Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rig Sitting in General

I've been in the field recently — in an unspecified location — and every now and then I think of things to write for the blog, or photos I could post, but it's often been either too windy — or sometimes too snowy, or too windy and too snowy at the same time — to write anything down. I am able to write field notes in my field book: field books don't blow away, and Rite in the Rain books don't run or get messy, especially if one uses a Rite in the Rain pen. In fact, it's been mostly too windy to work on the field-based cross sections I've started.

And why would I even have time for writing? Whether an in-field, drill-sitting geo has time for cross-sections, paperwork, mapping, air-photo mapping, report writing, or other writing depends on the setup of the drilling program. For some types of projects, the drillers don't fill little twisty-tie sample baggies for me, nor do they always make chip trays. When they do, I can examine the contents of the baggies filled with rocks, chips, or other material at some distance from the rig, or I can log the chip trays on the tailgate of my truck (or in the cab, not really preferred unless the weather is completely nasty : or in a core shack or office). There are some advantages to watching the drilling as it goes down (so to speak), especially on a smallish project or a project where one is still feeling out the sampling methods or drilling company. If I'm present, I can observe the drilling recovery first hand, for example, rather than relying on the driller's reports (daily logs).

Because of the logistics of the current project — which I won't describe — I'm unable to sit in the cab of my truck at some distance from the rig, away from the noise and diesel exhaust. Consequently, I'm wearing my PPE, which includes ear plugs, hard hat, and boots. Retreating from the rig to some distance is my preferred method of sitting a rig, if indeed a rig needs sitting. Not all rigs do. They generally need to be checked on now and again, and samples need to be picked up (by techs or geos), and occasional troubleshooting or budget watching is usually necessary — but those things don't always require full-time rig sitting.


Anonymous said...

Yikes! Am I ever glad I went into oil & gas! I've been sitting rigs, too, for 28 years, but it's always been in relatively comfortable onsite accommodations. If I had to sit in my truck and do my work, I'd have lasted 0.28 years (maybe; I actually did supervise an operation from my truck, once, for half a day--that was plenty). You have my respect and sympathy. I guess these are 12-hour-a-day operations? Surely you don't sleep in the cab of your truck, too, while they drill all night?

Howard (Calgary, Canada)

Anonymous said...

BTW: nice photo of the dope pail! ;-)


Silver Fox said...

All of this kind of depends on what a company wants, and what kind of drilling is being done. I don't usually have to "sit" an RC rig, though sometimes being outdoors while drilling is in progress and checking the rig more than once a day is needed depending on the depth of holes. And it could depend on whether one can get cell phone service or not.

Core rigs don't really require babysitting unless the drillers are having problems of some sort and you are getting ready to get rid of them and get someone new. Environmental or similar drilling can require a full-time onsite geologist, and can require checking the samples as they come out of the hole (constant presence). I haven't done that sort of thing more than twice in my entire career.

I've often been inside an onsite or offsite core shed or office for chip or core logging, with occasional (or no) drill checking. Because of the particular form of drilling in this instance, I'm out in the weather while they drill. A truck cab would be welcome! :)

I've only once (one project) had to be present past the end of a 12 hour daytime shift, but rarely even then did we need to go to the rig at night - for down-hole probing/logging when a hole was completed. Usually they reached E.O.H. during the day. In fact, it's usually possible to arrange for the hole to T.D. during the day. The post-midnight probe/logging was done when I was pretty young. That particular project was way before cell phones, and radio phones would not have worked in the area (and probably still don't - central Nevada is an everything dead zone). We didn't have to be at the rig during the day all the time - in fact that would have been impossible: we had 3 core rigs and 2 conventional rotary rigs running at once, and we had me and my field assistant.

Nowadays, most rigs run 2 12-hour shifts. Sometimes, like right now, I've seen rigs run 1 10-hour shift. I've never slept in the cab of my truck after dark - maybe I've taken a nap or two during the day, but if drilling is that slow, then it's nice to go look at some rocks (walk around, drive around).

Sorry to be so vague. Maybe I should describe a few drilling programs from the past!

And thanks - I cropped a better photo to cut out the context (location).

Silver Fox said...

Quiet is good! Warmth is good! Too much warmth, for me, is less preferable to very cold with a nice heater (which we have). For field work in general, I like medium temps and quiet except for birds and breezes and maybe a coyote or two. :)

C W Magee said...

Here's a link to my back-of-the-truck logging setup that I posted a year ago:

Silver Fox said...

That's a neat setup - I added the link to "Questions about Drilling."