On a rig, there are several companies carrying out varying tasks, working together to achieve the same goal, which is to drill an oil well. Oil can be found on land, shallow water or swampy areas and deep sea. How they found out there was oil in the deep sea is where you have to respect them geologists. One tried to explain it to me one day, and in layman’s terms, they simply send down ultrasound of varying wavelengths into the sea and then calculate the time it takes for the sound to get reflected by – wait for it – the different layers of soil beneath the sea. And we are talking almost sometimes 4500feet below sea level. And this helps them build a profile of what kind of soil is where and if there is the prospect of oil. See ehn, me too, I just know it’s all witchcraft, but it works so winch on charley!
To understand how it works, I usually use the analogy of building a house. The land on which the house is to be built, or in our case, the land or portion of the sea where drilling is going to occur is usually owned by the oil companies. And when we say oil companies, we are talking Daddy Chevron, Uncle Mobil, Papa Shell, Grandmaster Agip and others. They have use their juju and discovered that there is oil in a certain place, and after arranging with the government, proceed to contract someone to come and drill the well – or using our analogy, build the house. This is where they get a drilling company who own a drilling rig. There are several types of rigs out there of course, depending on where you are drilling. The contractor who has the machines, personnel and ability to build the house comes to your site and sets up shop. In this field of contractors with rigs are several companies – Transocean, Ensco, Sea Drill, Pacific Drilling – to name a few of the popular ones here. Also, because the owner of the house, i.e. the oil company, realizes that this house he wants to build is not just any type of house, it is complicated. He needs other specialized services to do certain jobs. The owner of the house then employs certain hands who carry out specialized services, or in certain cases, guides the contractor’s personnel in the building of the house. Using our house analogy, he hires specialized hands like architects, lighting designers, a painting expert who knows how to paint a house such that it shines yellow during the day and glows red at night, or a cameraman who goes round filming people building the house, etc. I tell you: there are myriad of services out there needed in the process of oil drilling. These are the guys referred to as oil servicing companies. This is where you find Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Weatherford, to name a few of the popular ones, all of them providing several services and working together with the drilling company and their personnel to deliver a well.
The rig is a community of its own where you meet different people, from different companies, and they become family away from home, especially if you are on a frequent rotation on that particular rig. A rotation is how long you get to spend at work (be it on a land rig or at deep sea, like some of us). Some people are on a two-week rotation – which is, two weeks on, two weeks off. Some others are on a one-month rotation. Some who work on sailing ships are sometimes on a four-month on, one-month off rotation, while some others have no rotation and work at the base in town till they are called to the rig and spend as much time as the job for which they are called requires; and then, when they are done, they resume their 9-5 jobs in town. These are usually service personnel though, that is, the people who work for oil servicing companies.
Brother, sister, no vex if this reads like a lecture, but it is necessary I spend a lot of time explaining so I can carry on in later entries with the knowledge that you completely understand.
I’ll end this entry here before it gets too long. I just closed shift and sleep full my eye.
My name is Uncle Stephen. And this is my Diary.