Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just a Day

It's about that time of year again and I'm irrationally excited about winter. Weird, I know, but I'm sure I'll be tired of it soon enough. The picture attached to this post is the view from the front door of my camp. That polar bear I saw was wandering about near the tires and tank thing you see in the right of the shot. To the left you can see where we park the trucks. Just to give you an idea how close it was.

So this is how my day (or more accurately my night) begins. A drive quick over to the rig, a ride that gets darker every day. I have been working a six pm to six am shift this hitch.  I am often asked "What exactly do you do?" So I may as well give you a run down. I really do get to play in the mud all day though, that is the true simple explaination.

 Basically it goes like this.

5pm: Scope for polar bears in an extremely paranoid fashion whilst walking to the car.

6pm: Tag along with the engineer while wandering around the rig until I'm teased for acting like a puppy dog. 

7pm: Contemplate the units for funnel viscosity while calibrating things. Is there a conversion from seconds/quart to centipoise? 

9pm: Get mud out of the pits for a mud check, praying I don't drop the scoop inside or something else embarrasing.

11:30pm: Try and decipher more rig language. Day 23 and no one suspects I am still mystified by the rig floor. 

1am: Company man questions me on my musical and movie preferences while I fill out paperwork. Dinscussion ensues about how I am a many layered onion. Distract everyone from that subject by mocking the night engineers gigantic safety goggles.

2am: Meet with goofy truckdriver who relates everything to bodily functions. "So emptying that tank is like the rig peeing?" Yes. That exactly what happened. The rig had a full bladder.

3am: More playing in the mud. 

4pm: Depressing discussion, topics include days left on the hitch, how it sucks that we can't have a beer after work, and so forth.

5am: Change desktop background to a fat gopher eating hotdogs because its the funniest picture ever. Eagerly await day engineers arrival because its basically bedtime.

In all seriousness, here is a more comprehensive version of my day. As soon as the night engineer and I arrive, we to a changeout. Fancy term for discussing what happened during the day, anything that needs to be done, what is going on now, and so on. 

We generally go wander about the rig and check in with the derrickman (he runs the mix hoppers and adds anu products we need to the mud) and the pit watcher (he monitors the mud pit volumes to make sure we aren't losing or gaining fluids). We also check out the shakers, the equipment that separates drilled solids from the mud.

Then a few hours in, we run a mud check. This involves things like checking the mud density, pH, and so on. As I have run more and more mud checks, I have gotten to the point where it takes about an hour to run a full one. Plus some extra time waiting for the last few timed tests to finish up. After the mud check we start working on our daily report. Usually this involves fighting with software and printers and slow internet. But that's just technology for you. 

This puts us halfway through the day and we go to a daily tour changeout meeting where the rig crew (including the pit watcher, derrickman, driller, roustabouts, etc. Not including the company man, tool pusher, MWD, and geoligist etc.) switches out. We grab lunch after the meeting and head back to the office to finish up the report. After that is all done, we take reports over to the MWD, toolpusher, and company man's office. We have to enter in data for paperwork in the company man's office so we do that while visiting with the company man. 

Next order of business is our second mud check. Finally, we finish up assorted paperwork before changing out with the day engineer. 

Besides all the set every day tasks, we have a few other things we do at different times through out the day or depending on what is going on. We count product inventory and calibrate equipment as necessary. Also we check in and arrange paperwork with trucks delivering product or mud, and trucks arriving to take away old waste mud or cutting from drilling. 

Our tasks also depend on what stage of drilling we are at. Sometimes we will desplace old mud with a new different type of mud or sea water. We also are pretty involved when it comes to permanently cementing liners and casing in the hole.

I flew back this morning to Fairbanks from the slope. I feel a bit disoriented to be switching back to a normal daylight schedule. Travis is away on a business trip (that makes me feel very old) so I have a few days to have solo adventures. I'll have to come up with something new to try out! I think a manicure is in order. Or something extremely girly. Two weeks on the slope has me swearing like crazy, sitting like a man, and laughing at poop jokes.


  1. First off, I only made the puppy dog comment once. Secondly, they aren't goggles. And they are awesome.

    1. Technically I didn't say you teased me more than once. I merely stated that was a typical day. And goggles. "gog·gle gägəl/ 1. close-fitting eyeglasses with side shields, for protecting the eyes from glare, dust, water, etc." Boom.