Top 10 Oilfield questions about life offshore from non-oilfield people

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Sunrise bathes the S-92

First off, “How’s the Rig?”, this isn’t a real question but another version of “hows work?”. Its a filler. These are the real questions I get the most.

 

“Why do you do that?”

Offshore Mudlogging is good work. It pays well, you get a lot of exposure to drilling, and the accommodations are 5 star compared to land rigs. I am given a ton of responsibility at a young age. I get to troubleshoot 100k pieces of equipment and oversee million dollar operations. Not many young professionals get this type of opportunity.

“What’s the work like as a mud logger?”

  1. Fedex, packaging, manifesting and shipping rocks, mud, and gas
  2. Monitor and Report drilling problems, ie stuck pipe, kicks, hole cave ins
  3. Detect and analyze gases from the rocks
  4. Maintain computer networks, gas equipment and our sensor suite
  5. Produce real-time and depth projected logs of drilling, and lithology

“What is it like out there?”

War against Nature. Your squad and a bunch of computers against rocks and gas at high pressure.

“What’s your average day like?”

Wake up at 17:15, eat in the galley, go to pre-tower meeting, walk to work, drink coffee, monitor operations, talk to WSG, Coman and RF about anomalies, after 12 hours get off tower, work out in rig gym, shower in my room, read and sleep. Repeat for 21-28 days.

“Whats the rig gym like?’

Different on each rig, but on my rig they have ellipticals, treadmills, dumbells up to 100lbs, a squat rack, benchpress, ping pong table, bikes, rowing machine, pullup bars, and a smith machine.

“What do you do when you get off work?”

Work out, read, go fishing, eat in the galley, hang out, watch tv, smoke, listen to music, and sleep. Not much to do really, it’s a monks life. But I enjoy the time away from distractions. I am able to read 100 pages a night, write, workout, and invest. Each time I come back onshore I feel like I improved my life 5% in each of the categories I seek to improve. Physically, financially, and intellectually. Then I hang out with friends and decompress from all the stress.

“Do you guys drink alcohol and do drugs out there?”

A resounding No. Heliport x-ray scans and bag checks plus random drug and alcohol tests while onboard.

“Are there any girls offshore?”

Yes, about 5% of drilling engineers, mudloggers, and MWD’s are girls. Very rare to find a girl on the marine crew, drill crew or maintenance crew.

“Do they have fights, sex?”

Not really much fighting. Mainly arguments. If you did anything physical you would be run off. As for sex, I’ve head rig rumors, but the walls in the rooms are so paper thin, everyone would hear you.

“Do they have mental health seminars of counselors out there to deal with the problems?”

The crew becomes pretty tight nit. They become like a second family and the downturn in the industry really tightened people together. I think it’s similar to any line of work where you are away from family and friends for a prolonged amount of time. Yes its corporate and you have to watch what you say, but people are generally easy to get along with and can take a joke. As for keeping my mindset correct. Like everyone I go through days of low energy and cloudy thoughts. I try and do a couple things to get my mind off it. I write in my journal until I get to the root of the feeling, I try and stay off social media and tv, and I try and eat a healthy diet and stay active during and after my shift. That helps me stay even throughout my hitch.

These are the most common ones I get from friends and family back home. I had little idea coming in what it would be like and I’m glad I stuck it out through the tough times.

Hopefully things in the oilfield will stabilize and my friends that were laid off will once again be back on bottom drilling ahead.

Any other questions let me know.

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Blood, Sweat and Oil; What Mud logging in the Oilfield is like

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Drillship in the distance

Extraction of volatile substances sometimes under extreme pressure in a hostile environment — means risk; accidents and tragedies occur regularly.

As a Mud logger my job is to take, describe and log the rocks and gas all the way down to TD. I also monitor the well, watching for problem indicators on our sensors. At the end of the day we produce reports for clients.

The job is sometimes hard, with long hours of dirty, sweaty work in hot cramped machine rooms. The job can also be boring, spending 10 hours staring at computer screens. I experience social isolation during the 14-28 days I am out here. But it does come with its perks.

Advantages:

The views.

Money. All food is provided, no long car commute. Pay is pretty good.

Hot showers, warm bed, laundry services, all you can eat buffets.

28 On / 14 Off Schedule. Is good for traveling.

Gym onboard, no alcohol. Can get in shape and lose weight.

Ability to read a lot. I’ve read many books while offshore.

The Oilfield Life

“It doesn’t rain in the oilfield” Applies today well. I am working the Midnight to Noon shift. It is pouring down rain and lightning is hitting around us. Still the rig crew keeps tripping out pipe.

It never stops working. These rigs go 24 hours a day 7 days a week. No holidays because it costs 1.5 million dollars per day to operate.

I work 12hr/day. My back to back, does the exact same job for the other 12 hours.

After I knock off I can play guitar, watch tv, or go to the Gym. I have been going to the gym less often this hitch because my circadian rhythm is still off.

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Sikorsky S-92 Personnel Helicopter

To get out here I take a 1 hour helicopter ride from Houma on a 20 passenger Sikorsky S-92, 20. Was exciting at first and now just monotonous. I normally just bury my head in my paper back because they don’t allow electronics.

My Drill Ship is 780ft long, 138ft wide. 10-15 floors. Built in 2014 in South Korea and cost 700 million dollars. Includes a cafeteria, helipad, 2 gyms, and a movie theater.

The global oversupply has led my company to cut around 30,000 jobs. My pay has been cut by 30%. Morale out here is pretty bad. Most of us are just happy to have jobs. People are getting laid off right and left. The training schedule has been canceled and we are all making sacrifices.

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Sunrise on the Drillship