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A little something for all you Offshore swabbies

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A good read, but many errors. Chances are that only someone who had worked on these would catch them.

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Working on the offshore rigs is a world, and at times a language, to itself. ‘Back in the day’, before Human Resources departments started getting too involved with who went out on the rigs, and before the Health and Safety departments decided that they knew better how to keep people safe on the rigs, from their environmentally controlled offices onshore, working the rigs was an adventure and a brotherhood.

 

In an effort to ‘head off’ any concerns about my mentioning errors in the article, let me illustrate:

 

·      The first sentence describes “a drilling platform is scheduled for destruction,”. This is incorrect, the Transocean Winner was a drilling rig, not a platform. The essential difference is that a rig is defined as a Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), while a platform is stationary and usually attached to the seabed in some manner. Drilling is performed from platforms, but the article is dealing with a drilling rig.

·      The Transocean Winner was NOT a dynamically positioned drilling rig and the ‘onboard computers’ did NOT keep her in position. She was a thruster assisted moored drilling rig held on location by an eight-point mooring system. The thrusters would rarely have been utilized to move the rig to a new location, but rather would have assisted the tow vessels while moving the rig.

·      Technically the Winner’s crew would have consisted of the Transocean personnel onboard. This would not include third party service personnel or operator personnel. The crew would remain with the rig regardless of who it was leased to.

·      “”…although she was often referred to as an oil rig, Winner’s real business was mud.” This makes absolutely no sense at all.

·      “Transocean later gave the Dalmore community (GBP) 120,000 in reparations. A financial statement released by the oil company in November 2016 made clear the larger cost of the accident: at least $21m.”. First, the rig was not under contract to any oil company at the time of this incident, it was being towed to the scrap yard. That being the case, what oil company was disputing the reparations? I am guessing that the author is confusing a drilling contractor with an operator.

·      “The underwater pontoons were filled with compressed air.” I seriously doubt that both compartmentalized pontoons were filled with compressed air. Vessel stability would have been a nightmare.

·      “Four-legged rigs had been built before, but were not then common.” Not true, speaking from experience, SEDCO were operating both the 600 and 700 series of rigs at this time, both were four-legged. I imagine that the other major drilling contractors were doing the same.

·      “In 1969, a rig called Ocean Viking had been idly and unhopefully prospecting in this region, when a worker named Stale Salvensen, down on the drill floor enjoying a sly cigarette, smelled the distinctive, sour scent of unprocessed crude. By the time a superior was summoned from his cabin, there was so much oil sloshing around Viking’s lower deck that Salvensen’s boss slipped and fell in his pyjamas. And thus, ingloriously, a continent got its oil industry.” First off, I seriously doubt that Mr. Salvensen would ever have admitted to smoking on the drill floor – he would have been ‘run off’ (fired). Secondly, the drill floor is directly under the derrick or mast, he would have been ‘up’ on the drill floor. Lastly, when drilling for oil, you do NOT bring oil to the surface unless you are testing the well, definitely not while you are drilling!

·      Bonus Trivia Question: What is the difference between a ‘mast’ and a ‘derrick’ on a drilling rig?

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The mast is a structural tower comprised of 1 or more sections assembled in a horizontal position near the ground, which is then raised to the operating position.

The derrick is a semi permanent structure that must be assembled in the vertical or operation position, as it includes no erection mechanism.

Duh. Who didn't know that?

 

 

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What is this article about, whats the take away?

Its akin to Jackanory.

Whats the point of this post?

The article has been written by someone who has never actually boarded a semi-submersible drilling unit or Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit MODU.

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7 hours ago, DayTrader said:

The mast is a structural tower comprised of 1 or more sections assembled in a horizontal position near the ground, which is then raised to the operating position.

The derrick is a semi permanent structure that must be assembled in the vertical or operation position, as it includes no erection mechanism.

Duh. Who didn't know that?

 

 

The ‘quick & dirty’ answer is that ‘theoretically’ you can lay the mast down while a derrick is a permanent fixture.

This used to be a consideration when you may have to go under bridges to get to certain shipyards (like the Niteroi bridge, James). The fact is that the masts were almost never laid down as you’d have to rig down everything in the mast (topdrive, compensator, kelly hoses, tugger lines, etc...) before laying down with the drill line.

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7 hours ago, James Regan said:

What is this article about, whats the take away?

Its akin to Jackanory.

Whats the point of this post?

The article has been written by someone who has never actually boarded a semi-submersible drilling unit or Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit MODU.

I didn't want to claim the article was high art or brilliantly written. Let's face it, it was in the Guardian! Nuff said there. But I thought there were parts that would have captured the imagination and triggered memories for those who've been offshore (I haven't, and likely never will). Clearly it was a long piece written by a reporter type who wouldn't even qualify to pop a zit off a worm's backside, if you know what I mean. ;)

The pathos for me involved the denouement of once proud and sophisticated vessels, for probably short-term sighted reasons. 

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Quote

Back in his office, I had asked Sari what would happen when the world’s fleet had been adequately thinned, when there were no more superfluous rigs for him to buy and dismantle. He said he expected this to happen soon. “Next year? The year after?” As rigs disappeared, rates to hire the remaining ones would rise and, eventually, an incautious oil industry would find an economic (if not glowingly ethical) equilibrium. “And we’ll go looking for the next thing.” Sari had in mind a smaller type of oil platform known as a jack-up, of which there were many hundreds filling the seas. “Cold-stacked all over, no jobs, no prospects of jobs …”

I asked him if it ever seemed a pity to break up such monumental and characterful structures. Did he look at Winner in the way that I had come to look at her, in the way her former crew looked at her, as something dignified? Sari said the only emotion he could feel about Winner was relief, when she was gone, on schedule. But not long ago, he acknowledged, he had had a wobble. It was over those two young Ensco rigs – Ensco 6003 and 6004 – that had come out of Brazilian waters. When Sari won the right to scrap them, he took the unusual decision to sail the rigs under their own power from South America to Turkey. “I piloted one myself, for the last mile to Aliaga. I wanted to try it out.” Sari mimed adjusting thrusters, striking buttons. “Everything was like new, all the controls.” They demolished Ensco 6003 and 6004 over the course of about 10 weeks. “Beautiful machines. Beautiful machines,” Sari said.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Ward Smith said:

I didn't want to claim the article was high art or brilliantly written. Let's face it, it was in the Guardian! Nuff said there. But I thought there were parts that would have captured the imagination and triggered memories for those who've been offshore (I haven't, and likely never will). Clearly it was a long piece written by a reporter type who wouldn't even qualify to pop a zit off a worm's backside, if you know what I mean. ;)

The pathos for me involved the denouement of once proud and sophisticated vessels, for probably short-term sighted reasons. 

“...a worm’s backside,...”.

Was this a tongue-in-cheek oilfield reference? A ‘worm’ is a new, inexperienced roughneck on the drill floor.

Bit of Oilfield Trivia: A Ginzel is a worm’s helper. Lower on the totem pole than even a worm!

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1 hour ago, Douglas Buckland said:

“...a worm’s backside,...”.

Was this a tongue-in-cheek oilfield reference? A ‘worm’ is a new, inexperienced roughneck on the drill floor.

Bit of Oilfield Trivia: A Ginzel is a worm’s helper. Lower on the totem pole than even a worm!

I've worked as a roughneck matter of fact. It was 100 years ago or thereabouts. ;)

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31 minutes ago, Ward Smith said:

I've worked as a roughneck matter of fact. It was 100 years ago or thereabouts. ;)

You mean ‘back when derricks were wood and men were steel. The first job every morning was shooting the woodpeckers out of the derrick’ - roughly that timeframe?

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On 9/22/2019 at 1:03 AM, Ward Smith said:

The pathos for me involved the denouement of once proud and sophisticated vessels, for probably short-term sighted reasons. 

Actually, I found it quite fitting that the TO Winner was being scrapped. 33 years old should be more than her economic life. Responsible decision by TO retiring an older unit instead of spending money interim class and 5 year special coming up... 

I only all drilling companies were this reponsible. 

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29 minutes ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

Actually, I found it quite fitting that the TO Winner was being scrapped. 33 years old should be more than her economic life. Responsible decision by TO retiring an older unit instead of spending money interim class and 5 year special coming up... 

I only all drilling companies were this reponsible. 

Originally, when these rigs were built, they had an expected hull life. Face it, putting big hunks of steel in salt water is not a recipe for longevity. But with the ups and downs in the oilfield, and the huge cost of building new units, it was decided that installing blisters to increase the variable deck load and upgrading the drilling packages made more sense. I have no problem with that logic as long as they realize that at some point the original hull has deteriorated to the point that the unit needs to be scrapped and ‘new blood’ brought out.

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1 minute ago, Douglas Buckland said:

Originally, when these rigs were built, they had an expected hull life. Face it, putting big hunks of steel in salt water is not a recipe for longevity. But with the ups and downs in the oilfield, and the huge cost of building new units, it was decided that installing blisters to increase the variable deck load and upgrading the drilling packages made more sense. I have no problem with that logic as long as they realize that at some point the original hull has deteriorated to the point that the unit needs to be scrapped and ‘new blood’ brought out.

Some of the decisions to keep older rigs alive was as stupid as scrapping newer ones. The offshore industry needs to accept that we partly did ourselfes in by building excess capacity. 

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Correct you are! But when oil is over $100/bbl, common sense in the oilfield is not so common.

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When the initial hull life has been exceeded, the rig should be scrapped by the owner. All we need is for a rig to go down due to structural failure AFTER the hull life is exceeded and politicians then getting involved.

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8 minutes ago, Douglas Buckland said:

Correct you are! But when oil is over $100/bbl, common sense in the oilfield is not so common.

Or in the shale oilfield. 

They dug the same hole for themselfes that offshore did.... They have a correction coming too. 

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(edited)

On 9/21/2019 at 8:06 PM, Ward Smith said:

 

Ward your bang on with the quote from Sari and the 6003, 6004 both Amethyst class rigs two of six originally designed to be built only four were built, 2 in the USA and 2 in Korea, the other two were built up until the main decks then scrapped due to Black Steel. The last one the 6002 (Pride Brasil) is on its way to same fate. These rigs should have been cold stacked but sold for scrap due to the taxes required to get them out of Brasil with all the gear onboard. Criminal.

These units were built for a specific job and ten years was the expected life span, but they could have been adapted for many other projects, such as a permanent offshore missile battery in the SOM, lots of options for these full DP units.

I spent 18 months commissioning two of the units and sailing the then Pride Brasil all the way from Korea to Brasil, I never thought I would see its birth and death in my lifetime, either I'm getting old really quickly or something is really screwed up.

I can imagine Sari, sailing it to be scrapped and the ideas that must have been going through his head, shame....

Edited by James Regan
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