Sunday, 13 April 2008

Simple Errors

Something you don’t want to read at 6.50am on a Sunday morning, while checking an email from the boss, in reference to your earlier one-man job.

The sh*t is going to hit the fan over this one...

[asterix his, for some reason]

The rest of the email was as stern in tone, if with fewer asterices. And indeed, it made for grim reading, and my fan looks to be left far from sparkling.

It’s a sunny morning in Brazil, and the sea shimmers under the radiant blue of the sky. On this filthy rig, which I’m growing worryingly accustomed to, by rights it should be a good morning. Not just because of the gorgeous weather or the promise of another leisurely day, but because the job I’m on is going swimmingly. Though being extremely reluctant to go in the first place, and despite still being decidedly keen to go home, what looked to be quite a tricky little affair has been astonishingly glitch free. Last night we ran a wireline in hole, effectively a data-gathering tool literally held by a wire and slowly lowered down kilometres of tubing. This way we can speak to our gauges and get all their data. Very unusually, and very bad form, I have been given no back-up on this job. These tools are notorious for failure, and in the past a back-up has been a lifesaver. So I was a little nervous about this operation, as failure would mean failure, and would expose us for the cardinal sin of having no spares.

But it worked, and worked extremely well. I left Nik for the overnight stint, intending to take over this morning, but when I got there, he’d finished! Hours ahead of schedule, and everyone was happy. Not least me, because I now had my whole day to sit back, and didn’t have to hole myself up in a box watching numbers on my computer.

Alas then that the past caught up with me.

The last month, you may recall, I’ve been doing nothing. Nothing. Two weeks on a rig alone, then two weeks in a hotel, alone. Doing nothing. Well, except, briefly program some tools on a rig and shove them down a hole. Very easy stuff – how could I go wrong? Well, wrong I went.

A different operator finished off my job, which was just to retrieve my tools and download them. What did he find? Only one of three worked. Worse, the two that didn’t work appear to be because I didn’t screw them in correctly. Rather carelessly, I screwed them in the wrong slots. Even worse, this mistake meant it possible that I’d screwed in other companies’ tools in the wrong slots – so not only did I cause our tools’ failures, but I caused the failure of two other companies’. This is, let it not be understated, bad news.

But maybe not. The verdict hasn’t yet come in and the jury is out. No doubt I was a little careless, but it’s very possible the fault lay with our tools, in which case I’m off the hook. Oh, how I pray for the slight possibility of mechanical failure. It’s not a sackable offence fortunately – though writing about it on a blog probably is – but it will earn a deservedly stern rebuke, and probably half a pinkie chopped off (my company have a firm disciplinary line).

In the meantime, life on my little tin can in the sea goes on. My six-man room only has two men now, but they’re the ones who like to wake with the TV at 5am, and one of them seems dedicated to watching TV loudly all day in nothing but his underpants. As he has a large belly and is over 60, this does not make my room an attractive spot. But the food is surprisingly good, and the 3pm snacks are lovely, and my colleague Nik is proving to be good banter.

And best of all, an end is in sight. This week I think I might escape homewards, to face the music on base and then bury myself into the alcoholic retreats of life. And, with an exciting guest appearance! (watch this space)

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Ugh. I hate being wrong, so I have sympathy for your situation. Hope it turns out for the best.