Archive for the ‘Rigs’ Tag
Getting off one rig and going straight out to another, wasn’t to bad, travelling all day, including two flights and a two hour train journey, wasn’t to bad, the taxi driver dropping us off at the gate and a half mile walk with bags to the rig, wasn’t to bad. Arriving as the base of the rig and seeing 157 steps to climb, with bags, in the dark, that was bad, I hate steps.
It didn’t look that bad from back here.
Looking from here I was hoping they would send the crane down, at least for our bags.
We managed the steps and after a safety brief made our way to our cabins, this rig is a Flotel, accommodation only, so it’s quiet and clean, even outside. At full capacity it can sleep around 350 people, but as we are moving it to a new location after a re-fit in Copenhagen there is only 52 of us onboard.
Here’s something I don’t get to see every day, a Maersk Supply boat having some work done in dry dock. Cool.
Have a great weekend.
Left the Maersk Resilient on Monday, job went well and it was time to get home, there is a group of people on a rig that do an outstanding job, now as a third party worker I move from rig to rig and as I meet people that do a similar job we always compare rigs we’ve worked on, now we could say things like “Hey is that the one with a Derrick 210′ x 45′ x 45′; and a Capacity of 1,500,000 lbs, and 3 Mud Pumps and that Rotary Table, 49.5 in. diameter with 99,500 ft.lbs torque and 40 RPM. Opening 49 1/2″ and Max. load of 800 t”.
No we don’t, it goes something like this, “hey didn’t I see you on the JW McLean, that cheese cake is to die for, and steak night is something else, see for us, rigs are remembered by their food and how we are looked after, and this brings me back to this fantastic group of guys and girls,who without, a rig would very quickly become not a very nice place to be.
This of course this is the catering crew and the stewards, and on the Maersk Resilient they were right up there with the best, cabins were spotless and the food, well I’ll let these couple of shots speak for themselves, this is a normal Saturday dinner on the MR.
Now this is just the cold buffet, the hot stuff was on the other side.
I never did make it home, after one night in Aberdeen I flew out to Copenhagen and have joined another rig, let’s see if this one can come close to the MR.
Thanks again to all the staff on the MR and all the rigs I have been on. (I’m never going to lose weight.)
Well it was actually Invergordon wishing us Bon Voyage, or maybe they were glad to see us leave, having such a large rig on your doorstep could be a bit of an eye sore. Still I suppose they must be use to it by now.
Anyway, this is the view as we departed Invergordon, Invergordon in the background with HMS Sutherland moored in front.
HMS Sutherland is a Type 23 frigate of the British Royal Navy. She is the thirteenth ship in the Duke class of frigates and is the third ship to bear the name, more than 200 years since the name was last used.
She was launched in 1996 by Lady Christina Walmsley, wife of Sir Robert Walmsley KCB. Before this occasion, Royal Navy ships had always been launched with a bottle of champagne, but Lady Walmsley broke with tradition and used a bottle of Macallan Whiskey.
On the way now, bit of a job for the Pilot, he has to negotiate a path through the rigs left here to die and rigs coming in for work to be carried out, first on the right is the J W McLean, I was part on the team who brought this rig in for its last time, not sure of its furture.
Second one is the Will Hunter which is coming in to have some work done, it arrived a couple of days ago, we flew over it arriving, seeing the AHV’s doing their stuff from above was a new perspective for me, normally it’s all at sea level.
Almost out into open water, you can just make out the pilot up on the helideck directing the tow vessel.
Looking back toward Invergordon.
That set of legs you can see have been there for years, I heard the top of a once working rig was brought by a Russia company, the legs were left and looks like they can’t even be sold for scrap, which seems a shame, they don’t look that nice and would make navigating the channel a bit easier.
If anyone knows if that is correct or have another story about them let me know.
This is the other side of the entrance, looks like a bit of a gun emplacement going on their, I hope when it was maned there was a bridge of some sorts going to it.
I’m back at work tomorrow, flying up to Inverness and then hire car to Invergordon, I’ve never stayed in the town of Invergordon before, always on a rig, so I might have time to explore a bit, If I do i’ll try a snap a few off and show you the place.
I’m joining the Maersk Resilient which is a large Jack-up, it’s one I was on a couple of xmases ago.
Here’s a shot of Invergordon from a rig’s point of view.
Here’s a shot of the Jack-up in the first picture I took a long time ago, I’ll be surprised if its still there.
Some of the locals just carry on as if nothing is happening.
Well after another successful rig move in the North Sea I thought it was about time I shared some more details about how and why we move these things, Why? well that’s easy, drill more holes! Get more Oil/Gas. Actually it’s not just that, a lot of rig moves will be to work on and repair sub sea assets, more about that if I ever find out more about that.
This last move was a re-entry, meaning we were putting the rig back on a location that had been drilled/worked on before. Sounds easy? Sort of, That is if you get it on the correct location, it’s easy to tell once you send a ROV down because you will see the assets on the sea bed, Tolerance on this sort of move is about 1 meter, on the other hand if it’s an open location, (meaning nothing on the sea bed) tolerance is around 5-10 meters.
For those of you who don’t know, a Semi-submersible (half above water, half below) drilling rig is held in position by 8 or 12 large anchors, around 12-15 tons, these are spread out around the rig evenly, So after the normal safety talks and meetings it’s time to start, we normally use 2 or 3 AHV’s (Anchor Handling Vessels, a Big Boat) These vessels all have Nav systems onboard, basically a laptop where they can see the rig, the anchor positions and themselves and the other AHV’s all live, if they move in the water they move on the screen.
For the first part of the move the AHV will come in close to the rig and we will past down the PCP (Permanent Chasing Pennant), This is a collar permanently attached to the anchor chain and a 150 meter cable with a socket in the end, once passed down the the AHV it is attached to the boats work wire.
Here you can see a PCP wire cable running down the leg and into the water, when it appears again, it’s the short bit of chain and then the collar.
The AHV’s work wire running down the deck. I took this shot while we were just standing by, if we had been working I would not be allowed on the back deck.
Once attached, the AHV will proceed out to the anchor following a line on the nav screen.
Now another thing we had to do on this rig move was De-ballast before any anchors were recovered, why I hear you ask? Either you asked that question or were so bored you have already gone onto the next blog, but i’ll tell you anyway.
So what happens is, the anchor is lifted off the sea bed, brought up to the stern roller of the AHV, checked out and then the rigs large winches will haul in the anchor chain and store it in the chain lockers, but what do we do with the anchor then? we need to put it somewhere, so we rack it on these things.
Just under the fairleads (the wheels with the anchor chains going through) is the cowcatcher, (not sure if thats the real name for them) this is where the anchors are racked, they hook under the CC and the winch pulls tight and they don’t move. Now some of you will see the problem here, I’ll show you another photo of the rig we just moved at transit draft, meaning it’s de-ballast.
Now you see the problem, if we don’t de-ballast, the fairleads and the cow catchers are under water and we can’t see them to rack the anchors. You can see here how the rig floats in the water when it’s at working draft by the marks on the legs, this is now at transit draft, up on the pontoons ready for towing.
Now to get the rig up to transit draft is just a matter of pumping out all the water and up she comes, now you are waiting for me to say, Ah but it’s not as easy as that, and no it is really that easy. Oh but there is one sticky bit, the whole process of de-ballasting can take up to 12 hours and during a 3-4 hour period when the cross braces are coming out of the water is the critical time, during this time the rig is very unstable, no helicopters can land and no cranes and work, in fact if like me and you had to many mince pies at xmas you have to get yourself a PP (Porky Partner), now during the critical stage your PP must be at the opposite side of the rig to you, I work forward so my PP has to work aft, he wants to go to the mess for lunch on the port side, I have to go sit on the starboard side, it’s easy once you get use to it, during this very rig move I forgot to tell my PP I was going for a salad, I was in the mess and suddenly in he walked, the look of shock and horror on his face said it all when he saw me………..eating the last of the chocolate double ripple ice cream. Ok I just made that last bit up but the rest about the helicopters and cranes is all true.
Once all the anchors are racked and a boat is on the tow bridle we can start the move, here is a racked anchor. You can see one racked and the other chain where that anchor has been removed.
It’s as simple as that, all in a days work, or 10.
P.S. You know I don’t mean the dummies bit.
For those of you who saw the photo of Archie with the sign around his neck saying he had eaten the floor, here he is again sitting on the new floor (which took me a week to lay) and this time I’m going to embarrass him big time, so here is is saying sorry with Xmas socks on.
So that’s him sorted, here is some more iPhone sort of my journey to work this time.
Started on the tube.
Next stop Heathrow terminal five, sitting in Wagamama’s have dinner and this part of the roof structure reminded me of something out of a Transformers movie.
Then finally after my stop over in the Shetlands made it to the rig, this is our standby boat, every rig and platform in the North Sea has a standby vessel, these were introduced after the Piper Alpha disaster in July 2008 in which 167 people were killed.
Have a great weekend.
The Top Drive is used to rotate the drill string during the drilling process, the Top Drive is a large motor that is suspended from the derrick of the rig. They can boast at least 1,000 horsepower that turn a shaft to which the drill string is screwed. Replacing the traditional rotary table, the Top Drive lessens the manual labor involved in drilling, as well as many associated risks.
The Top Drive is suspended from a hook below the traveling block, the Top Drive is able to move up and down the derrick.
Chosen both for increased safety and efficiency.
A Top Drive is capable of drilling with three joints stands, instead of just one pipe at a time. Here you can see the 3 joints of drill pipe already connected together on the right of the photo. The large yellow tool to the right of the Top Drive will grab the section of drill pipe top and bottom, the Top Drive will then be lifted to the top of the derrick, this tool will then swivel the drill pipe 180 degrees, the Top Drive will then connect to the top of the drill pipe and screw it into the section of pipe being held at the drill floor, then it all will be lowered to the seabed.
Reducing risk and increasing safety during the drilling process, Top Drives remove much of the manual labor that was previously required to drill wells. On some rigs Top Drives are completely automated, offering rotational control and maximum torque, as well as control over the weight on the bit.
On an offshore rig,(as opposed to a land based rig) the Top Drive travels up and down the vertical rails to avoid the mechanism from swaying with the waves of the ocean.
I thought I would try a bit of show and tell, when on a rig I don’t spend time with the drilling crew as I’m more on the marine side of it, so I have had to pick up snippets of information when and where, i’ll try my best, but bits of information may be wrong, but you should get the general idea.
A drill string on a drilling rig is a column, or string, of drill pipe that transmits drilling fluid (via the mud pumps) and torque (via the top drive) to the drill bit. The term is loosely applied as the assembled collection of the drill pipe, drill collars, tools and drill bit. The drill string is hollow so that drilling fluid can be pumped down through it and circulated back up the annulus (the void between the drill string and the casing/open hole).
Here is some 30 foot lengths of drill pipe laying down on the deck of the rig, the black plastic caps on the end of each pipe are there to protect the thread, these are unscrewed and used again when the pipe is removed from the hole.
The pipe is laid down for transit as we don’t want the rig to be top heavy whilst under tow, once on location and all Anchors are deployed the drill pipe can be lifted up to the derrick and screwed together, normally 3 lengths in one stand as seen below, the drill pipe is on the left side of the derrick in stacks of 3 ready to be deployed by the Top Drive. (be warned I’ll be talking about that tomorrow)
On the business end of the drill pipe is the drill bit, this is rotated by the top drive, also each cutting head is rotated by high pressure mud being pumped down the hollow centre of the drill string.
Well I managed to get off one rig, had a night in Tel Aviv and then straight back out to another, at least this one has slightly better wifi.
Short flight out, this is us leaving, it’s from an active military base so no photography allowed, so of course I had to take a snap.
Then I saw our escort and wished I hadn’t.
On the way we flew over another rig, this is a DP (dynamic positioning) rig, meaning it does not use anchors to stay on location, instead it uses large thrusters and satellite positioning (GPS), no good for us, our job is to put down anchors, luckily there is not a lot of them as they are expensive to run, about half a million dollars a day.
These guys are coming to an end of a 12 hour shift, a quick repair on the crane and then it’s dinner, TV and bed.
The deck guys on any rig work hard, as do the cranes, without one the job would soon come to a standstill.
From passing anchor pennants down to AHV’s to moving gear around the rig, getting the drill floor ready, stacking the drill pipe, unloading supply boats, working on the BOP to readying the casing that goes in the sea bed, also general maintenance and keeping the place clean.
Don’t get me wrong, I work a 12 hour shift also, but my day consists of coffee and donuts, and a computer screen.
Just the other day I was disturbed from my solitaire by a lot of shouting, on opening my door of my air conditioned tin shack and after a quick sip of my ice cold water I said to the guys struggling with a crane lift “you guys look hot” and with that there was a lot of hand waving and shouting in Maltese. I think they were thanking me for showing my concern.
The complete crew on any rig I have been on work very hard and always make our stay as as pleasant possible.