Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Silent Skies Shattered

You wait six days for a helicopter, then two come along at once! The ban has finally been lifted and those stuck on the rig are starting to filter home. There is a sense of relief on the rig, and you can tell who is going off from the huge smiles that are spread across their faces.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Cloudy Horizon?

It has been two days since the volcanic eruption on Iceland, and the promised cloud of ash failed to appear over the UK and North Sea. Much news coverage has been given to the hundreds of thousands of people stuck in airports, but no one seems to have considered the thousands of people languishing offshore because all the helicopters have been cancelled. On this rig alone there are over twenty people whose crew changes have been distrupted and are being forced to stay offshore. Multiply that by the hundred rigs and platforms currently operating in the North Sea and it's quite a large number. Contigency plans for crew changing by boat are being drawn up. (I think people would rather stay onboard than face an uncertain lift in a basket followed by 12 hours on a rolling supply vessel!)

From a geologist's point of view this eruption is fascinating, especially considering that in millions of years time the fallout will be preserved in the rocks. What's ironic is that at the start of this well we were drilling towards a layer of ash that had been deposited at the bottom of a sea, and now the same thing is happening over the same rocks. The wheel of time in action...

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

There (Again)

It's been months since I lasted posted, so here is a belated update. My last 3 week hitch (February 24th to March 17th) to the Ensco 71 went by so quickly I didn't have time to post. We saw ten days of continuous drilling, which was extraordinary, followed by wiper trips, casing runs and a complicated cement job. Personally I had some highs (my 38th birthday) and some lows (being prevented from boarding my plane at Stansted by officious Ryanair staff, and 4 days/6000 ft of bad gas data) and pretty much enjoyed my time out there. What was really special was seeing the production reservoir - my first "wet" hole!

The well is now in its completions phase so I'll get an uncommonly quiet hitch, starting tomorrow when I get to the rig. Currently I am travelling to Stansted in order to catch my flight to Billund. (Hopefully I'll actually catch this one!)