Sunday 31 August 2014

Life on an Oil Rig

Have you ever imagined how life is in the middle of the sea? Do you ever wonder what they do? If you happen to be passing by a beach, can you see an oil rig or platform in the middle of the sea? What is an oil rig? Does anyone live there? Who are they? How do they travel to the oil rig? By boat or by swimming?
An oil rig or oil platform is a large structure with facilities to drill wells, to extract and process oil and natural gas, and to temporarily store products until it can be brought to shore for refining and marketing. For PETRONAS, there are two types of platforms. One is a compliant tower of platform which the tower foundation is piled on the sea bed. The other one is the semi-submersible platform. The jackets of this type of platform are hollow that gives it sufficient buoyancy to cause the structure to float. Semi-submersible platforms can be moved from place to place.
There are almost 100 people working on an oil rig. They work on a 12-hour shift basis for each position. They have no social life because their life on an oil rig is all about 'work'. On some rigs, mobile phones are not allowed for safety reasons. That is why whoever works offshore is usually scheduled to work 14 days non-stop and when they return to land they will have 14 days of leave. Mobile phones need to be kept in special lockers which is a service provided at airports. They travel by helicopter to and from an oil rig.

The Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) is the manager of an oil platform. He is the one who controls and manages the operation of an oil rig. He is also responsible to maximize production of crude oil. Besides that, he must ensure safety, quality and environment systems fully comply with corporate standards, HSE policies including managing emergency and incident response and lead the Emergency Response Team in any emergency evacuation.

The engineering team consists of drilling engineers, mud engineers and reservoir engineers. They are all in charge to determine and carry out the drilling jobs. During the planning phase, geologists and mud loggers will take samples of drilling mud in order to classify the rock type and the formation that is being drilled. It is helpful to know the formation type and in testing the samples for any oil or gas presence.

The toolpusher is responsible for all operations in the drilling rig and deliver the orders from the engineers to the drillers. Toolpushers who work at night are called 'nightpushers'. The toolpusher is directly in charge and responsible for the rig crew which includes the floorman, driller and derrickman. Basically, the driller operates the drilling equipment and keeps an accurate record of everything that happens in making the hole.

The derrickman works from the monkeyboard, 30 meters up the derrick. His job there is to connect or disconnect the hoisting equipment to the drill pipe. Floormen, roughnecks and roustabouts work on the drilling floor alongside the well; moving pipes and screwing them together. They handle the low end of each new section of casing or drill pipe as it is lowered into the hole - or raised out when the drill bit needs to be changed.

Even though they live far from everything, if minor injuries and sickness happen, the medic is the first line of defense in an emergency. The medic, usually treating cuts, bruises, broken bones and colds. Seriously ill or injured crew members are airlifted to the nearest hospital. Good food is one of the few real comforts for workers who are on the platform for weeks at a time. The three cooks aboard the platform to prepare four meals a day for 40-100 people. Fresh produce comes in by boat.

There is a person also specialized in dealing with fire emergency cases in the platform. A firefighter must be aware of the way to turn fire off and to rescue people from fire. An Emergency Response Team is a group of skilled personnel who is chosen among the rig crew to deal with emergency cases and emergency response which includes evacuation, gathering and rescue of rig members. The emergency response team must be skilled in terms of safety procedures during blow out, fire or any hazardous actions. All rig crews must have the Basic Offshore Emergency Training(BOSET) and Helicopter Underwater Emergency Training(HUET) certificates.

Well, if you really want to know about life on an oil rig it's best to actually experience it. Or maybe the next best thing is to hear from someone who works offshore!

Posted by Ayu
Learning Specialist, Petrosains


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hello Ayu! Can I use this content for my assignment? I will cite as appropriate.

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