with no issues right?
Well not really.
The dynamics of moving that cable up and down in a wellbore haven't been taken into consideration. F=ma and all that. In other words by suddenly stopping a cable with a large weight on the end of it may exceed our 10000 LB weak point limit. And that means our million dollar tool falls off the cable and we would look like dorks for suggesting that we run a tool that size on cable in the first place.
Problem is we haven't done any research into this, so in terms of what accelerations (and hence stresses) that could reasonably expected, we have no data. And herein lies my Dilbert moment. I simply requested the support group (smart types PhDs physicist etc...) if there were any published guidelines for weak point selection given the uncertainties in stresses on the weak point due to accelerations.
Then I sat back and waited
and waited
and waited...
A few months later I got the response that, as of now, I am the caseworker for this little problem. Huh? Well excuse me. I did not submit a project study request. I submitted a technical action request. There is a difference. Really, if the company wanted me to set out policy I'm all for it. But we have people in place to do this sort of stuff. I don't have a 1000m test well and a spool of wireline in my backyard. And I can't ask the lady at the warung if she happens to have some accelerometers and a data recording system (fun to try tho...).
Today I received noticed that this request had been in the system too long and that I needed to finish it.
Hence the cartoon.
Isn't it fun to ask questions and draft your own responses?
Who knew problem resolution could be so easy?

1 comment:

H. Nizam said...


Hey, I am also a big fan of Dilbert.
And especially like the one you posted, although sounds funny but it happens (lol)