Young Engineer Visits Offshore

October 4, 2008

Hui Hin explains her trip offshore … in pictures.

Visit here blog here.

Fasting – Offshore Style

September 23, 2008

Taken from The Star:

For oil platform workers off Terengganu, work must go on

TERENGGANU: For most people, the Hari Raya holidays are the time to spend with family and friends.

But for a group of workers, the end of the fasting month will have to be marked some 240km off the Terengganu shore in the middle of the South China Sea.

They are the staff of Exxon- Mobil’s Lawit A oil platform who are tasked with ensuring that petroleum production is not disrupted.

Operations supervisor Jawead Allahrakha, 50, said whatever happens, the work must go on.

“We are sacrificing our Hari Raya so that other people in the country can celebrate,” he said, adding that 90% of the 81 platform crew are Muslims.

He will be one of 45 people who will spend the first day of Hari Raya on the oil platform.

The rest were lucky enough to get leave to celebrate at home.

Chef Hanizul Hamzah, tasked with feeding those on the platform, said a sense of duty makes him carry on.

Hanizul has never celebrated Hari Raya at home since he started working at the platform in 1999. But this year, he hopes he would be home in Kota Baru for the festivities.

“Being able to serve the crew with the best meals I could cook makes it all worth it.

“Good food makes people happy,” said the 46-year-old from Kelantan.

His main concern at the moment was making sure there was lemang and ketupat for the crew as it would just not be Hari Raya without these favourites.

For maintenance worker Sulaiman Samsudin, 55, the platform has become a second home.

“I have celebrated Hari Raya 12 times here. It was hard initially to be so far away from my family in Perak,” said Sulaiman.

He said some of the younger crew members would lock themselves in their rooms because they were too sad.

“But this is life at the platform. Being one of the seniors here, I would talk to them and try to make them feel better,” he said, describing the crew as his ‘family.’

Mechanical worker Nazman Muhammad, 35, from Kelantan, shared a way to deal with home sickness.

“The important thing is not to be alone. You need to keep yourself occupied,” he said,

Nazman said he would also re-enact the first morning of Hari Raya once he got back home onshore, even if it was the 15th day.

“With the decorations still hanging and food served, my wife and I would treat the day as if it was the first day of Aidilfitri,” he said.

(Did I mention I was part of the Lawit Design team?)

Chopper Problems in Kerteh?

April 20, 2008

An unexpected night offshore (Thursday). Not that I’m complaining too hard, considering my colleague and I had been bounced off Tuesday’s flight, and only got on the chopper to Lawit-A at 3pm on the Wednesday. After a quick stop at Dulang-B for a refuel, we reached Lawit-A at 5pm. We were expecting to leave today at 3, but got bounced of that flight due to max pax. So, we now have additional time to carry out our duties, and maximize our client’s funds.

I understand that the chopper situation at Kerteh has worsened lately. I don’t have hard facts, but I have received the following impression from people on both sides of the heli check-in desk:

  • Veteran local pilots are disgruntled because they are earning less than newly minted pilots hired from Indonesia.
  • Pilots are disqualifying aircraft on minor matters. Possibly this might be a reaction to the above situation. This means there are less than planned aircraft available to shuffle grunts back and forth from the offshore assets, as more have been grounded for repairs due to the above disqualification.
  • There aren’t enough engineers to sign off on the repairs done on choppers. Which leads on to the next point:
  • Apparently there has been en mass resignation of the Kerteh maintenance crew. I assume this is because another transport company is willing to pay more for trained personnel than hire fresh faced staff and having to train them. The only other company I know that may want O&G experienced heli staff is Awan Inspirasi. The ‘pay more, instantly staff up’ model has been a norm in Malaysia’s oil and gas arena ever since the independent oil producers showed up.

I sympathise with the Kerteh MHS front desk personnel, who have to deal with all the po faced people waiting for seats, slumping all over the waiting room.

This transport crisis also affects production, as staff booked for travel are not doing it for the pleasure of offshore cuisine (though it’s a benefit), but to do work. Engineers need to be ready for these kinds of hiccups, and ensure that we can keep ourselves busy. Oh, and the Awana Kijal is always fully booked now, but that’s another blog.