As long-standing operators in the oil & gas industry, we were naturally excited to see the return of ‘The Rig’ – an Amazon TV program set on an oil platform.
If you’ve also been an avid viewer, you’ll be pleased to know that the real-life day to day operations of the thousands who work on oil platforms around the world are nearly always far less terrifying. Of course, these offshore platforms could be oil or gas and are located across the globe.
That said, they can still be both interesting though potentially dangerous places, which are specifically designed to deliver the maximum extraction performance from drilling, whilst dealing with the demands of the hundreds of staff members who live on site for up to months at a time.
Offshore rigs or platforms are self-sufficient structures that operate 24/7 to extract hydrocarbons from beneath the ocean floor. They are essential to the world’s energy supply and play a critical role in keeping the global economy running. But what do oil and gas platform workers do all day, and what happens on these remote structures?
Key Tasks on an Oil and Gas Platform
Dependent on the purpose the primary tasks on an oil and gas platform can include drilling, maintenance, and production operations along with the ongoing care of the operational staff/team.
- The drilling process involves boring into the ocean floor to reach the oil and gas deposits.
- Maintenance tasks focus on keeping the platform in good working condition
- Production operations include the extraction and storage of the oil and gas, as well as its transport to shore.
Drilling teams work around the clock to ensure that the drilling process runs smoothly, and they are supported by a range of specialist staff, including engineers and geologists.
Maintenance teams are responsible for ensuring that the platform is safe, secure, and in good working order. They also carry out routine checks and repairs as needed, including making sure all essential equipment is operating efficiently and safely.
Production teams are focused on delivering and optimising the output of the platform. They use a range of cutting-edge technologies and processes to ensure that the oil and gas are extracted efficiently, pumping the hydrocarbons back to a central location which is then moved on for further refinement and processing.
The Importance of Oil and Gas Platform Safety
Let’s be honest, even for the most experienced professional an oil and gas platform can be a challenging environment. This is why oil and gas platform safety is always a priority even during leisure times.
All employees are trained in fire safety and emergency first aid which is specifically tailored for oil and gas platforms. If the worst should happen all the required staff are ready to leap into action and help with any emergency that takes place.
Rigorous safety inspections and protocols are also carried out on all equipment across the oil and gas platform. Whilst this may sound obvious for large scale drilling equipment or oil pipes, even the smallest appliances found in leisure areas, such as microwaves or TVs, must be strictly tested to avoid the risk of fire.
Mental wellbeing is also a contributing factor in platform safety, as staff members must be focused when working in what can be a dangerous environment. In recent times, oil platform operators have invested much more time, effort, and money to make sure their staff are well looked after and remain alert.
Relaxation Time on an Oil and Gas Platform
While the work on an oil and gas platform can be demanding, the staff members also have opportunities to relax during their downtime. Many platforms have recreational facilities including gyms, libraries, and cinemas – which allow workers to unwind and escape the isolation of life on the platform.
In addition, many oil and gas platforms offer a range of sports and leisure activities, including football, basketball, and table tennis, which allow workers to stay active and engage in friendly competition with their colleagues. Some even have swimming pools and saunas, offering a way to relax and unwind after a long shift.
The Platform Restaurant
Feeding an army of oil and gas platform workers is one of the most important considerations when it comes to keeping team members happy! Not only is a high energy diet essential, but platform workers are also highly skilled and educated individuals who deserve the very best whilst working away for long periods of time.
Therefore, only the best ingredients are supplied and cooked to order. It’s even been said that some menus could rival your local restaurant, not to mention the fact that it’s usually all included in your contract! All the ingredients and supplies are usually delivered by boat, packed in dry ice to keep them fresh for up to 72 hours during transit. This can include everything from lobsters and steaks, right through to your favourite teabags and biscuits!
Oil and Gas platforms are always built with a professional specification kitchen, with the only change being that all the included kitchen appliances run on electricity rather than gas to avoid fire risks in an already dangerous environment. Waste management from the kitchen is also a particular point of focus, with strong government legislations to protect from improper disposal whilst at sea.
Oil and Gas Platform Conclusions
Oil and Gas platforms are complex structures that play a critical role in the world’s energy supply. The work on an oil and gas platform can be demanding. That said, the staff members are well-equipped to handle the challenges that come with working on a platform, and they have opportunities to relax and unwind during their downtime.
From drilling and maintenance to production and leisure activities, there’s always something happening on an oil and gas platform – and thankfully it doesn’t match what we’ve been watching on TV. That said, we still look forward to the second series and whatever dramas this may bring!