Monday, 31 May 2010


It has been a week now and I feel I've covered a lot. The first day had me setting up the main data acquisition and storage server, over and over again, until I had the technique down pat. Having faced this situation in the field (and deferring to an experienced Geolog data engineer) I now feel confident since practicing in a safe environment. It also helped that Salim, the tutor I was working with, was experienced and the cheat sheet provided by the Technical Ops guys was well written.

The rest of the day was given over to making up hundreds of metres of power and sensor cables for the Indonesian jobs. (This is a small drop in the ocean as a typical mudlogging unit has to run several kilometres of cables during a rig up, and there are between three and four units heading out to Indonesia so I suspect I'll be doing plenty more.) While I was doing this Salim was building a pressurisation unit for the rig floor monitor, and once he'd completed it he showed me how to test it to ensure that it is completely functional. Then we lugged it all into the warehouse (magazzin in Italian, or "mag" for short) and put it on the shelves where all the other equipment bound for the Spice Islands was being stacked.

Having gained an understanding of the pressurisation unit (or "the box" as the Geolog guys call it) Salim and I built and tested three more units over the next two days. I'm pleased to report that I only made one small mistake and once Salim corrected it my box functioned correctly. Even more importantly I was able to conduct all the function tests myself and gained important experience in solving the occasional problems that the testing highlighted. With that complete I spotted that Thomas, a trainee field engineer, was building some QCM gas traps so I attached myself to him and we began working on the electrical motors that power them. We didn't get far as it was the end of the day, and having put in two extra hours by skipping lunch and working late (such is the pressure that the production team is under) I decided to call it a day.

On Thursday we picked up where we lad left off and completed the remaining four gas traps by fitting the agitator blades and mounting them to their racks. Sahdi, who is in charge of sensor preparation gave me a quick explanation of Geolog's other type of gas trap - the CVD - and promised that when he was working on the ones needed for Indonesia he'd save at least one for me to build.

Afterwards I approached Fabio (one of the production team leaders) and he pointed me towards Gabriel who does a lot of work on the gas lines and electrical systems in the unit. Gabriel assigned me the task of preparing a dozen serial cables that are needed for the gas analysis equipment to the acquisition server. I knew that eventually I would have to solder, and with fifteen year old memories of my last (and ghastly) attempt at the front of my mind, I impressed upon Gabriel my need for a quick lesson. It turns out it is quite easy and I quickly picked it up. I won't claim I mastered it, and my lead blobs are nowhere as neat as his but they aren't the golf balls they used to be. I forced myself to the task but after an hour of peering at 0.5mm cables my eyes had had enough so I did some odd jobs while my eyes rested.

On Friday I continued with making up the serial cables but after just two my eyes were burning so I gave them a rest. Thomas saw that I was idle so he called me over and we began to prep a dozen pit level sensors. Apparently this rocked the boat a little bit and so he was pointed back to his job while I had to return to my soldering. Once completed I was able to go back to the pit level sensors but as it was late in the day Thomas only had time to give me a quick lesson before the workshop closed up for the weekend. I have to add that it was nearly 7pm by this time, so put aside your preconceptions of lazy Italian workers because the guys in the Geolog production team willingly put in an extra hour every day to make sure that the four new units will be ready on time.

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