My father works at an oil company located in Abu Dhabi the capital of United Arab Emirates. He usually works on site at the Oil Rig; oil rig is a large structure with facilities to drill wells, to extract and process oil and natural gas. Sometimes when it's fixed to the ocean, it floats as an artificial island. The other possible location for an oil rig is in the midst of the wild desert. My father's work one that takes place in the wilderness and sometimes when am lucky he would take me with him to see what goes on.
Uncle Jawhar is a Pakistani national who lived most of his life in Abu Dhabi and serves as my dad's driver. It’s not comfortable driving through the sand hills and into the thick dust storms, but this was part of his job, and he was good at it. There is also special vehicles that can withstand the desert roads like the Toyota Land Cruiser, Mitsubishi L200 pickup, which is the most commonly used in the Gulf region in general or any 4×4 tinted vehicle.
What I love the most about the trip is Uncle Jawher’s adventurous stories in Pakistan. His accent is the best part as it's hilarious.
As we leave the city towers, smooth concrete roads, traffic lights, beeps, shouts, and the etching tire marks stretching across lanes, young racers screech around the corners, the sun becomes closer and closer, its rays would cover my face, and its heat stings my bear arms through the tinted car window.
Other than the unbearable dry heat, total silence and vast emptiness are masters of this place. If the amount of sand in this location were rock, it would cover the whole universe. My eyes could stretch as far as the human mind can see, and in that infinite space, I couldn’t see a drop of water. Only a large tower stood in the middle releasing an enormous amount of smoke.
We approached the Oil rig tower were our fabricated rooms are located, and we exited the vehicle. The sand was rough like glass paper, and it stung my feet like walking on hot coals even while wearing the dirty brown Caterpillar steel boats. I couldn’t walk anymore I had to run to the doorstep of the room to ease the pain. The door is made of fiberglass, which is a suitable material to withstand the extreme desert heat. Inside the chamber was a crucial invention in our industrialized world. The portable air conditioner which could be easily moved from one place to another hence the name was everyone’s best friend in this harsh climate. The only other stuff I found were a bed with thin silk cover sheets, refrigerator, a closet, and a bathroom.
I unpacked my stuff, and inside the closet, I found my safety outfit with a label that says ‘Visitor.' I was very excited to learn about the different procedures that are done on an Oil Rig. Like any healthy child I my dad was my role model, and all I wanted to become was like him. Sitting for lunch waiting for my mom's Biryani, a traditional Indian meal that consists of chicken and rice with different individual peppers served with yogurt, to be ready he would start telling me and brother Mustafa stories about funny, different things that occur on the work site. Usually, Mustafa would have similar stories as well, as he works on site at a construction company called CCC.
Faces melting, covered with sweat, and bodies wilted barely able to move. They wore a blue overall with their names patched on their chest, and a helmet to cover their head from the sun and to protect them from any accidents. Each helmet has a different color and labels ‘Technician,' ‘Engineer,' ‘Labor,' ‘Time-taker,' and ‘Consultant.' The boats they wore weren’t enough to keep them from burning their legs, but they had them covered with wet towels. These were some of the mandatory safety procedures that must be taken on board the Oil rig. The workers that work outside cover their face with sunglasses and a Hijab cloth wrapped around their faces. They would take small shifts so the sun wouldn’t hit them and cause dizziness or headaches.
I was interested in how the Oil rig works so I Abdul to approach Abdul, one of the workers who appeared to be not all that occupied. I could tell from the label on his helmet, he was an Engineer. I needed to take in more about the Oil rig and Abdul is by all accounts the right individual to show me. Abdul discloses to me he has been a field engineer for two different organizations throughout the past four years. That implies he spends most of his time in the workshop, however every now and again go to the rig to oversee a project for half a month.
He discloses to me that most drilling is done on little, old land rigs in genuinely entrenched fields doing monotonous treat cutter wells. The vast majority who work in the Abu Dhabi oilfield are individuals with a secondary school education. As per Abdul most school graduates are excessively snobby about oil and difficult work to get by in that sort of occupation. There are a huge amount of savvy individuals on drilling rigs who simply didn't take the academic course for unknown reasons. Obviously, there are additionally a huge amount of unmindful, supremacist, sexist good for nothings! However, that is the way of the brute. In any case there are many people like him in the oilfield, however they are unquestionably in the minority.
When you first arrive on the Oil rig there is a compulsory two hour briefing on safety. You fill out paper work, watch a video, and tune in to a speech about rig-particular guidelines like what to do with dirty clothing. At that point you're allowed to meet with colleagues, get a snack, get the opportunity to work, or find your bed.
Most onshore rigs can accommodate around 180 individuals at any given moment. A large portion of the general population on board are employees of the rig contractor. A few of the general population on the rig about 10 are employees of the oil organization whose role is to direct, coordinate operations, and ensure everything is done securely and in consistence with the law. There are likewise a significant number providing food/cleaning services, and in addition several third party contractors that go back and forth to do particular errands.
In Abdul's current position, he is one of the oil company delegates. He shows up when a specific phase of the well development process requires sub-sea knowledge. The company delegates strive to be benevolent and create positive relationships with everybody on the rig.
Nowadays, Abdul is in a advisory role for exceptionally complex equipment. Abdul strolls around and takes a gander at stuff to ensure it's being operated effectively. He helps with creating and evaluating systems. He proposes what to do when things break. He develops a great deal of reports. He risks appraisals and search for conceivable failure modes. It's normally relaxed, but you ought to realize that operating an oil rig costs more than a million dollars each day, he says. All things considered, tragically for Abdul, the subsea equipment is the thing that breaks regularly and when the rig goes on downtime there is a gigantic measure of pressure to carry out his occupation right. When something turns out badly, they work all day and all night. It's quite nerve-wracking when you're new, each moment of delay actually costs $700, but before long, you adapt to the pressure. He adores it now. The high stakes condition and fulfillment of saving high amount of dollars is very addictive.
I was fascinated by the information about oil rigs that Abdul was so kind to tell me. He further tells me about the horrors and fears of working on the oil rig. Many parts of the rig are frightening to individuals who have problems with heights, he says. It's the detachable walkways that bug many people, falling over the edge during the night means unavoidable death. However individuals get used to heights before long or they quit working.
After nearly two hours of chatting with Abdul, I noticed it was now lunch break, and everyone seemed excited. Lunch breaks usually take one hour and after that everyone returns back to their duties. We moved on with Abdul and found a spot, where we unpacked our lunches and proceeded to chat. Two of his colleagues, Rahul and Rizack decide to join us. I listened to their conversation while barely contributing. From their conversation I learn that on the off chance that a rig site is close to a town, companies ordinarily put their employees up in hotels. At the point when the rig is in a remote area, a camp is provided. Employees travel to the oil rig from the camp ground in a group truck. For the most part, employees work for fourteen days in a row with one to three weeks off. Due to the long periods of time on board an oil rig, organizations must give their workers enough time to rest up.
Both Rahul and Rizack are Lease-hands, which is the lowest level position. Their obligations include tidying up the rig office, cleaning the debris, taking mud samples, dealing with drill pipes, driving the truck, and helping other workers. They're for the most part promoted from motor hand. Their role incorporates helping the driller, handling drill pipes out of lifts, maintaining drill fluid and orienting new workers.
The wind was picking up. Above the men, employees are holding on tight to the platform. Storms are a major ordeal for oil rigs. For instance, Katrina devastated thirty oil rigs and made nine refineries shut down. It made the USA deliver just twelve percent of its ordinary oil generation. I observed Rahul helping Rizack and the other lease-hands move a huge pipe through the rig. He climbs the derrick framework to help direct the pipe into the derrick's structure. The derrick is the gadget that lifts the drilling string that contains the equipment, which turns the drill bit.
Rahul and Rizack proceed to stroll over to the mud pumps to listen for any unusual sounds. Mud pumps are utilized to cool and grease up the drilling bit. Mud is additionally used to plaster the dividers of the hole to counteract breakdown. Rahul takes a caffeinated drink and watches the clouds approach. It's astonishing being on the rig. While the surrounding is totally quiet, the oil rig is overflowing with life. Loud noises, gas smells, , the sound of men shouting at each other, and the sound the pump makes the oil rig go up against an urban feel. Rahul calls it "Pipe City."
It is his fifth year working on a rig. He began as roustabout and advanced up the levels. His first day was a tragedy, he tells me. A hurricane was coming in and they needed to secure the oil rig before they evacuated. However, he's now gotten used to the insane hours and tough work.
I returned to Abdul's location to inquire the procedure and what it takes to build an oil rig. He told me that once the site has been chosen, researchers overview the zone to decide its limits, and carry out environmental effect research if fundamental. The oil organization may require lease understandings, titles and right-of path accesses before drilling the land.
After the jurisdiction issues are handled, the crew begins setting up the land. Access roads must be built not forgetting the land must be leveled and cleared. Since water is utilized as a part of drilling, there must be a water source close-by. In the event that there is no natural source, the crew drills a water well. The crew burrows a reserve pit, which is utilized to discard rock cuttings and drilling mud amid the drilling procedure, and lines it with plastic to secure the earth. In the event that the site is a biologically touchy range, for example, a bog or wild, then the cuttings and mud must be discarded offsite – trucked away rather than set in a pit.
Once the land has been readied, the crew burrows a few openings to clear a path for the rig and the fundamental gap. A rectangular pit called a cellar is burrowed around the area of the real drilling opening. The cellar gives a work space around the gap for the laborers and drilling frill. The crew then starts drilling the primary opening, regularly with a little drill truck as opposed to the principle rig. The initial segment of the gap is bigger and shallower than the primary segment, and is fixed with a substantial distance across conductor pipe. The crew burrows extra gaps off to the side to briefly store gear – when these gaps are done, the rig hardware can be gotten and set up.
Contingent on the remoteness of the drill site and its get to, it might be important to acquire hardware by truck, helicopter or scow. A few rigs are based on boats or freight ships for work on inland water where there is no establishment to bolster a rig (as in swamps or lakes).
I noticed Rahul resting and approached him for more information regarding his first days as a worker on an oil rig. He had informed me earlier that he has worked for more than five years in the oil rig. He tells me he remembers his first days like it was yesterday. He starts off by saying that No oil man, from the president on down, ever forgets his first day and it is their one normal bond—everybody was a worm once. It should be noticed that worm is a genuine employment title for an indispensable position on a crew. It could take care of business with numerous years of experience, substance to spend his vocation in worm's corner. He could be a downgraded derrick-hand, a driller, or instrument pusher, gone wrong.
Weevil, in any case, is a more exact title for another person—a greenhorn. Preparing is the scourge of any profession and it's the same in the oil fix. Be that as it may, most occupations had preparing programs, exchange schools, or internships, to set you up for your new vocation. On drilling rigs there was no school to show you to be a roughneck. Weevils were tossed in head first—sanctified through water in salt saline solution and pipe dope—taught on the fly while making a hole. They didn't shut down the operation to clarify details.
The chain-hand is the man saddled with most of the schooling, and he knows great that the new person will likely not be back tomorrow. Introduction was kept to a base until the prospect shows signs that he has the sand to make a hand. On the off chance that a weevil lasts sufficiently long to gather his first paycheck, the odds increase significantly that he'll make a roughneck.
A weevil gets acquainted with the make up tongs first—slabs of iron the size of a half-developed crocodile, basically pipe wrenches controlled by the driller—for fixing or breaking out pipe. At that point on to the rest of his essential tools: 170 pound drill pipe slips, neckline slips, wedding rings, neckline subs, elevators, sledge hammers, 48s, 24s, grease guns, scrub brushes, and a worm bar. He is told the basics: Stand here. Try not to stand there. This will murder you. That will damage you. Push on this. Pull on that. Push harder! Pull harder! Make them nibble!
The physical demand is the first obstacle to handle. A drilling day will have most person's lunch: thinking about the tongs, wrestling with the kelly, and jerking the slips. At that point down to the ground to strap drill pipe, append the winch's tail chain to a joint of pipe, indicate the sky and shout suck on it. At that point keep running up the steps to beat the pipe to the floor as it's being hoisted up the V-entryway, tail it to the mouse hole, and stab it while keeping it clear of the kelly and rotary table. Expel the chain from the pipe after it's brought down into the mouse hole, then give the driller the pipe's length. All piece of making an association as another thirty feet is exhausted. In case you're drilling into salt, you may make at least eight in 60 minutes. After the association you're snared with getting samples from the shale shaker, each five or ten feet, contingent upon the development you're drilling into. At that point convey the sample to the mud logger's trailer across the area, scrubbing and painting the rig, greasing fittings, conveying mud for the derrick-man, getting drill bits, pipe dope, and tools. A drilling day is easy cash for an accomplished roughneck.
The genuine test for a weevil is tripping channel—a task that can't be performed sufficiently fast. Crews are judged by their excursion times and rivalry is savage. You may spend hours or a whole shift stationed in worm's corner without any breaks. Going in the red: you set the slips as a stand of pipe is dove into the earth, unlatch the elevators, holding them steady as the driller applies the throttle, sending them up to the derrick-hand, hook your tongs onto the pipe in the rotary table so the chain-hand can wrap the spinning chain around the container, tail a stand of pipe as the derrick-hand loads it on the fly, keeping your feet from underneath the pipe—a snag will remove your toes or foot. At that point stab the pin into the container, keeping your head down as the chain-hand throws five wraps while lifting your tongs up to the top device joint, make them chomp from the backside as the driller torques the pipe tight, unlatch said tongs, reach down and jolt the slips with the chain-hand… At that point start all over as the driller raises the crow bar, sending the stand down towards China. In case you're sufficiently fortunate to get a 8,000 foot roundhouse, you'll be rehashing this technique 250 times in six hours…or less. In case you're fishing, 400 reps is very likely; you won't have to go to the gym center after work to get your cardio. What's more, those drill pipe slips…they're notorious for putting on weight following 60 minutes. You would do well to put out as hard as your new amigo the chain-hand, or you won't be friends for long.
Life changes significantly for the person who decides to step foot to work in this industry. Prior life on an oil rig was arduous and troublesome however there has been a significant change and change in the living conditions. One needs to get furnished to start take a shot at the rig and consequently safety glasses, hard hats, coveralls and steel-toed boots are issued on entry. Consistent safety trainings are given before and amid business. The work designated to a rig specialist usually falls on a 8-12 hour shift with breaks for sustenance in the morning, twelve and night. One may need to do night shifts since this industry operates 24 hours a day and 7 days seven days. However, a two week deal with the rig will win the laborer an occasion of almost three weeks. Rahul finished up his duties and headed to the rooms.
I could see some clouds approaching from a distance there was hope for some rain or at least cover the sun for a while. The people working on the rig were happy and cheerful, pointing at the clouds. The clouds were black and seemed to be filled with rain. Rain, it fell upon the desert lands, ground that had not seen a wisp of water for longer than it could recall. It poured down; heavily ramming drops onto the thirsting sands. They were never enough to puddle up though. No, it would be some time before that; the sands were to take their time quenching their decade-long ache.
On the surface, the water passed through the small breaks between the particles, slowly making its way deeper. The would-have-been fast pace only slowed down by the tugs and pulls off the soil. The ground is strange when it comes to water; the rain is never allowed completely through. Every grain had its own small packs; little rivers and oceans engraved onto the surface of a single grain. It was not until this article evicted the void that it allowed water to go through; a toll of sorts. Each of the sands did so relentlessly till the entire top layer was completely saturated.
And so, they were free. The water sped through, no soil to drag it down. One, five, ten inches down, something was pulling it in; lower, faster. The stream flowed deeper, but something was coming, it had sensed it. The force was stronger and more prevalent. It would just crash through, just as it had done many times before; rock, stone and metal, all had fallen when water was in numbers. It could not help worry though; it was slowing down despite the dragging. What was it? Friction, on its sides, one drop after the other saw its fellow raked in before falling to the same fate.
Then it struck it; the soil was thicker and drier here. But it was a desert, and water was Lord of the flow in this vat of sand. Nothing was too slow it, not for meters more at least. There were a few exceptions to the rule though. The only things thirstier than the desert soil were the desert plants. There wasn’t any time to think, the dryness had shattered the front line and what was left was taken, hostage. They fell upon the brown, rough textured root and that was the end of it.
The palm tree shrugged with the wind; its roots tickled. The rain was not something it saw often, and so it had learned to dig. It borrowed down into the ground looking for moisture in the lower layers. Raiding the water rich soils below as it took what it could to keep it alive. It was proud of its roots; they were long, thick and many. They spread meters down and many across, a network of tunnels pirating the waters in. It would continue to do so for as long as it lived. Where the water went, everything followed; that was the rule of the desert.
The tips of the roots were thin and sharp as they were there to push the soil apart, squeezing the rest through. When the puncture was dark enough, the heart grew longer; the old length thickened and the new one took on the borrower roll. As for the in-betweens, the thick roots were, to an extent, fuzzed. There were tinier roots, thin and flexible that reached out to where the big source could not. They dragged in the water from the sandy soil around them, and though they were little, they were many. But even among them, the hierarchy existed, the farther they got from the primary root the thinner they became; just as arteries and veins thinned out to capillaries. The ground was a body, and the tree was a parasite embedding its veins and drawing out the blood, or water in this case.
The tree did not remember how it had come to learn to do this. It was natural for it; just there. But now is when it paid off most, the water came in from everywhere. Every inch of wood now moist under the ground. This would not happen for a long while, and so the roots continued to store all that it could.
The clouds were drifting away; I could see them move as they were only a small bunch and the sky was clearing up. No one wanted to see them leave. It was like a breath of freedom in a prison of heat, blessing from the heavens. The workers were all gathered outside staring at the heavens, their smiles so wide I could see their teeth from a mile away, eyes glittery, and arms stretched to the skies with their hands wide open as if they were praying. Uncle Jawhar wiped the water droplets from his face, but slowly as he enjoyed the feeling.
I stared at the dark brown desert sand once again and imagined how this natural world came about. At that instance, I felt like the world is a beautiful place, and those little things bring the utmost joy to a person's heart.