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Ahhh… Nigeria!

15 January, 2012 (03:31) | General, Marine, Safety, Seismic | By: Wysard

Ahhh… Nigeria!

Seismic project completes…
Crew change in about a week…
Client goes home…

…NOT!  Ahh, Nigeria!

Okay, well, the job did complete and masterfully so.  The last few days of production topped all expectations.  The client was pleased and, hopefully so, contractor management was pleased.  The crew, hmm, not so pleased.

Nigeria decided to go on nationwide strike to protest the removal of fuel subsidies.  The price of Petrol at the pump almost doubled and the people just couldn’t afford the increase.  Not just a strike though, a major shutdown of the country.  No government offices open; airports, waterway ports, businesses, land transportation, everything on hold.

With government offices closed the vessel cannot get clearance to leave the country.  Who knows when clearance will actually be issued?  What about fuel, food, other supplies?  What does that mean for our seismic crew?

New project can’t yet start…
Crew change cancelled, crew shifts to 6 weeks on 6 weeks off schedule…
Client stays with crew (also can’t go home)…

Ahh, Nigeria!

Questions arise now, at least in the crews mind if not out loud.  Will we really get home after 6 weeks or are we still going to be in nowhere land onboard the seismic vessel?

It isn’t looking too good from news outlets either.  The meeting between the strike unions and the President did not result in a settlement plan.  That means, if the plan follows through, that all oil field workers will stop work.  This raises the specter of rising oil & fuel prices all over the world.  Income to the government of Nigeria will be reduced to a pittance.

Right now the crew waits, not much else they can do really.  Wait and hope for the best.  That is what the author is doing.

A Workboat Story

3 September, 2009 (10:31) | Marine, Safety, Seismic | By: Wysard

A Workboat Story

The day started out a very nice day and ended that way as well.  It is what happened in the middle that made it memorable; a day whose events will not soon, if ever, be forgotten.

It was a nice cool and sunny day.  Calm seas and little wind.  Perfect for doing the necessary workboat activities required when starting with a new prospect and new configuration.  The required toolbox meeting was held on the bridge where the crew of three heading out on the workboat discussed what projects would be performed while out.  There was a TS / Dip required because the one done the previous day did not reach the bottom, a contractual requirement.  Filming of the Monowings was also in the plan.

One of the many incidents one does not want to see happen on a Seismic Vessel, or any vessel for that matter, is a man overboard situation.  There are drills run all the time in preparation for something that everyone hopes will never be executed as the real thing.  Today would be different.

The general alarm was sounded and the message announced on the ships intercom, “The workboat has capsized”.  This was no drill.  Just what we had practiced for during our many drills had now become a scary reality.  The rescue team donned the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and headed for the Fast Recovery Boat (FRB).  They were safely launched and on their way to the workboat in a time that beat all the drill times for speed.

Meanwhile the ships crew were on the back deck, some with binoculars and some with camera zooms, noting that the three workboat crew members were on top of the capsized workboat.  Everyone was very glad to know they were still together and with the workboat.  The FRB recovered the three and brought them back to the mother vessel.  All of this was done as practiced and in safe record time.  The three crew members were back aboard and everyone was grateful they were safe.

An additional team was formed for the second workboat and both the second workboat and the FRB were launched to recover the capsized workboat.  The workboat being towed back to the mother vessel is pictured.  There are additional pictures: seismic pictures.

The fact that the crew made it back safely is a tribute to the training the crew receives and the management that supports a safe working environment.  Without these things in place the day could have turned out much worse; hats off to all those involved.

High Seas on the Barents Sea

18 August, 2009 (12:10) | General, Marine, Seismic | By: Wysard

High Seas on the Barents Sea

As I sit in my State Room / Office rolling around on 5 meter seas wondering what I’m doing here I am reminded by an unexpected bill clearing my bank account that there really is a reason.  Call it the never ending battle, but those bills need paying.  I honestly didn’t know though, that the Barents Sea actually got this rough.  Sure I’ve heard how rough the North Sea is but I’m a good distance from it; north of the Arctic Circle in fact.  Yes, the picture is one of the ‘Midnight Sun’, photographed the day before sunset.  I guess one nice thing about rolling around is that it’s always daylight and one can see the reason for falling all over when one looks out the portholes.

It is crew change day, and yes the crew hasn’t changed, nor will it today – maybe tomorrow.  Seas are supposed to be heading down.  That is if you believe the forecasters who said it would be over by now.  It is just a matter of whether the Seismic Gods will cooperate.  Let us all send them a note that the crew wishes to change and to make the seas better: 71.47º N / 22.83º E.

Interesting too, actually – it is the end of the survey and the beginning of the next.  Maybe the crew is grateful they do not have to do the re-configure.  We are going from 10 streamers to 8, 50 meter separations to 100 meter separations.

Norway is a really beautiful country with the Fjords, mountains, and water.  I started this adventure by flying over the Alps then into Norway.  Four flights all together to get to a small town in the north called Hammerfest.  I thought it was an interesting little town, very well settled by the sea, and picturesque.  See for some pictures of the trip.

Maybe I should feel mostly for the chase boat and crew, I see them every now and then … between the waves.

3D Seismic Coil Survey

1 September, 2008 (01:35) | Coil, General, Marine, Seismic | By: Wysard

3D Seismic Coil Survey

Well, my calendar for July mentions a Start-Up Meeting, so maybe I should elaborate. After all, it was the meeting for the job I’m on right now.

We are doing the first commercial 3D Seismic Coil survey, and it is very exciting. A lot of planning has gone into exactly how to do the survey – both by the contractor and the oil company. Lots of modeling was done. New systems had to be designed and implemented. New QC procedures had to be developed. New software or changed software had to be designed and implemented. There is of course much more than can easily be mentioned here.

An article in the July 2008 issue of The Leading Edge, an SEG publication, has a good explanation, “Full-azimuth imaging using circular geometry acquisition”.  Download the PDF (726 K).  The WesternGeco website also has some further information here.

The survey is underway right now and it is going well. Please register to leave a comment or post a question.

* Geco Topaz photograph © 2008 by the author.

Passing the Time

4 August, 2008 (06:22) | General, Land, Marine, Seismic | By: Wysard

Passing the Time

One thing I’ve noticed when I’m away from home working is the different way I pass the time.  After the days’ work I usually relax and watch a movie.  Working on a seismic vessel has it way over land jobs in that respect — they usually have a good supply of movies.  (Wait — I said good supply, not necessarily good movies).

Another way is reading, which is really a better way to spend the time I suppose.  I usually bring my magazines, and not read them at home.  That’s good for a few days at least.  Then I leave them on the boat for others to read if they want.  I sometimes bring paperbacks too that I’ve picked up cheap and leave them as well.  Once again the vessels are better for the books because they usually have a fair library.  Magazines work well for land jobs too, they get pretty ratted up after the whole crew has read them several times each.

Exercise is something I’m guessing more people do when they are on the job than when they are home.  Usually there is exercise equipment which most people don’t have the room for or can’t afford.  Some have a sign-up sheet for how long they have used the equipment for exercise.  I usually just walk around and up and down stairs or hills, whichever may be available (Hmm… I do that at home too).

Then there is the work, let’s leave that for another day.

Hello seismic world!

26 June, 2008 (03:00) | General, Land, Marine, Seismic | By: Wysard

Welcome to a new blog (I know, another blog) about seismic exploration.  Those of us working in the industry have many stories to tell.  An opportunity is being presented here to share those stories.

Let’s take the consultants: QC Reps, Bird-Dogs, Rent-a-Reps, or any other of the colorful terms used to describe them.  The oil companies need them and the seismic contractors would rather do without.  In truth all three groups should work together (and they usually do) to make the exploration project a success.  I’ve been on projects where the QC’s had good ideas and helped solve problems; thus saving everyone involved headaches and money.  Let’s hear some of those little tidbits.

But enough of that.  We want to hear from everyone involved.  Tell us the project you’re working on.  Tell us the companies involved.  Tell as much as possible without, of course, divulging any proprietary secrets.  There are many good ideas and stories out there that may improve things for future jobs.  Comment about them.

I hope this blog will lead to a Wiki of types where all parties can get together to share adventures of all things seismic.  Let’s include land, marine, and all things in between.  Did you know there was even some seismic acquisition done on the moon?

Let’s start with some comments and this site will move forward from there.  We have great plans.