I haven’t worked with the Viking boats for a while and to make up for it we had three of them on my last rig move.
The Brage Viking here picking up 4 buoys, these were used to hold the Rigs anchor wire up above assets on the seabed, such as gas or oil pipelines.
This one is the Loke Viking, my Nephew works on here but wasn’t working on this shift, he was chilling in NZ, lucky sod.
Last but defiantly not least is the Odin Viking, here I have zoomed in on the 40 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE painted on the bulkhead, these guys don’t stay in this business for that amount of time if they are ‘ok’ or ‘mediocre’ they have to be the best, and a couple of days after I took this photo this boat showed us why they are the best.
Lives saved and environmental disaster avoided thanks to the Odin Viking, more in Fridays post.
Carrying on with my ‘from the air theme’. This time as the title says its Morocco, for the first 10 minutes over land I didn’t think I would get a single shot with the cloud cover being so thick, but lucky for me as we got closer to town the cloud thinned and then disappeared altogether.
This had been my home for the last 17 days, great crew and a very successful rig move.
Making the most out of this harsh dry land. Fancy an apartment by the beach like this?
Of course if you have access to water it makes all the difference.
Even on a small scale.
Being close to a river will always help.
Or just stick to Goats and trees.
After joining the rig in Gibraltar we sailed down the coast of Morocco past Casablanca and finally finished up just below Agadir, just east of the Canary Islands where the rest of my family were sunning themselves, so close and yet so far.
Once we were close to our final location our helicopter taxi service started again, guys that you had got to know were leaving and new faces appeared on a daily basis and the rig started to get more busy.
These helicopter pilots are good but sometimes they need to brush up on the odd technique, like landing on the deck at night. Lucky for me I was allowed to take my camera out and watch, now i’m not really that much of a helicopter spotter, although I do think they are a great bit of kit and I’m still surprised they can fly, cool to watch but not that cool to fly in.
As always safety comes first and during the six landing and takeoff all helideck crew were in place and at the ready.
Its a lot closer than it looks, I had to lock my hands around the hand rail and grip my camera while the fire crew pushed me forward to stop me from blowing over with the downdraft.
Digging through some old photos I found a rig move we did out of Dundee, I haven’t spent any time in Dundee so don’t know much about the place except what I just read on Wiki and it does sound like a pretty cool place.
We joined a jack-up called the Rowan Viking, this was brand new and wasn’t long here from Singapore, however if I remember it did sit in Dundee for a few months before I joined, due to red tape.
It a pretty big rig, 264′ in length and 289′ wide and can accommodate 120 people and can drill to a depth of 35000′.
At last we are on our way.
And I couldn’t resist a HDR of Dundee.
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.
That was the shortest rigmove I’ve done in a long time, keeps the client happy though. It’s a great feeling to finish a job, all anchors down, in the correct position, and no one got hurt, well except from me when I got a paper cut from printing my expenses.
I’ll be on a helicopter soon flying back to Aberdeen, then a plane back to London, so thought it was only right to post this photo I took last year of this guy who could tell us a bit about flying. This was taken with my point and shoot, which just goes to prove the saying “the best camera is the camera you have with you”
Footnote: There has been a Helicopter crash in the North Sea, all 14 onboard are ok we think, the chopper I was suppose to be on is helping with the rescue effort.
Looks like all choppers have now been grounded.