In The Middle of the North Sea Pt. 2

What Kind of Isolation?

A few days in to the oddest two weeks of my life and I have a serious appreciation for what riggers have to go through. I can imagine that it gets easier everytime you go away (each Holiday I have ever been on has felt shorter than the last one) but by working from 7am to 7pm it feels like I have spent years on this thing and it is only Tuesday! I return a week this Thursday (the 17th) which right now feels ages away, but in truth it is only 8 real days. My flight leaves FB at 1pm or so, returning to shore by 2pm or something thereabouts.

My thoughts: The problem I seem to have is something that I have encountered throughout the last few months and it appears to be becoming worse. Basically, I have trouble with banter. I know, you might be shocked, but I find it difficult to think of a not stupid and not silly remark back to anyone who witticises with me. For example, if someone who I knew said "Aye, fair old wind oot there today ken" I'd remark back "Yup, funny there is no wind in here though", getting either a "Shut the fuck up" or a look of annoyance, but when it comes to talking to someone who has lived here for the last few years, lived the life for more than that, sometimes I find it hard to converse.

It also doesn't help that I am on my own. My project is a one man job really. I have to check the isolations made when the plant went from Production (separating the Oil and Gas before exporting it) to DX (Direct Export, where everything they pump and drill is sent on to Charlie). The field is split into five main platforms (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo, with a seixth small platform called Unity. All pump onto Charlie, as well as some others like Buchan and Montrose, and the Charlie sends them away to Grangemouth. I have the check the bits that the cut away and bypassed around and switched off, using the P&IDs as a plan.

This means a lonesome trek around the plant.

I was kind of unleashed upon the endless corridors of pipes, vessels and ladders, and if you can imagine what you think a chemical plant is like, you will almost certainly think of what Bravo looks like inside.

There are some exciting moments - like today, I had to inspect a vessel (a deoxygenation vessel for those who are interested) and it is about 40ft tall. So, what am I looking for? Ah yes, the pipe and valve, 38ft from the deck. So trapse up a long ladder to the top, in windy conditions, to look to my left to see a 300ft drop into the H2O. The cold H2O. Which is remarkably blue. Some of my peers might find this terrifying, like I kind of did.

I don't know how long I can keep this being a two day thing as things never really happen to me. If you want some questions answered, comment below and I'll endeavour to answer them. No technical ones though, please.