Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A few memorable moments while I was on Employment

I joined my erstwhile Company as a ‘Trainee Drilling Engineer’ on May 11th, 1973 following my unsuccessfully attempting to do Business together with a few of my colleagues after obtaining my degree in Mechanical Engineering. My working style was always different than others, being never followed the ‘Standing Order’ that governed my job to complete all tasks much before time, which none questioned even though it was a serious deviation from the laid down rule of the Company unlike others who were served with red or warning letters instantly if attempted to do so partly due to my intense involvement on the Subject and party due to my character I was carrying together thinking all the time for making profit to the Company with pure Love infused. Accordingly all higher officers of the Company including that of the CMD often visit my work places just to enjoy themselves how I approached myself in doing a particular task assigned to me separately. Accordingly Finance Dept was specifically ordered by the higher authorities of the Company not to decline any of my requests but respect it with due urgency and consideration even to allow me to draw cash from the Cash Counter to deliver at my residence even if the request was conveyed over phone unlike the entire employees that were in the payroll of the Company. Unless I present myself to offer my signature; none question my withdrawals to legitimatize it to keep the record in book up-to-date. Sometimes I signed the ‘Cheque’ as late as one month after withdrawals which facility offered to none others. The reason of extending this additional gesture by the Company was never understood by me and is still remaining as a puzzle to me till date. Hence my work experiences were beyond normal, a few of which are elaborated hereunder.

In a particular high caliber producing well, the production from the well suddenly failed, due to parting of the ‘production casing’ string unable to withstand the wear and tear by it over time in a sharp deviated well, forcing the Company to undertake a considerable amount of revenue loss and accordingly the well was taken up in a most priory basis to repair the damage at the earliest. When the Operation Department failed to repair it even after struggling for a long period of time incurring enough of cash outflow, management took a decision to abandon the effort and to drill another well nearby to penetrate the same reserve to compensate the loss, so encountered. However in the meeting hold for the purpose, I claimed that I would repair it within the next 10 days time if a chance is granted to me which was instantly agreed to; even though I was not connected with Subject but became aware of it during discussions.

When I took an impression of the damaged ‘casing top’ where it was sheared off, I fund that it was so irregular that it can never an entry to patched up, the hence the failure of attempts earlier and accordingly I decided to repeat the said operation once again which earlier required round the clock work for 3 continuous days to complete the task. However, when I repeated the operation with most accurate feed given, it hardly took me 30 minutes time to complete job which prompted the Department to challenge my work and served me with a warning letter for neglect and for subjecting the Department for loss of face in the front of the management. No sooner the letter was issued, I was informed from the well that the job done was most excellent and so perfect that it shall require no extra effort to patch-up the parted string which gave me enough of hope to retrieve the situation on behalf of the Department for rightfully standing to the challenge.

The next day, when we attempted to patch up the casing with a casing patch, our entire attempts failed to produce any tangible result in-spite of repeated attempts partly due to the inability of the Casing Patch to negotiate the sharp bend to enter into Casing String to grip it firmly in the hole and partly due to bottom lost Casing String inclined very firmly towards the wall of the hole due to the same cause, preventing an easy entry. Accordingly with some thought applied, I acted exactly opposite than what was documented in the Manual issued by the Manufacturer to do the casing patch and instantly completed the well to start the production from the well once again. The said reverse procedure was later published by ‘Society of Petroleum Engineers’ and is now taught in a few premier training Institutes from all across the Globe.

The next incident was happened in and around the same area when we attempted to collect core samples to study the structure of rock formation at a depth of 3000 meters for better understanding it to ensure use of more accurate ‘enhance recovery Techniques’ for extracting crude oil from the entire field. It is however a standing order in oil field practices to enlarge the hole following each attempt of taking core to avoid sticking of costly Drill String through differential sticking during the time of taking the second Core which however often consume unfruitful round trips costing heavily to the Operator. In order to save the said additional cost to the Company, I left the job of coring to the Drilling Engineers escaping the round trip after doing the first successful such operation earlier in the same area. However, when it was well past mid night I got a call from the Drilling Engineer; in-charge of the night shift that the Drill String got struck during the time of breaking the core when the string was remaining stationery just prior to pulling out the string. When I received the message I was 25 KM away from the Site and hence shall require me at-least half an hour time to cover the distance and to make myself available at the Site to see the string released from the stuck position. Being considered the loss of half an hour time very crucial for recovering the stuck String by which time it might cause the entire weight of the circulating fluid to fall onto the String to make it impossible to recover the stuck String but shall force us to undertake a painful fishing operation without any surety of recovering safely any or all of the costly down hole equipment. With no option available in hand, I suggested to the concerned Drilling Engineer, to hold the Telephone nearer to the Engines (Power Pack) in a way such that I could hear the sound of the Engines to determine how much load the Power Pack was taking while the Drilling Engineer was working on the stuck string to ensure that accurate direction is passed on to him not to cross the breaking point (flush point) of the Drill String while highest torque possible was applied onto it to release the stuck string. Following working on it as such for sometime the Drill String suddenly got released from the stuck position without causing damage to none. That was my first doing of a successful job without being present in the scene but by hearing the noise of the Engines of the Power Pack of 4, 389 HP Caterpillar Engines through a remote command. The 2nd similar incident happened when I allowed all executives posted at the field which was @350 KM away from the base to take leave for attending the Annual Club function at the base leaving a lone executive of geology discipline to overlook the activities of the well when Production Operation was going-on with a hired Rig engaged. Unfortunately during a roundtrip operation, the string suddenly dropped into the hole subjecting the well to a possible Blow out when I had conveyed step by step instructions over ‘Radio’ to each one separately to recover the fish following 2 Hrs of struggle even though the executive in-charge was a non drilling personnel.

In a 4th incident, when the Company was drilling a deep well near the first ‘Oil field’ in the world, there was a sudden collapse of a very large shale section due to invasion of fresh water into it, penetrating the hole wall which almost caused the well to go lost. During the time, I was asked by the Company to make an oversea trip to attend a course in Aberdeen, UK but on seeing the situation in hand and for meeting the call for my duty that had forced upon me, I ignored the advice of the Company to immediately proceed to base after handing over the charge to another colleague to make preparation for the visit which was fully arranged otherwise.

On visiting the rig after leaving the camp nearby, I could somehow able to free the string from the stuck position following a few hours of struggle but unable to move the string either upward or downwards beyond the particular length i.e. about 9 meters as the collapse of the entire shale section was so violent that it required very high continuous torque to keep the string under rotation and keeping it free. The continuous process of torque-up and releasing it caused the breaking system of the Rig to caught fire which caused the entire workmen to flee the Derrick Floor fearing a possible explosion being some amount of gas was also released from the hole together with the cuttings surfaced as carried by the circulating system. Only just with a few employees in the Derrick Floor, I fought all odds head-on; not to allow the fire to spread beyond a point to engulf us while keeping the string free ignoring the fire so caused to save the well from a total collapse or abandoning it anyway. Simultaneously I kept all fire pumps on for spraying water continuously to keep the fire under control. Accordingly I had to be in the Derrick Floor for 72 Hrs sleepless as well as foodless and ultimately saved the well and accordingly got delayed to join my training abroad by a few days.

The most painful task I undertook was when I travelled around 75 K.M. standing in the backside of Truck as front seats were full of Passengers mostly with ladies which was carrying stone from a query near ‘Ramgarh’ to ‘Jaisalmer’ under direct sunlight of above 47 degree celcus; when the air conditioned vehicle I was travelling to the field along with 3 other junior Executives broke down unfortunately on the way after covering halfway to ‘Jaisalmer. The decision to travel together was taken just to cut down the cost of a second vehicle even though entitled to hire to travel alone. I took a spot decision to visit the Site somehow at the earliest for attending to an emergency situation which required my presence as the contractor of the Rig was not cooperating with my decision sent from our base office at Jodhpur. With only the rare wheel dislodged but Engine intact to keep the air conditioner running to beat the heat, all 3 Executives waited within the Car for the replacement vehicle to come to ferry them separately to their destination. After reaching mid-way from base to the Site i.e. Jaisalmer where the Company was maintaining a secondary office in the next 2 Hours time, I took another vehicle to reach the worksite at the shortest possible time to kill the problem aroused in our favor. On giving an undertaking that any damage to equipment of the ‘Rig Contactor’ shall be borne by the operator, I ensured that appropriate feed was given to the Drill String, often momentarily crossing the flash points of various equipment under use while working on the String to make it free soon but instantly served the Contractor a de-hire notice for not obeying the order when instruction was passed over to them from the base office.

This was how I see my assigned jobs, all of which were done most successfully. When I was at work, I often forget everything other than seeing, engaging and praying with the work assigned to me only unmindful of the surroundings including that of ignoring to see whether or not I was receiving my monthly salary duly to always struggle ourselves financially to survive which barred me from doing any investment that worth the name anywhere but it never dented my spirits to deliver the best to the Company.


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