It was my second shift at Tapti—an offshore gas production platform where I had started working. Anand, one of my college juniors and a friend had emailed me to ask how my life was going on? I wrote this email to explain to Anand how offshore was treating me so far.
Well, everything in life gets boring once you gain familiarity, it’s just about time. I am about to finish two weeks here at the platform and I have no clue how the time passed. When you are on board, away from your family, you are not really alone. You are detached from the outside world not because there is no way to engage, but because you get engaged with the inside world. You can always make calls to friends and family or keep in touch with emails. It’s only about the first day, and then you lose the urge to constantly look out for your phone or laptop. It’s a family all together and with time you get accustomed to its culture.
We start our day with a daily behavioural based safety meeting at 7 AM sharp. Here we discuss the checklists, observations, and jobs. I have to reach the control room by 8 AM after getting ready and having breakfast at the galley. Since I am new, the control room timings are a bit relaxed as of now. At the control room, I observe my seniors, read P&ID diagrams, read manuals or books, take field rounds and try to trace the pipelines, try to understand how things work. It might sound too much but honestly, everything is just chill, all my seniors in the control room are young AEEs, so they understand. Often we just sit there and talk, and gossip. On some days, unmanned trips are planned, a team has to go to the unmanned platform for well health checking or to do some testing. I have been to the unmanned platforms twice as of today. Both times the total trip took less than 3 hours including travel. The travel is done via chopper. I have heard that sometimes you have to stay for the night, I haven’t experienced that yet. But I think it would be good. Unmanned are really peaceful, you can hear the sound of the waves crashing on the platform jacket. On the contrary on the process platforms, compressors make nasty sounds. Again since for now, I am at the learning stage so I only have day duties. The best part is that I share my day with 3-4 more new GTs whom I have known from my initial joining days, good friendships have been formed. I rarely get time to be alone, and rarely the time to write such big emails, without anyone staring at my screen.
A control room has to remain manned 24 hours but as of now since I have no responsibility, I can technically go in/out of it anytime I want. Take as much break as I want. We break for lunch at about 12:15 PM and come back by 2:15 PM. Then we break for tea/coffee. Whenever we get bored, we all new GTs go to the pantry. It gets hard to see what you are putting inside your stomach because sometimes the food becomes the way to entertainment.
When we come back to the living quarters in the evening, which is usually after 7:30 PM (that’s when control room handing over is done) , we have TT Table, Carrom, GYM, Desktops, and Televisions (in all rooms) to amuse ourselves. I have my kindle with me so I prefer that. You’ll feel exhausted so naturally after changing and having dinner and some light conversations or emails, you’ll hit the bed, to be ready for the next day.
I hope I gave you a brief picture of my day, more details on call when I come back, haha. The crew change for ONGC happens on Sunday and Monday. Tomorrow some of my seniors are leaving, and I am feeling sad about that. I told you, you end up forming a bond with the people you surround yourself with. But it’s okay I’ll see them again after 21 days. I am coming back next Sunday, hopefully, if they don’t drop me because of my weight. It’s another kind of experience to travel via chopper over the sea, it takes me around 50 minutes to reach Mumbai.
I hope your exams went good. I hope your preparations are going awesome and that your mind is at peace. I wish you the best if you are about to sit for placements. Let me know how things are on your side.