Monday, 19 August 2013

Return of the Frack

Well, day 11 onboard the Rowan Gorilla V/Franklin Wellheads Platform and testing is racing forward!

We carried out our 774 Barg test on the flowlines today and naturally we found a big-ass leak.  The kind you could fill child's balloons with all day long and still have enough for hours of funny talking.  This is of course not advisable with test gas, as there is indeed Helium in the mix but only a paltry 1% and what's considerably worse it is mixed with 99% Nitrogen.  Never a good thing as one gulp would kill you and two gulps would put you beyond the help of medical science.

I was understandably cautious with this test as I become paranoid with testing over 100 or so Barg.  When you consider that you have around 2 Barg in your car tires you begin to understand my concerns (especially if you've ever been witness to a tire blowout, imagine it multiplied 50 times!).

However, all this is by the by, we can get this test knocked off, we can get our names on the flight list and get outta here!!  So not long before I hear the immortal words,
 'You're not on the first flight.'  
Sometimes they add a 'sorry' but you have to work for one of them.

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Incidentally, we had a very entertaining Powerpoint presentation this week gone by from the senior (no less) pilot from Scotia Helicopters.  The point of this was to allay any fears and answer any questions we might have regarding the imminent return of 225's to service ferrying us about in almost total discomfort (have you tried sitting with one buttock on a chair?).

Now I know what you are saying...Powerpoint demonstrations are usually about as entertaining as a sharp shit and an entertaining one is as alien a concept to me as 'leftover wine'.  This one however was made better by the pilot's almost complete disregard for the screen and his choice to just tell us some anecdotes about how cool it is being a chopper pilot.

The main concern of mine was addressed and that was that these pilots are the ones who fly more than us and they are satisfied with all the conclusions of the investigation and are happy to start using these machines once more.  As I understand it the gear shaft fracturing wasn't even the reason for the two ditchings within 6 months of each other.  The problem was to do with the management /logic systems that override the controls....blah...blah...technical....

If you are so minded there are plenty of vids posted on 'Youtube' that explain the whole affair as the companies involved are very eager to show how concerned they are with the safety of the rag-tag bunch of arseholes they have to carry, more power to them!

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Also a quick word about 'Fracking'.  I may be employed in the 'energy extraction' business but I am by no means the 'company shill' I make myself out to be and as such I have no particular axe to grind regarding the process.  It does look on the face of it that the case for 'fracking' has been rushed ever so slightly in a modern day 'Dash For Gas'....but on the other hand...
This technique has been around for the proverbial donkeys years and has actually been used for some time with hardly any troubles, the only problem with our industry is that when there are problems, they tend to be obvious and damaging.

So we have a complex debate which, as ever, has been totally ruined and polarised by the media into 'do-gooders' and 'do-badders'.  I am going to stay put right here on the fence (I am a 'do-nothinger')

At the end of the day, once you've spent decades getting your energy by digging it out of the ground it is very hard to change that mindset and good luck to those who are trying...

Neil Hannon Rocks!!