Working on an oil rig is certainly a unique way of life. Oil rig employees often work prolonged shifts of one or two weeks at sea, followed by one to three weeks at home. While at sea oil rig workers work 12 hour shifts but this time is broken up due to the health safety regulations.
While there is no doubt that working on an oil rig has its own set of trials and tribulations, being away from friends and family for up to half a year and being constantly exposed to the noises and stresses of oil rig life. However, this life does have its perks.
The working day
Oil rigs are essentially small cities at sea. Therefore, work is not limited exclusively to core oil rig operations. Many who work on oil rigs are responsible for the welfare and recreation of the hundreds of workers who live on the rig.
The core responsibility of the majority of oil rig workers, however, is the maintenance and upkeep of the drilling equipment and ensuring continued crude oil and gas output. This includes the operation of the drilling equipment which is for the most part operated from a central control room.
Regular maintenance of critical mechanical equipment involved in the extraction process is critical. Oil rig crews are often highly skilled and formerly members of the shipbuilding industry and specialise in particular fields such as underwater welding. Many are highly trained to operate specialist equipment including welding torches, plasma cutters and welding rotators.
Communications with the outside world
Due to the isolated location of the majority of oil rigs hundreds of miles off the nearest coastline, access is exclusively via ship or helicopter. It is by these means that all supplies, equipment and replacement workers are brought to the rig.
If weather conditions hinder the arrival of a ship or a helicopter this can make the rig even more isolated and can cause significant problems over a prolonged period of time. Crew members tend to be in regular contact with their family onshore with the provision of free telephone calls.
Due to the lack of freedom experienced by oil rig works and the harsh routine to which they are subject, petroleum companies often provide the very best of facilities for their workers. Crew members often enjoy comfortable living quarters with en suite facilities and satellite television.
Moreover, common facilities found on oil rigs include saunas, Jacuzzis, cinemas, cafeterias and gyms. Such facilities go some way to alleviating the stresses and strains of life on board an oil rig and away from family and friends. Workers also have the perk of being able to purchase duty-free goods from the shop onboard.
Fishing was once a popular pastime onboard oil rigs but due to the dangers posed to divers this has been banned on many offshore platforms. However, when not working crew members do still enjoy spotting whales, sharks and other types of diverse marine life from the decks of the rig.
This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Westermans International who supply welding rotators and other equipment to the oil industry. Click here to find out more. This article was written by a guest author. Would you like to, submit a guest blog post?