Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Little Fatigue

I know some of my dear readers have been expecting a post, but I am suffering a bit from writers block. We spent over a year working an almost "nine to five" existence on pipeline and construction gates. There never was a need for one of us to work through the night, as is common on most gates. Consequently, when we assumed this post on a drilling rig, it was both a shock and adjustment to provide 24 hour coverage. I volunteered to work the overnight shift and have struggled mightily to adapt to my new hours. Add to that that the security company we contract out to has been offered a ton of additional work. What does that have to do with fatigue, you might ask? Well, they got caught shorthanded and we ended up covering a gate for them for a day or two. Perhaps it's my age, and surely the change in work and sleep patterns had something to do with it; but working thirty some hours with just a nap squeezed in, kicked my butt. Then my body and spirit rebelled and I came down with a cold; or some version of the oil field "crud" that circulates around. One of the things we have to remember and adjust to is that frack and drilling gates run pell-mell 24 hours a day. There is no respite. That makes runs to the big city; as we did today, a chore. To keep it from being overtaxing, we find it works best if both partners give up a little of there sleep. Don't misunderstand this as me complaining. Far from it. We are always glad to have work and we actually are pleased to be back on a drilling rig. We feel a sense of camaraderie here and feel like members of the team. Like a lot of guards, we like to ingratiate ourselves with the crew. We prepare all sorts of things for them from cookies to smoked brisket. We have found that most of the roughnecks, support and supervisory personnel to be real "salt of the earth" people. Though we rarely ask for it we know that, in return, they have our back.

There has been a lot of uncertainty in the patch with the collapse of oil prices. It is a shame that most Americans seem oblivious to how much the folks in the oil business are affected by it. The layoffs and cutbacks have conspired to create an aura of apprehension. For whatever reason, some of the bigger players appear to be shrugging it off and continuing production.  I have and continue to be apprehensive, but the near future seems almost positive. So far I haven't seen the influx of winter Texans; at least not at the level of last year, and the demand for guards remains strong. Volatility goes part and parcel with the petroleum industry. Lets hope American shale production can survive these turbulent times.


  1. Good to read another post. Hubby and I got a job at a hotel instead of getting the rv and heading to the oil patch. We decided we still need to sleep at night. Good to know the need for guards is still there and is still an option.

  2. We're hoping to get financially capable of workamping soon. Our experience working campgrounds and hotels was not good as far as compensation goes. Eventually, we'd like to hit the road 4-6 months out of the year; half gate guarding and half workamping.

  3. We got a good hotel that's actually pays both of us. Imagine that!