How offshore platform is arranged, and what life on offshore oil facility is like
Have you ever been aboard offshore oil production platform? If not, the following description of offshore oil platform may be useful for you to read, especially if you are someone looking for entry-level offshore oil rig job, in most cases competing for a vacancy of Roustabout, Painter, or Galleyhand in the catering department.
First of all, let me explain you that there are no two identical offshore oil platforms in the world, each structure differs in many ways, by many parameters and characteristics, and each is unique.
The offshore oil platform, which I visited was jack-up type, and it was composed of two parts, connected by a 74 meters (243 feet) long bridge. The bigger part is where drilling for oil occurs, the smaller is where rig staff resides, it's called a residential unit. In fact, these are two separate jack-up platforms that could function independently.
The residential unit, measuring 30 by 30 meters (approximately 100 by 100 feet), houses 120 people that work by shifts, 12 hours a day on rotation schedule, 2 weeks on duty alternating with 14 days off. Swimming and angling from the offshore platform is strictly prohibited, as well as throwing any butts or debris overboard. Smoking is allowed only in one place in the accommodation unit. Occasional troublemakers from among greenhands are being fired mercilessly - older workers just never break the regulations. The offshore oil rig is designed in the way to ensure it could function strictly adhering to the principle of no pollution that could cause any damage to the ocean environment - marine wildlife in particular.
There's a supply vessel, continuously circulating around the offshore oil drilling platform. Should an emergency occur, the ship is capable to take aboard all employees and oil rig workers doing their jobs on platform in the course of drilling for oil or during oil production process.
The workers are being flown to the platform by helicopter. Each time before the flight every oil rig crew member gets instructed on safety measures and behavior in case emergency occurs. Everybody wears life jacket. In the cold season of the year or if the sea water is called, everybody additionally puts on scuba diving dry suite. As soon as helicopter lands on helideck, two hydrant hoses get pointed at the aircraft in order to avoid fire. Before even allowed to be flown by helicopter to the platform, rig workers attend a mandatory safety briefing. The greenhand first-time entry level oil rig workers are being briefed separately and in detailed manner.
It must be interesting to know that sometimes offshore oil platforms are being built in clusters, some of them totally unmanned or with a crew consisting of only one person. Main operations take place on the central offshore platform, which usually also is the biggest from the congestion, and that's where the larger portion of rig crew resides.
Moving and staying on the oil production unit is allowed in only in helmets, work boots with steel toes, and jackets, while on the accommodation unit you can walk around in slippers, and we saw many oil rig worker doing that.
North Cormorant platform, located in the UK sector of the North Sea to the north from Aberdeen:
North Cormorant is owned by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC, whose other business name is Taqa. The staff for this offshore platform to fill new offshore job openings is provided by a contractor called Woodgroup and RBG.
Another oil production facility, the Cormorant Alpha platform, commissioned in 1989, was acquired by the same oil company back in 2008. Both belong to the four offshore platforms, owned by the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company in the North Sea. The other 2 platforms are Eider and Tern.
Before the end of the year 2012 Taqa announced the acquisition of the stakes in 3 oilfields located in the UK sector of the North Sea from the BP and at the beginning of 2013 became new proprietor of these formerly BP owned assets.
Safety measures on offshore platform
Both the residential unit and the oil rig platform are equipped with a lifeboat, two of them. Each lifeboat can accommodate 61 person, which means that all 118 oil rig workers, from Roustabout through Chief Offshore Electrician to the Offshore Platform Manager will safely fit these rescue boats - it's not the Titanic case. There are direction signs in the form of red arrows on the floor in each room or compartment, so that the staff could easily find their way even in the moments of severe panic. The stock of food and water on offshore oil rig allows the platform's crew to live autonomously for 15 days. Alcohol is strictly forbidden, because in case of emergency all people on board oil platform should be in adequate condition.
Beginner greenhand oil rig workers should be aware that every nook and corner on the offshore platform is crammed with sensors and surveillance cameras. Therefore don't even think of litting cigarette in the wrong place. You'll be immediately noticed and fired. The HR department people onshore will issue the order authorising peremptory and unconditional dismissal of the egghead well before the helicopter takes him to the coast. A well paid and very luctrative entry-level job on offshore platform is difficult to get, but very easy to loose, mind.
Did you know that from the total 6,500 offshore oil & gas exploration/production structures found in over 50 countries around the world, 4000 are located in the Gulf of Mexico - and that's where the majority of offshore jobs are located either, icluding oil rig commissioning and decommissioning offshore jobs. Most of the companies that operate those offshore facilities have offices or representatives in Houston, Texas, and in Lafayette, Louisiana. Offshore oil rigs come in different forms and sizes, but speaking of fixed platforms that can be constructed in the shallow waters up to 300 meters depth, it is the North Sea where you can see the biggest concentration of them.