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Historical Background of exploration in Pakistan

Historical Background of exploration in Pakistan

If we talk about first exploratory well which was drilled in the region of undivided sub-continent (now Pakistan) then facts highlighted that it was drilled in1866 by Punjab Oriental State, right after seven years of World’s 1st well drilled in USA to a depth of 65ft.
With the passage of time, discovery of oil in province of Balochistan was the main success where thirteen shallow wells produced 25,000 barrels of oil between 1885 and 1892. Here one fact should be made clear that during this early phase all the drilling activities were controlled by The Government of Indio-Pak.
Unfortunately, they were unable to find such a reserve which exhibit commercial storage until 1910. Later on Attock Oil Company (AOC) made a first commercial oil discovery (4.31 MMbo) in 1915, in Punjab province. This achievement leads to attract many exploration companies to utilize their investment in region of sub-continent. As consequences three oil fields were established consecutively in 1936, 1944 and 1946 by joint venture of Attock Oil company (AOC) and Burmah Oil Company (BOC).
After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the Government of Pakistan issued Regulation of Mines and Oilfields and Mineral Development Act 1948 and classified rules under this Act in 1949. The main objective of this Act was to provide regulatory authority to encourage and accelerate petroleum exploration and production activities in the country.
BOC and AOC transferred its exploration activities to local companies, by establishing Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Pakistan Oilfields Limited (POL) respectively.
After establishment of PPL & POL, a well drilled on the Sui structure (located in Balochistan Province), made the inaugural discovery of one of the largest reserves of natural gas and recoverable reserves were estimated to be over 10 trillion cubic feet (TCF) which is equivalent to about 1 billion barrels of oil. This discovery was a milestone towards the development & prosperity of petroleum industry in Pakistan which made numerous E&P companies attentive towards this part of globe.
In order to drill more exploratory wells in prospective areas, permits were issued to Standard Vacuum Oil Company (1954), Hunt International Oil Company (1955), Shell Oil Company (1956), Sun Oil Company (1957) and Tidewater (1958) respectively by the Government of Pakistan which led to further discoveries of natural gas reserves.
In spite of new gas discoveries during this time frame, the exploration activities towards the oil discoveries exhibit negative trend.
By keeping this trend in focus Government of Pakistan decided to establish the state oil exploration company and in 1961 a joint stock company under the name of Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) was established which expands moving scheme of prosperous profile with the small gas discovery at Sindh province in 1965, followed by discovery of oil reserve at Potwar region of Punjab in 1968.
Later on gas reserve at Sindh in 1970, Punjab in 1972, then Sindh in 1973 and gas/ condensate at Punjab in 1975 were discovered by the same company.
Meanwhile POL discovered oil at Punjab province in 1968 and American Oil Company (AMOCO) discovered a small gas accumulation at Balochistan province in 1975.
After the modification of petroleum regulations in 1976, British Petroleum a USA Company came to Pakistan and started its activities and has drilled 65 discovery wells in Pakistan.
This opened a new oil province and broke the tradition in the north region. After Sui (Balochistan), the discovery of oil in the Southern Basin was the second milestone in search for hydrocarbons in Pakistan and this area has attained the distinction of contributing 59% of the total oil production of the country.
Following journey of success OGDCL discovered a large gas storage in Eocene Carbonates of Middle Indus Basin in 1989 and fortunately in the same year, Eni made a gas discovery in Sandstone (Cretaceous) in south region lead to discover number of significant gas reserves in 1993 and then in 1998 by OMV of Austria followed by Mari Gas Company Ltd (MGCL) in 1999, in 2002 Petronas of Malaysia provide its services to reveal hydrocarbon bearing zones.
North Frontier Province of Pakistan (NWFP) deviates attention of industrial progress when MOL of Hungry in 2002 and as well as in 2005 made discovery of reserves which has reinforced the belief of many Geologist that this region can host large hydrocarbon reserves and recently nine blocks have been awarded in this province.
Offshore exploration which had started in 1961 remained limited to the drilling of only eleven exploratory wells due to lack of success and high drilling cost.
Current statistics reveals that only four blocks in the offshore region are held under license, two by Total, one by Shell and the fourth one is by British Gas.


Image: Courtesy naturalgasasia.com

One day as an oil rig worker.

One day as an oil rig worker.

There is a growing demand for oil rig workers in offshore oil platforms, as a new work on new reserves is booming. Living away from home for weeks, long shifts, extreme isolation, open ocean, stressful environment make it quite demanding job. However, oil workers tend to get attractive wages and benefits. Every applicant for an oil rig worker wonders how it is like to live in such environment. So what is life on an oil rig really like? What does a day in the life of an oil rig worker entail?

It is important to mention that conditions vary according to different posts. Drilling or construction employees work outdoors while for example geologists do their tasks in offices, inside oil rig platform. This is the reason that it is impossible to generalize what a day on the rig looks, but let’s look at the average working conditions and what life is generally like.

1. Accommodation

Accommodation can vary from one rig to another and from one company to another, but accommodation can be anything from single rooms with suite facilities to a cabin shared by shift workers. Nevertheless, living conditions on oil rigs have improved considerably and  nowadays many offshore installations meet hotel standards. While on board, you can spend your free time in a wide variety of amenities and amusements such as modern satellite TV, updates selection of videos, gym, sauna, video games, connection to Internet. This is not the norm, but many companies offer this kind of activities for oil workers to avoid stress and  ensure the quality of work.

2. Schedule

Schedules and shifts are another important subject. They can vary between companies and  positions. A very common types of schedule consists in 14 days on, followed by 21 days off or working for 1, 2 weeks or even a moth and leaving for the same period. Sometimes, depending of the service, you will have to work until the job is finished. Timetables are between 80-100 hours per week, typically work shifts tend to last 12 hours. They can begin at any time depending on the particular schedule on the rig. This means working for a long shift, followed by 12 hours of rest.

3. Salary

Salaries – like on land – are established depending on position, experience, education. Also, those who arrived for shorter period of time earn less than workers employed on a permanent positions. Of course, the salary is calculated only on working-days. The range of salaries is from 150 euros / day for up to 400 euros / day and more. It should be noted that the higher the risk associated with the job is, the higher the salaries are. Moreover, food and accommodation is fully paid for while you’re working, and any transport to the rig is also arranged.

4. Isolation

Needless to say that work on the rig is not for everyone. The job drives some people crazy, a lot of people have trouble with getting used to open ocean and sometimes claustrophobic conditions. You have to consider that you can’t go anywhere. Space is an issue on an offshore rig, which is basically a camp that is propped up on ramps in the sea, so life on the rig can be quite claustrophobic. Workers compare it to having a second family. The isolation, the intensity of working so many hours straight and the danger breed closeness uncommon in most jobs. There are movie nights and video game tournaments. There’s even a nurse who get their cholesterol and blood pressure tested.

In conclusion, life on an oil rig can get monotonous, but is mitigated by fairly long breaks that allow you to recover, attractive salaries and additional bonuses and benefits.

Sources: drillingrigs.blogspot.com, oilvoice.com, ap.org
Photo from: facebook.com/Offshore-Jobs

An Interview with Seweryn Kwasniewski, Drilling Optimization Engineer for Baker Hughes

An Interview with Seweryn Kwasniewski, Drilling Optimization Engineer for Baker Hughes

Barbara Pach
Edyta Stopyra

YoungPetro organised a meeting for AGH UST students with Mr. Seweryn Kwaśniewski. He agreed to tell us about his job, work experience and trips to constant places. Today we have a pleasure to present you this conversation.

YoungPetro: You have master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, how did you get an idea to pursue career in Oil and Gas business?

Seweryn Kwaśniewski: Everything’s started in a rather unusual way. When I was in my senior year, I got interested in offshore drilling. And then asked to myself why do not try myself on a drilling rig? At first, I had no idea about the industry. I did not even know any major companies in that field until one day my friend from a student organization/folk dance group/ensemble “Krakus” introduced me to a man from Geoservices and that’s how I got into the oil business. Later I joined Baker Hughes where I am currently working as a Drilling Optimization Engineer.

YP: Now you are working in an office, but earlier you were spending more time on the rig. Did you like working offshore? What was the most difficult for you working in field?

SK: Working offshore is completely different from an office job. I really miss working in field, mostly because of the people I left. Oilmen are like entirely other species. Do not get me wrong but not everyone is suitable for the job and at the sea. I met people who quit after just 1 week. Working offshore you have to be strong, persistent, brave at times, especially towards yourself. Living with the same people for 2 to 6 weeks in a small environment sometimes is tiring. The problem is that it is not a 9-5 job and you cannot go home to distance yourself from work. Everyone has her/his own flaws and habits which you need to accept or at least ignore. But what is the most difficult? Hmm… I think the uncertainty, it is really difficult to plan things when the job can come up anytime and even you were told you can go on vacation you have to go on a rig. I remember one time – we were waiting for the helicopter which was going to take us home but at the last moment it was cancelled… If you did not work offshore you cannot even imagine how it feels. For this reason, sometimes I find it very amusing when I see people frustrated at airports only because their plane was slightly delayed.

YP: Before working on the platform apparently you have to pass a special training and tests. Can you tell us something more about them? What are they and is there anything that can disqualify from working at rig?

SK: Before you go on offshore, detailed medical examination and appropriate HS&E training must be passed. They are conducted in certified centers all around the world and they usually last three days. An exception was the certification for Norwegian Shelf – it took about 5 days. They generally include: training in first aid; basic procedures on platforms; lessons in the pool; familiarization with the swimming techniques. In my opinion, the most interesting are exercises carried out in a helicopter mock-up, which can rotate 180 degrees (then a student is hanging upside down). A task is to escape when it is submerged. Once, while training in Baku (Azerbaijan), I witnessed quite uncomfortable situation: during this kind of maneuver, water got into student’s mouth – it was caused by a leaky bag (we use them for breathing). This of course resulted of his sheer panic. Therefore, it is vital to keep calm in stressful situations.

Basic training is just a start, each company conducts its own additional courses in HS&E. After passing successful the course, you will be awarded a certificate, which entitles you to work for the company or service provider. It may happen that you will have to take about two, three extra courses, before you go on  a rig. In addition, before boarding a helicopter, there is a training concerning safety rules (just as in the airliners).

YP: Working in the oil industry most often is connected with the constant trips to distant places. We know that you have already been to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, the Gulf of Mexico. We are curious what memorable you experienced during your visits. Did you have any adventures, especially striking?

SK: Each country has its own specific characteristics and work culture. For example, Kazakhstan: I’ll never forget walking from Europe to Asia and back. An unpleasant situation that happened to me and my colleague of course concerned money. The staff house was visited by two Kazakhs – they attempted to extort money for electricity bill from us, they threatened to cut it off despite the fact, that the bill had already been settled. Finally it turned out that it was the fault of the owner, who had been in arrears with payments for a long time. Today we laugh about it, but then the situation seemed to be quite dangerous.

Tunisia: the local people like to take an advantage of the fact, that you are not a native – a word of advice for those, who are going to visit this country: use only the yellow cabs and demand turning taximeters on. Otherwise, you can pay several times more than in reality. As the Gulf of Mexico: perhaps the strangest situation I had to deal with was a coach ride through Louisiana, from one heliport to another (because of some problems with flights).

Turkmenistan is another story. I honestly do not know if I would decide to work there again. A lot of things were unacceptable. We were transported to the platform on old boats. To my misfortune, it happened at night and during not the best weather. I was also told to jump from the boat to an old rusty drilling rig. Actually, it is not an easy place for working. The only thing I regret from the trip to this country is that I did not had the opportunity to see so-called “The Door to Hell” but who knows, maybe someday.

During my first visit to Baku, what surprised me were small oil pumping stations in private gardens.

YP: It was a pleasure to speak with you. Thank you very much!

Photos from: www.otcnet.org, www.bakerhughes.com