Howdy... I saw an AMA a week or two ago from a mudlogger on a land job, so I figured I'd do one about life offshore!

I am also a mudlogger. When we're actually drilling (which is less often than you'd think), I analyze the rock samples and gasses from the formation that are carried to the surface by the drilling fluid ("mud"). We also help keep track of drilling parameters to make sure everything is going well down hole, and that we're not gaining mud (which indicates a situation that could ultimately lead to a blowout) or losing mud. When we're not drilling, we act as a second set of eyes on all operations, just in case. We're basically the information hub of the rig.

I am currently on a drillship in the Gulf of Mexico,awaiting my helicopter ride back to shore. I was actually supposed to leave yesterday but the fog was too dense to fly all the way out here. So, I figured I'd try to pass the time by posting an AMA! Dense fog again, I'm never going home dammit.

My Proof (hopefully this is sufficient, we're not allowed to take non-intrinsically safe electronics outside of the accommodations, so I can't take a picture of the derrick or drill floor and stuff like that.): http://imgur.com/a/EIrxA

Alright y'all, it's been real but I'm gonna go rack out. Thanks for all the questions and support!! <3

Comments: 353 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

monkey_n_pig43 karma

How do you keep the willies at bay

alcogeoholic58 karma

Hahaha

By threatening to tell someone. Creeping on a girl is a good way to get run off a rig and never work for that operator again.

brutalhonesty1424 karma

whats it like drilling for weeks at a time?.. you must get sore

alcogeoholic52 karma

No cure. My ass is killing me

canadianbaseballfox21 karma

Just curious about the ratio of women to men in the industry? and on your rig in particular? Do you encounter any gender discrimination?

alcogeoholic31 karma

There's not too many of us out here. Today, there are I think four of us on board out of 172 people. I've seen as many as 8. The best characterization I've heard of it was this old guy at a bar saying to me "Damn, you're just like Smurfette!!"

Frankly, I don't really feel discriminated against out here. The guys are all very aware of what is right and wrong in that sense, and I do my job just like everybody else. I do think it's a little sad that there are so few women doing this sort of thing, and I'm not sure why that is. We tend to get hired faster when we do apply, I think mainly because companies are trying to increase their F/M ratio to look more equal opportunity. There just aren't that many applicants.

alcogeoholic20 karma

Super glad no one on my rig seems to be on reddit.

McTrollski18 karma

Can you fish off the deck?

alcogeoholic24 karma

Yep, depending on your captain. I hear of people catching blackfin tuna pretty often, if you can drag it out of the water before the barracuda eat it off your hook

McTrollski8 karma

Sweet! Thanks for replying, great Ama! I used to run water well rigs in NH and find offshore fascinating.

alcogeoholic7 karma

Neat! I was thinking of getting into that someday, it seems to let you live in much more aesthetically pleasing areas. NH sounds nice

McTrollski5 karma

Nh is nice, however, seems like outside a small number of firms most geological work is done by the state. Which usually means you need an "In" to get a job there. Worth a shot though. If you make it up here, I'll teach you to drive in the snow, if you need it.

alcogeoholic4 karma

Oooh damn. Oh well. I don't know if I'd want to live that far north actually, thanks for reminding me of the snow. I used to live in North Carolina and that is quite far enough north for the winter : )

ionwesker17 karma

Have you ever seen anyone kill themselves by jumping over the side?

Is it true you have a hidden protocol in case of a giant sea monster attack?

alcogeoholic33 karma

Yikes, no I have not. I have heard of it happening on other rigs. There was one where you used to be able to lay out in the sun on the helipad, and then someone jumped and ruined that for everyone.

As far as sea monster attacks, we don't seem to have a protocol for that. (I mean we should, have you SEEN the movie The Rig??!) We do have a contingency plan for "pirates" that always makes me laugh...the "pirates" being environmental terrorists. Apparently they sail up in their sailboats, climb aboard and lash themselves to the derrick. Our plan is to shoot fire hoses at them to keep them from getting on board, because once they are on the ship it is our responsibility to keep them safe

cynicallyoptimistic11 karma

How many Kaiju references have been made and which ones are the best?

alcogeoholic10 karma

Wow. zero. had to look that up, actually

cynicallyoptimistic3 karma

I cannot quite express how completely disappointed I am. You took all the wind outta my sails.

FOLLOWUP QUESTION FOR THE BONUS ROUND!!!

Does anyone sing sea shanties while working on deck?

alcogeoholic5 karma

fuck, I wish. It really doesn't feel very nautical for how far out to sea we are, I was disappointed about that too. Plus it's so fucking loud idk how you could hear yourself anyway

trevdordurden10 karma

What's the food like?

What are you most looking forward to one you return home?

alcogeoholic24 karma

The food's not too bad if you're not trying to lose weight. Lots of fried stuff, LOTS of Cajun, lots of steak. We have two steak days a week. Oh, and rabbit. Rabbit at least once every two weeks. Friday is fried fish day. Sunday is fried chicken, mashed potatoes and mac n' cheese day. It's hit or miss...you gotta grab a scoop of everything that looks palatable and hopefully a few of those scoops will also taste good. On the plus side, this rig has a big salad bar that isn't usually too bad.

What am I looking forward to?
Beer Beer Beer Beer Beer

Gigathulu7 karma

Sounds like a pretty poor place for a vegetarian =)

alcogeoholic5 karma

Definitely! I guess you could do cereal for all your meals...? We seem to have every brand ever.

trevdordurden6 karma

That seems better than expected.

So, any particular type of beer?

alcogeoholic11 karma

There's a bar we're all planning to go to once I get back that has two whole walls of taps, but for some reason I always go for Ol' Rasputin

Gigathulu5 karma

Ol' Rasputin

good taste. So no alcohol on the rig? That makes sense I suppose.

alcogeoholic8 karma

Nope. I've heard that on the Maersk Developer, which is by far the most legendarily swanky rig in the Gulf, they get O'Doul's for the Superbowl and other, less important holidays, like Christmas.

cynicallyoptimistic2 karma

LOTS of Cajun

Awesome grub in the chow hall right there, fo' sho'.

alcogeoholic4 karma

...sometimes...

cajun can get fucked up, too....

ailee439 karma

my first reaction was "how much do you get paid compared to the actual workers". Then my brain slapped me upside the head and realized how sexist of a thought that was, and that you could very well be one of said workers.

Turns out you are. You're one tough lady, just like the dudes out there are one tough dudes.

alcogeoholic19 karma

Hahaha. I get paid way more than the average person out here.

*edit: as a mudlogger, not as a female

jchiu0038 karma

Do you have family? How easy is it to have a family with this kind of job? Thank you for doing this AMA!

alcogeoholic9 karma

I don't have my own family, no. No boyfriend or anything close either. Not interested in kids.

Most people out here have a wife and kids at home, and I know both sides of that equation get lonely. There's a lot of divorces and cheating at home.

Thanks!

cadialg8 karma

Awesome AMA!! Are there many engineers out on the rig with you?

What do you do with your time off/hard earned cash!?

alcogeoholic13 karma

Thanks!!

Yes, and they love to tease the shit out of me for being a geologist. Jerks.

I do a little travelling, mainly within Texas, and I have a kayak and like to fish and hike and that sort of thing. I guess I mostly spend money going out to dinner and bars, and unfortunately a lot of Amazon shopping while I'm bored offshore

cadialg4 karma

As an engineer myself I won't take that too personally ;P. Is there a mix of disciplines - struc/mech/etc?

Sounds great! yeah I hear that online shopping bug, I get the same thing on remote site jobs!

alcogeoholic6 karma

Yep, there's all sorts of tinker toys out here that need somebody to fix them : P There's also a lot of petroleum and drilling engineer types.

BluTime8 karma

Any need for mathematicians on a rig or in the industry? What else is there to do on your rig for leisure or is it busy all the time?

alcogeoholic10 karma

Hmm...not that I can think of. Maybe if you would be interested in dealing with the decoding of seismic data? But that's not an offshore job, that's in the office dealing with reservoir characterization.

For fun, we have wifi everywhere inside (but you aren't allowed to do anything that takes up too much bandwidth, like youtube...), we have pretty much every channel that satellite TV can bring (we have TV's in all of our cabins), there's a weight room, sometimes a ping pong room (ours was taken away due to bad behavior), but most importantly there is GOSSIIIIIP. I also count the smoking deck as fun, but that's just me

BluTime6 karma

How do you get un trouble on an oil rig? I'm sure it must be frivolous and probably a dumb question seeing how you're stuck in close quarters for extended amounts of time. What's the latest going around in the rumor mill? (I won't tell)

alcogeoholic15 karma

Haha well you can't sleep with rig hands and you can't take electronics outside. Those are the main things people get run off for. You can't fall asleep on the job. You can't insult upper management.

It's been a slow rumor hitch...though I did find out that one of my friends told this one creepy rig hand that I thought he was cute (definitely not!) just to get him off her back.

almathden5 karma

with only 4 women, just how much "sleeping with" is going on? Are you ladies, ah....busy? or is it sort of like "Oz"

alcogeoholic13 karma

Zero. Super good way to get fired. For instance, I heard this one girl that worked in the kitchen was sleeping with not one but two rig hands (who didn't know about each other), got knocked up, and was trying to tell each of them it was theirs. Guess who got fired? All of them.

almathden2 karma

Good show. Explains why gossip is so popular!

alcogeoholic5 karma

I keep laughing at how you phrased your question...like damn, how do the four of you keep all those men pleased? I know that's not what you mean though haha

almathden2 karma

That's exactly what I meant, actually.

I didn't consider the 'other' staff, though. Explains it.

alcogeoholic3 karma

Just to clarify, no one's fucking the rig guys. They've got their own right hands for that.

alcogeoholic2 karma

Waiiit...what?

YoYoDingDongYo2 karma

you can't take electronics outside

Is this for fire safety?

alcogeoholic4 karma

Yep!

Iphotographboobs6 karma

You are cool and very brave. What is the hardest physical task you have had to accomplish on the rig?

alcogeoholic9 karma

Taking apart and servicing our gas traps. They're suspended over a giant really hot mud pit in a really hot room in an awkward position and they're heavy...also I'm very allergic to the oil base in the mud. Altogether makes for a really bad day.

Also thanks!!

picflute8 karma

allergic to the Oil Base in the Mud

Works in an Oil Rig

The Struggle is real.

alcogeoholic5 karma

Real blistery

Iphotographboobs6 karma

I wish you luck in your career! You are truly an interesting person.

alcogeoholic5 karma

Thanks!!

fizzle256 karma

who is the mud company out there?

alcogeoholic7 karma

Halliburton. They're pretty nice dudes. Great movie collections to steal from. I've also worked with guys from Mi Swaaco.

PistonJack6 karma

What made you decide that this was the job you wanted to do? Was it just "available" or did you have your eyes set on it for awhile? And what did it take to get hired on? (PS: rig chicks rock!)

alcogeoholic13 karma

Well, I have a master's in geology and this seemed like a good way to get my foot in the door. Most jobs that would actually make use of my degree require at least five to ten years of experience in the industry. This is my way of clocking those years. I guess I did sort of have my eye on it while in grad school, something about the gritty rig life and the large chunks of time off appealed to me. Plus, I still get to play with actual rocks, albeit very tiny chewed up ones.

zedsquad6 karma

How did you enjoy HUET training? I'm an Electrical Engineer from Ohio, and I get sent down to the Gulf every few months for start-ups/automation troubleshooting. After a day of being strapped in and flipped upside-down underwater, I was not feeling so great.

alcogeoholic6 karma

FUCK HUET

worst day ever!!! Did you have to do it over and over for that?

zedsquad5 karma

Agreed, haha. I think I ended up having to get dunked 7 times (I had to redo it once because I couldn't get the window open). Hope you get out of there soon. :)

alcogeoholic6 karma

Holy cow. I almost think that when mine is fixin to expire I'll think about a land job. I'm sorry you had to do it so many times : (

zedsquad3 karma

After I told everyone in the office about my experience with the training, they all backed out from going through with it...so now I'm the go-to guy whenever we do offshore work.

Have you been stuck out there often due to the weather? The last time I was out, I was there for almost a month straight...then a tropical depression rolled through, and everyone was evacuated.

alcogeoholic5 karma

Oh no!!! that sucks. What a bunch of jerk chickens your coworkers are!

I've been evacuated for a hurricane at the last minute, I thought we were going to be stuck there because the flights kept getting cancelled. The other guy and gal I was working with that hitch got stuck out there because they were deemed "essential personnel". Sucks to be them :P

zedsquad3 karma

The last platform I was on was floating, so when the storm was coming, I definitely felt like it was time to come home haha. Glad to be non-essential.

Outside of the training, I really do enjoy the work. It's pretty cool (although definitely stressful) to go in and troubleshoot equipment that needs to get up and running ASAP. Always an adventure.

alcogeoholic7 karma

There's always something broken! This one guy on my old rig, in his super gruff Sam Elliot voice, used to say "If it ain't one fuckin' thing, it's two fuckin' things!"

robothehobo5 karma

How bad does the weather get being so far out on the ocean?

Do birds use the rig as a resting spot?

alcogeoholic14 karma

It gets pretty shitty sometimes during the winter with squalls and high seas. This particular rig rocks something fierce because it is so tall and narrow, so it's pretty weird to walk around and especially to try and sleep. We still usually keep plugging right along, though sometimes they will shut down the cranes or something.

Yes birds do come here, though I think some of them come in with the supply boats. Usually just little sparrows or doves, sometimes seagulls and stuff. My favorite bird, a pigeon we had named Walter, turned out to be an actual registered racing pigeon. He turned up after a big cold front came through. He was registered to Florida but I also heard a rumor someone figured out he had been released as part of a race in California. One of these asshole rednecks out here apparently killed him (after he had been here three fucking weeks already!!) because they feared he might "carry germs". I was so sad. Hummingbirds come through here during their migration. One time one got sucked in through the ventilation somehow and landed, perfectly fine, in one of the drillers' laps. So cute.

BunkerHere5 karma

Is the pay good? I've seen some pretty big numbers for other jobs in the same field.

alcogeoholic6 karma

Yep! I don't make 100k but I know other senior mudloggers who do.

[deleted]5 karma

awesome AMA! What's your least favorite part of the job? And have you ever actually dealt with the "environmental terrorists" you talked about in another comment?

alcogeoholic10 karma

Thanks! My least favorite part is the drive out and the drive home...it's seven and a half hours one way without traffic from the heliport to where I live, and it's SUCH a boring drive.

Oh! And no, no terrorists so far. Wow, I'm actually feeling disappointed that I've never had to deal with terrorists. That's a first.

Crumps_brother5 karma

I work on a rig too and have to drive for long periods. Podcasts have really made the drive more enjoyable. I actually look forward to them.

alcogeoholic5 karma

How do those work? I know I'm crazy late to this party but I've never tried to listen to one

Crumps_brother3 karma

Download them off itunes onto you ipod and listen to them like you would a song

alcogeoholic3 karma

Do they have free ones?

_atthew5 karma

Is there a lot of sexual tension between you and your male co-workers being trapped out there on that rig for so long?

alcogeoholic9 karma

Not really, especially wrt me having eyes for them...let's just say old, round, and bald is a common condition out here.

mmacpuguy4 karma

Enough time at sea and.....

alcogeoholic17 karma

barf

Broly3k83 karma

I've seen stupider decisions made while deployed. Trust me, after 9-15 months that old, round, and balding starts looking like a fresh baked pie.

alcogeoholic3 karma

Oh god I assume in the military there's a lot more hottness around...

Cheese_Grits5 karma

What port do you call from? Fourchon?

alcogeoholic11 karma

Nah, Boothville

Gigathulu4 karma

I saw that first as "bootyville" and apologize for the error.

alcogeoholic5 karma

I think that place might be the farthest thing from it, if such a place did indeed exist

[deleted]3 karma

[deleted]

alcogeoholic11 karma

TX

Cheese_Grits7 karma

Damn that drive girl, fuck!

alcogeoholic6 karma

No shit, it sucks balls

Cheese_Grits4 karma

Are you at least doing 28 day hitches? Any less and I would just move to New Orleans.

alcogeoholic6 karma

I've thought about it but they often make us come into the office in Houston

bozimusPRIME3 karma

Had to throw that "girl" in there. Lol

alcogeoholic6 karma

It made me read it with a Mississippi accent in my head.

Broly3k84 karma

First off, as a soldier I just wanted to say... FUCK THAT. I HATE the ocean. Anything that holds the capacity to hide a monster the size of our moon, that could swim up and eat a continent with in seconds, is a big 'Fuck that' to me.

That being said; my father is a welder and has often been out to the rigs. My father is one insane dude, and VERY 'out-there'. All of his buddies are too. So that makes me wonder, truly, what is life like out there for you, isolated, with a bunch of rough necks? Do you get hit on alot? (Sorry if this brings up bad memories), is there a fear of rape/sexual assualt? Most women i have met in the rough neck professions can hold their own pretty well.

Also I know that job is hard, and demanding, but keep your head up and youll be home to family soon enough.

alcogeoholic6 karma

Oh my goodness no, these guys are very polite in their own gruff way, and some of them are very protective. I don't tend to get hit on a lot out here but some girls do. Some girls actually wear makeup out here, not sure who that's for. But yeah most of the girls out here are pretty sassy and we know how to shut down unwanted advances.

Thanks for the support!! Don't hate on the poor misunderstood sea monsters : P

myinvisiblefriendsam4 karma

I just recently got my 3rd/AE license. I've got an offer to work on oil rigs in the gulf but I'm leaning towards joining the union because I could get more days off to travel and work on side projects. I have very little sea time but have only had good experiences so far. Any thoughts or advice?

alcogeoholic2 karma

What is that license?

six-speed4 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! How often do you you see other people with graduate degrees working on rigs? Are you treated differently since you have a geology masters?

alcogeoholic8 karma

Not too awfully many, and yes I do get treated differently because of my master's. I keep getting all these random offers from within the company to move to other positions, and I've turned down a few but finally accepted one that doesn't require me to work in an office. I just want to stay working offshore

[deleted]4 karma

[deleted]

alcogeoholic4 karma

No, I'm just not that great taking pictures with my ipod. Also I'm on the accommodations deck that has yellow doors...maybe it was reflecting back on me?

[deleted]3 karma

[deleted]

alcogeoholic2 karma

Thanks!

CapAnson4 karma

Hmm seems like that probably pays pretty well.. how might a regular joe such as myself get in on that king of oil rig job?

alcogeoholic3 karma

Gotta get a geology degree, or put in some serious time on a land rig (which I hear blows)

CapAnson3 karma

Geology.. I wasted my time on computer science and those jobs pay crap.. sigh.

alcogeoholic3 karma

There's gotta be all sorts of computer science jobs related to O&G on shore at least...we have all kinds of software and it's always changing!

SoCal_Sapper4 karma

This is a pretty decent AMA, gj. What's the first thing you eat when you go back to TX?

alcogeoholic6 karma

thanks,

Usually the healthiest thing I can find...something green that hasn't been hanging out with ham hocks all day.

Or guilty pleasure = sushi

SoCal_Sapper3 karma

Nice! Do you go for the omakase or do you have a go to roll when you get your first sushi fix after awhile?

Another question, what's your favorite book?

alcogeoholic4 karma

Eh I usually make my own, there's a place not too far where I can get chunks of sashimi-grade sea bass and some veggies and just sit on my couch and roll random things and be a giant pig.

I unfortunately often read and enjoy girly things, like I'm reading Vanity Fair and listening to Tess d'Ubervilles...and I just bought all the pretty horses but at least that's a western...I really liked Infinite Jest and I've been trying to read everything by David Foster Wallace, I like the really bizarre things he points out, like things that go on in your head that you had heretofore been unconscious of. I want to find more authors like that. But my ipod is so full of the free classics from amazon, I've got a lot of work to do.

BluTime3 karma

Oooo. I love sushi. Sashimi mostly. Tuna. Um, yum! With some hot sake. Damn.

alcogeoholic2 karma

Omg I just tried sake for the first time my last time off. I for so long avoided it because it sounded weird...hot white wine liquor? But yep. So good.

ezdrocks4 karma

Is your bunk mate also a female? Or do you have to share with a man? If the bunking is by gender, what would happen if there wasn't an even number of women? Would that remaining woman get a room to herself?

alcogeoholic10 karma

Well, this time my roommate is a guy. Sometimes it's a girl. But the way it works out is that I bunk with the guy who works the opposite shift (called a "tour") of me, also a mudlogger, so I'm in here while he's out working and then we trade off. We're never in the room together.

I prefer it this way, I actually hate it when you get a captain that doesn't let us do it this way. They stick me in a room with another girl just because she's a girl, regardless of what tour she works. Then you end up waking each other up halfway through the night when you go take a shower, and you can't watch TV in your room...sucks.

I've had my own room to myself just because I'm a girl before. That part I like. But that only happens when you don't have a full ship.

atomicllama13 karma

Can you take me through an ordinary day?

Whats your schedule like?

How long are you out to sea?

Thanks in advance.

alcogeoholic4 karma

Usually I wake up an hour and a half before I go on "tour" (which is what we call a shift for whatever reason), take a shower in my tiny corner shower, run down to "breakfast" (which in reality is usually dinner, or the midnight meal), run get a smoke, then run down to a boring 15-minute safety meeting. Then I put on boots, hardhat, glasses, earplugs, etc and cross like 100 feet of deck to get to the little fireproof box I work in. Then usually I work on reports or something or surf the web. Sometimes we're drilling and I get to look at rocks. A couple meals and cigarette breaks happen. Then 12 hours later I go back to my room, take a shower, watch cartoons for 2 hours, then pass out. Repeat 12 hours later. The days run together pretty hard.

We work two week rotations, so I'm out two weeks and off two weeks.

catch101103 karma

Have you experienced any unusual/emergency situations? What is your work schedule actually like?

alcogeoholic11 karma

I work a "hitch" of two weeks on, two weeks off. While I'm on the rig, operations are going on around the clock so you work 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Usually the first week you work the night shift, the second week you work the day shift.

The only emergency situations I've dealt with were 1) being evacuated right before a hurricane and 2) a fire alarm that turned out to be nothing.

Aworthyopponent6 karma

My boyfriend would do 20/10 and 10 days wasn't enough because at least two are for traveling. That's honestly really amazing what you're doing because from what he tells me, it can be quite difficult working with all those men enclosed like that. Some a racists some are dirty or lazy. I can only imagine it's harder for a women still. Huge props to you.

alcogeoholic7 karma

Omg some of them are sooooo racist. Not any stinky folks out on the rigs I've been on, but I'm sure they're out there.

I actually don't seem to have a hard time, but that might have to do with my personality and the fact that most of my friends have always been guys anyway.

Mejica4 karma

My father inlaw has to deal with the abundant racism,

alcogeoholic4 karma

:( I'm sorry. They actually say things about him? I've never seen that happen before. I've heard some of the rig hands hating on Obama, or certain groups of people in general, but NEVER someone personally. That's awful : (

catch101103 karma

2 on/2 off sounds awesome. What do you do with that much time off?

alcogeoholic9 karma

I wish I could say something interesting but mainly I just lay around in my pajamas and watch netflix.

bozimusPRIME3 karma

I work in Northern Colorado on huge pads called eco nodes. It's a collection of many wells all put on one site. We have plenty of storage tanks, compressors, separators and works. My question to you is: since you can't set up tanks and such (or can you? ) do you have all that jazz such as tanks separators compressors on board? And can you not leave until the site is dry? Thanks for your time. Stay safe out there.

alcogeoholic4 karma

I'm not quite sure what you mean...solids control equipment maybe? Mud pits? We have all kinds of mud pits, the ship holds thousands of barrels of mud. We have all the usual solids control equipment.

Maybe you mean that what comes out of the flowpipe? It's a closed system, we have a riser that connects us to the seafloor and the drillpipe is inside of that. The annulus extends from the bit all the way up the hole, up the riser, and to the flowline which goes through the solids control equipment right back into the pits.

Before we leave the site, we go through really rigorous plug and abandon procedures. We have more casing points than y'all do, and we perforate all those successively and pump them full of cement. Cement cement cement. Then we displace the mud in the riser with seawater and unlatch. No drilling mud is ever released into the ocean. I know there's also some sort of special plug on top of the last bit of cement but I'm not sure how that all works.

JORDANEast2 karma

It might also be worth mentioning that the BOP stack is at the bottom of the marine riser on the sea floor for offshore rigs.

alcogeoholic2 karma

Well yeah...but not once we leave. Do you get what he was asking about tanks and separators and compressors and whatnot? I'm assuming it's just different names for the same stuff we have...

postExistence3 karma

This is a pretty cool AMA.

  • How much time during the year do you spend out on the oil rig? Do you have an apartment stateside? If not, do you use your parents' home address for all your incoming mail?

  • Are you a geologist? It sounds like it. Do you participate in /r/askscience and their AMA's?

  • Are there any women that do "hard labor" on-sites? I'd be super impressed if they did.

  • What are some of the most mundane jobs that have to be filled on an oil rig? You said someone does your sheets. That sounds incredibly mundane (as an example, of course)

alcogeoholic6 karma

  1. Basically 50/50. Yes I have an apartment, the cheapest one I could find that wasn't in an area that would get me killed.

  2. Yes, and no not really. Sometimes I'll answer questions in r/geology though

  3. Yes, not on my rig or any I've been on but I've heard of women roughnecks and roustabouts

  4. I don't want to call it mundane, but yes there is a staff of people that make the food, do everyone's laundry, make everyone's beds, and cleans everything inside the accommodations. They work really hard and they're usually really cool people. There's also basically like rig accountants, and people in charge of lining up boats and helicopters to come back and forth to the rig, stuff like that.

HajraFradi3 karma

My High School History teacher left halfway through the year last year to go and work on the rigs as a cabin attendant, so she does the sheets and laundry etc. She was the coolest person I know. Said the actual work was quite dull and uninteresting, but she loved the 2 weeks on, 2 off schedule, and the general day to day life of working on the rigs. Although this was in Scotland, so she worked out in he North Sea, so I'm not sure how that would compare to where you work. I'm assuming far far colder.

Also, do oil rig workers in the States get good pay? I live in Aberdeen over here (oil capital of Europe) and everyone works in oil, and gets paid insane amounts, regardless of skills or qualifications. Manual labourers get something like £30k in their first year out of school (18/19 years old), and I know so many people on stupidly high salaries for surprisingly normal jobs on the rigs.

Sorry for the long post haha!

alcogeoholic3 karma

Yep that sounds just about the same as here pay-wise. That's an interesting career shift for your teacher!

HajraFradi2 karma

Yeah, she's late 40's and just fancied a change. When she comes back onshore, her and her husband go away skiing in Austria or skydiving in Italy etc.

alcogeoholic3 karma

Neat! and no fair, I need a travel buddy.

Mikeleee3 karma

Anyone ever go for a swim in the ocean? I think those rigs have ladders into the water right?

alcogeoholic5 karma

Definitely not

akuun3 karma

How does life on an oil rig affect your mind? Do things that you would normally find boring suddenly look more interesting, or the other way around? Are there any in-jokes that only people on the rig would get?

Are people more/less stressed because of the environment?

alcogeoholic5 karma

It's kind of weird operating for all of two weeks in such a small space. It's also a bit like the movie Groundhog Day.
I'm definitely more interested in "boring" things when I'm out here. I go on long adventures on Wikipedia, for one thing. I guess there's in-jokes, but nothing real specific. Actually most of them involve bitching about some thing or another. It depends on what your job is, wrt the stress thing. I find this place chill as hell, because usually my work hours are pretty calm and there's not too much time off-tour before I go to sleep. I'm sure people higher up the food chain are much more stressed out. It's a chill lifestyle...go to work for 12 hours, decompress for 12 hours. Repeat. There isn't much else to think about.

gluecifer3 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I've been interested in commercial and industrial diving...

Has the industry changed its safety protocols or any enforcement there of since BP scandal or is it just not worth doing since its not in the public eye anymore?

What did you go to college for? Did you grow up wanting to work in rigs or did you just fall into it?

alcogeoholic5 karma

Oh man safety is so intense now. The Macondo thing caused the main regulatory agency to split into two, and the one we deal with most, BSEE (the enforcement side), is constantly coming out and doing inspections. Macondo changed the whole game. There's so many more regulations to follow. Which is great, even though some of the things are annoying. It's way safer.

I went to college for geology. Actually at first, I wanted to be a paleontologist (from when I saw Jurassic Park until maybe early college). I almost got there...I studied foraminifera in grad school. Hard to make money that way, though. For a while I wanted to be a professor, but then realized how much work they have to do, no thanks. Then I went on a research cruise that is actually very much like this, and we passed very close to lots of rigs, and it just stuck with me. They're so neat up close. And huge, and complicated.

Capntallon3 karma

Have you had any memorable days aboard the rig?

alcogeoholic3 karma

oh god no...the days run together like nobody's business.

I guess holidays are okay out here...the kitchen crew goes to great lengths to make the place festive. That's about all I got :(

Capntallon2 karma

Aaww.... hugs

alcogeoholic2 karma

<3

Puntas_e_Beks3 karma

Judging from your pic, you don´t seem morbidly obese..... How do you stay in shape out there? Are you going to go to SXSW in Austin with that time off? I work with and O&G company in Brasil and I know geologists who receive amazing perks, would you consider working internationally?

alcogeoholic5 karma

I thought all O&G in Brasil was the whole nationalized Petrobras thing? But yes totally down to go anywhere, as long as it's not cold. So, no North Sea, no North Dakota, no Alaska (only to visit).

There's workout rooms and stuff but I'm too lazy for that. I've just been trying not to eat anything, mainly. That and cigarettes. The supermodel diet!

I would really like to go to SXSW! I hope I'll be off then. I really never know too far in advance.

throwawayontherocks3 karma

Fascinating ama. You mentioned that during time off, you do a lot of online shopping.

What are three of the more obscure items that you've purchased since you've been mud logging? For example -- rare mechanical pencils from Japan, a set of Estwing picks and chisels, or a 4d anatomical model of a shark.

alcogeoholic2 karma

Those are some neat choices...

This hitch I ordered a set of bells (like the little metal mini xylophone) and a banjolele. I can't waaaait to get home and play with them

ratshack2 karma

What is your Internet connection like?

alcogeoholic3 karma

Ain't too bad. Except when it rains...forget it

RedHotChiliPenguins2 karma

Would you rather fall out of the helicopter high above sea on your way to shore and be eaten to death by lots of mildly hungry barracuda who take their time snacking on you OR find out the only humans who exist after a world wide infection are those on the rig and its up to you to save the population?

alcogeoholic10 karma

Oh definitely the third one, no offense to you, landlubber. You have to factor in all the other rigs in the Gulf and other basins that also have non-infected humans on them. That's quite a few people. And fuck that saving the population shit, I'm not interested in popping out a baby in this world where we have fancy medicines and painkillers and reconstructive down-there surgery, let alone some post-apocalyptic germ-ridden shithole.

ojconcentrate2 karma

Hi! I assume its a very physically demanding job. Are you expected to meet the same physical strength requirement that men that work at the rig need to meet and what are those standards(if any of course)?

alcogeoholic7 karma

It's not that physically intense unless something breaks. And yes of course we have to meet the same requirements. Everybody has to take a basic fitness exam where you carry weights up stairs and ladders and do weird stretches and such.

alwfarr2 karma

How difficult was it for you to get hired on? I have a friend who majored in Occupational Safety and Health and tried to get on offshore, but never could.

alcogeoholic4 karma

Nope. It was the first job I applied for. However, I lucked out with my timing, they had laid a bunch of people off during the moratorium and ended up being shorthanded. I applied a little after it was lifted and they were in a rush to hire new folks. Good luck to your friend in HS&E! I'd say just keep up hope and keep trying. I hear they make bookoo cash.

mmacpuguy1 karma

Did you go to one of the Maritime colleges?

alcogeoholic2 karma

Nope. Regular state college, regular grad school. Both in geology

notjoeyf1 karma

Where at?

alcogeoholic2 karma

one of the Texas A&M's, and East Carolina University