Monday, March 4, 2013

What is going on?

Do you ever wonder what's going on at your site? Believe it or not; barring a breakdown of some sort, there is a method to all the madness. From this layman here's an overview. If you are there from the beginning, which is unlikely, a crew with heavy equipment will come in and cut roads and make a pad(s). You may get to see the tractor mounted weed eater from hell which uses chains to whip the shrubbery and vegetation into submission. It is natures worst nightmare. The next step is to dig a large hole which is called the cellar and line it with aluminum. A guide hole is then spudded in for the big rig. If it hasn't been done already water will be run, usually with miles of semi-flexible tubing. There is a craft for each of these endeavors. Then the circus comes to town in the form of your rig. It is a modular machine with each module being about the size of a bus or boxcar. First steel pads are put in place which will hold the entire contraption. At this point, depending on your company man, some leveling may go on. We have had company men that were extremely picky about how level the pad was. The group we have now-not so much. Once the pads are in and level the modules go in. Each has a function and a place. Remember this monstrosity has to be self sufficient, providing all it's own power. Once the modules are in place the derrick is attached to a humongous frame with hydraulic cylinders that will serve to lower and raise its 100 foot plus length. Once the derrick is up the entire center section is also raised about 20-30 feet using hydraulic cylinders. In the meantime trailers will have been moved in along with all the necessities of life such as water and sewer tanks. In the sites we have worked casing lines the hole at the beginning and end, so you will see casing almost as soon as the rig appears. Once the casing is cemented in things fall into a semi routine. Drilling continues until TD or target depth is reached, then it's time for casing again. That's a rough synopsis of how it has gone for us for over a year. Our bunch is unique in that they continue to set records and we rarely are on a site longer than two weeks. Previously we would spend four to six weeks or longer at a drill site; especially if fracking and completion followed. Now a days fracking crews lag far behind the drilling crews and; if a guard is requested, your assignments will tend to be of a brief nature. Small wonder that guards try to "attach" themselves to a drill rig so that at least they have some continuity. That "gate of dreams" with an electric pole, sewer and city water (and a remote gate opener) is rare indeed. The nature of the petroleum industry is that it remains in a state of flux, subject to the vagaries of the economy and politics. One of the few things that a gate guard can count on is that the winter gate guards will eventually head north and gates will become plentiful again

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