February 16, 2021 | Written by: Sensia
Safely mobilizing offshore in a pandemic
James Barnett’s offshore mobilization to our customer’s drillship in Trinidad was a trip like no other. In the middle of a global pandemic there’s no such thing as a simple mobilization. Border restrictions, strict safety protocols, testing, quarantine and social distancing all play their part.
Team safety is paramount. Only following a full COVID-19 screening, could James board a flight across the Atlantic to Amsterdam. Here, his results were reviewed before he was able to head back across the Atlantic to Curaçao where he would quarantine in a private villa for 14 days. During this time, James got to know his new team mates well, bonding over a shared love of barbecue. Little did they know at the time, this meat mastery would also come in useful during the 23 days they spent on-rig following successful preparation of the BOP Control System.
As James explains:
“Drilling vessels move from one area of the world to another frequently and with each move often comes some changes to meet safety standards and regulations of both the hiring client and government of the country whose waters the drilling operations will be conducted within. In this case both the customer and the government had certain safety requirements for the BOP Control System that needed to be met and tested prior to sailing to the new location to commence drilling operations. That’s where I come in. My job was to upgrade the software (PLC, HMI, OPC and Function Logger) on both the main system and the simulator to meet the required specifications. This rig was contracted to have two BOPs, so while utilizing one BOP with the main system during drilling operations, the second BOP could be prepared and tested using the simulator. All software modifications conducted on the main BOP system also needed be carried out on the simulator to ensure consistency and proper operation of the two systems.
"The software was tested by the client with the Automatic Optimal Inspectors and myself witnessing. Following the procedure, all software worked as intended. Now, what to do with the remaining 23 days on the rig? Well by this time the news of our culinary expertise and delicious barbecue at the ACOYA Hotel in Curaçao had spread around the rig. Next thing I know, I’m down in the galley with a colleague I met in quarantine. We cut up around 30lbs of beef in the galley to make some beef jerky for the rig. After 36 hours of marinating, and about four days of dehydration, the jerky lasted about two days. Everyone from the Subsea Engineer to the Offshore Installation Manager was making frequent trips to our office to taste our wares. This worked out well because during these frequent visits for our exquisite charcuterie, the Electrical Supervisor and Subsea Engineer would often have questions that needed answers or future tasks that required my assistance.
"Upon disembarkation from the drill ship, 44 days after I left Houston, not only was our customer delighted with the successful implementation of all the software, but many friendships were made in the process. Social distancing during the COVID outbreak is required, however in my case it ended up bringing people together more than it separated. It was a pleasure and a privilege to serve with crew of the drill ship and I hope everyone returns to their families happy and healthy.”
Forty-four days later, James has successfully navigated the logistical challenges of mobilizing offshore to return safely back home to Houston. Proving that, despite the global pandemic, here at Sensia – the show must go on.