Majority of jobs in the oil and gas sector are onshore, however, there are few which are located offshore that include working on rigs at sea. Life and work conditions at offshore rigs are tough. They do differ based on the location, climatic condition, surroundings, and company policies. Some oil rigs can be found on dry land while others can be in seashore or hundreds of miles inside the sea. Therefore, there are a lot of apprehensions attached to the jobs in offshore oil rigs. If you too are considering a job on an oil rig but are unsure what to expect and how well will you cope up, here is a comprehensive guide to understanding life on an offshore oil rig.
The Offshore Life Conditions
Workers from profiles like drilling, construction, and metallurgy work outdoors in rough weather conditions. Others such as geologists and engineers keep switching their workplaces from offices to the inside of oil rigs platform and deck zones. However, managers, administrative staff, executives mostly work in offices in a comfortable setup. So, living conditions at offshore locations primarily depend upon the type of job role.
The overall living conditions on the oil rigs have been upgraded significantly in comparison to the past. In fact, some offshore rigs meet the standards of a good hotel. The safety and security of the rig workers are of paramount importance; thus, every oil company provides necessary training, safety gears, and rotational shifts to ensure smooth working conditions. Additionally, the income at offshore locations is comparatively higher than similar land-based positions. The major part of the salary can be converted into savings as all the potential major expenses like food, accommodation, and travel cost are borne by the oil rig company. Most of the oil rig companies are in the Middle East, Brazil, North Sea, Scandinavian coast, Alberta, Texas, Dakota, Australia, Venezuela, and Louisiana. This means that as an oil rig worker you will have a chance to explore these beautiful destinations at company expense.
One of the biggest drawbacks of working on an oil rig is the continuous noise and the temperature that keeps fluctuating too depending upon the location of an oil rig.
Lifestyle While Working on An Oil Rig
Now let’s look at the lifestyle that you probably must adapt to while working on an oil rig:
Remuneration: The salaries and benefits of rig workers vary widely based on their job role, expertise, and market conditions. However, the salaries are better in comparison to other industries. The workers get fairly compensated to work in offshore locations, adhering to strict schedules and risks. The payscale is, in fact, one key attraction points for workers on oil rigs.
Working Shift: Usually, the working shift has 12 hours ‘on’ and 12 hours ‘off’ shift patterns with a mixture of both day and night. However, based on the job role, some workers spend 2-3 weeks or even more working offshore while 2-3 weeks at home resting. Workers stay away from the family for a longer duration of time and can miss out on special family functions, festivals, and funerals. On the other hand, they get to stay with them for equally long duration of time.
Commuting: Your traditional way of commuting to work will change considerably. You’ll now be transferred in a helicopter from the shore to the rig. Sounds exciting? But there is a catch. You need to go through an extensive sea survival training before you can enjoy your ride. You will be trained on wearing immersion suits, buoyancy aids, and go through other safety training before you qualify to travel. It may seem daunting at the start but eventually, it becomes your second nature.
Accommodation: Accommodation on-board has improved significantly over the years. It usually comprises of a dormitory with bunk beds arranged sequentially with 4-8 people sharing the room. This helps the workers to bond with each other. However, some rigs offer private rooms as well. The accommodation type can vary based on your job role too.
Food: Off-shore rigs usually comprise kitchen staff who prepare high-quality food including fresh salads and meats. The food item is delivered to rig via helicopter or boat. Since the staff members are limited, the canteen has self-service mostly. Food requirement and food safety standards are ensured by the oil rig companies.
Medical provision: Before workers are transferred to the off-shore location, they undergo a mandatory medical examination to ensure that they are fit to work in the off-shore rig. However, to ensure medical safety on the location, medical personnel is employed on-board. For any medical emergency, helicopters are kept on standby for evacuation, if necessary.
Communication: Mobile phones connectivity is generally patchy at offshore locations, so satellite phones are available for communication. Additionally, some oil rig companies provide internet facilities which makes communication with family and friend easier.
Entertainment facilities: Working offshore can be stressful. To combat this, recreational facilities are ensured on off-shore location. It includes, but is not limited to the compact movie theatre, television, pool table, air hockey, video game console, WiFi, tablets, and permission to use their own entertainment gadget as well.
Smoking and alcohol consumption: Smoking on oil rigs is dangerous and is mostly banned. However, a designated smoking area is provided for smoking and matchbox or lighters are available only in those assigned areas. However, oil rigs have a strict policy against alcohol consumption and on all non-prescription drugs. It can lead to termination from employment and random drug tests are conducted to ensure this.
You now know what your life will be on an oil rig. However, before you apply make sure that you are physically and mentally fit to work on an oil rig. If you find it exciting, you can check NrgEdge.com for relevant job openings in the oil and gas field and start working towards your dream.
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The Permian is in desperate need of pipelines. That much is true. There is so much shale liquids sloshing underneath the Permian formation in Texas and New Mexico, that even though it has already upended global crude market and turned the USA into the world’s largest crude producer, there is still so much of it trapped inland, unable to make the 800km journey to the Gulf Coast that would take them to the big wider world.
The stakes are high. Even though the US is poised to reach some 12 mmb/d of crude oil production next year – more than half of that coming from shale oil formations – it could be producing a lot more. This has already caused the Brent-WTI spread to widen to a constant US$10/b since mid-2018 – when the Permian’s pipeline bottlenecks first became critical – from an average of US$4/b prior to that. It is even more dramatic in the Permian itself, where crude is selling at a US$10-16/b discount to Houston WTI, with trends pointing to the spread going as wide as US$20/b soon. Estimates suggest that a record 3,722 wells were drilled in the Permian this year but never opened because the oil could not be brought to market. This is part of the reason why the US active rig count hasn’t increased as much as would have been expected when crude prices were trending towards US$80/b – there’s no point in drilling if you can’t sell.
Assistance is on the way. Between now and 2020, estimates suggest that some 2.6 mmb/d of pipeline capacity across several projects will come onstream, with an additional 1 mmb/d in the planning stages. Add this to the existing 3.1 mmb/d of takeaway capacity (and 300,000 b/d of local refining) and Permian shale oil output currently dammed away by a wall of fixed capacity could double in size when freed to make it to market.
And more pipelines keep getting announced. In the last two weeks, Jupiter Energy Group announced a 90-day open season seeking binding commitments for a planned 1 mmb/d, 1050km long Jupiter Pipeline – which could connect the Permian to all three of Texas’ deepwater ports, Houston, Corpus Christi and Brownsville. Plains All American is launching its 500,000 b/d Sunrise Pipeline, connecting the Permian to Cushing, Oklahoma. Wolf Midstream has also launched an open season, seeking interest for its 120,000 b/d Red Wolf Crude Connector branch, connecting to its existing terminal and infrastructure in Colorado City.
Current estimates suggest that Permian output numbered around 3.5 mmb/d in October. At maximum capacity, that’s still about 100,000 b/d of shale oil trapped inland. As planned pipelines come online over the next two years, that trickle could turn into a flood. Consider this. Even at the current maxing out of Permian infrastructure, the US is already on the cusp on 12 mmb/d crude production. By 2021, it could go as high as 15 mmb/d – crude prices, permitting, of course.
As recently reported in the WSJ; “For years, the companies behind the U.S. oil-and-gas boom, including Noble Energy Inc. and Whiting Petroleum Corp. have promised shareholders they have thousands of prospective wells they can drill profitably even at $40 a barrel. Some have even said they can generate returns on investment of 30%. But most shale drillers haven’t made much, if any, money at those prices. From 2012 to 2017, the 30 biggest shale producers lost more than $50 billion. Last year, when oil prices averaged about $50 a barrel, the group as a whole was barely in the black, with profits of about $1.7 billion, or roughly 1.3% of revenue, according to FactSet.”
The immense growth experienced in the Permian has consequences for the entire oil supply chain, from refining balances – shale oil is more suitable for lighter ends like gasoline, but the world is heading for a gasoline glut and is more interested in cracking gasoil for the IMO’s strict marine fuels sulphur levels coming up in 2020 – to geopolitics, by diminishing OPEC’s power and particularly Saudi Arabia’s role as a swing producer. For now, the walls keeping a Permian flood in are still standing. In two years, they won’t, with new pipeline infrastructure in place. And so the oil world has two years to prepare for the coming tsunami, but only if crude prices stay on course.
Recent Announced Permian Pipeline Projects
Headline crude prices for the week beginning 3 December 2018 – Brent: US$61/b; WTI: US$52/b
Headlines of the week
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