Tag Archives: FPSO

Offshore – FPSO – Luanda

I managed to get scheduled for a trip to the BP Greater Plutonio FPSO (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading) vessel just offshore from Luanda. At this stage I unfortunately don’t have any pics, as I wasn’t sure what the procedure for pics was, and I know they are pretty tight about it, but I have asked the Telecoms guy there to send me a few, so hopefully I’ll be able to update this a bit later with some then.

2008-06 01 - FPSO CGI

A CGI picture of the FPSO – Looks small? It is 310m long, and 12 stories high!

Okay, I can’t really say much about the vessel itself, the layout, or operation, or any of that – NDA stuff, but what I can say is it is pretty amazing! (I have included several links at the bottom of the blog for those interested in knowing more). It is 310 Metres long, and 12 stories high. It has a lift inside that services 7 floors. It can accommodate approx 140 people. The accommodation section is the big white building at the rear, and this is split from the “plant” area by a fire break/safety “air area” – the gap just in front of the accommodation block. We arrived by chopper, and what an experience.

So the flight was from the Sonair charter “terminal” at the airport and was scheduled for around 14h. We checked in at 12h30 and everything went fine. I only had my laptop bag, with my laptop, and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) – you are required to take as much of your own PPE with you as they can’t provide everything for everyone –  overalls, gloves and goggles in my bag, along with 3 shirts, 3 boxers and 3 socks inside it. My boots and helmet were separate in a plastic packet. Well, that got turfed. You are not allowed to take any plastic on board, so they gave me a mail bag, with Explorer written on it (BP use a drill rig called GSF Explorer in another area further out to sea), that I put my helmet and boots in. We then waited for the flight to be ready.

After the bus ride through the airport tarmacs, we arrived at a Sikorsky S-76C+ helicopter that was to be our ride.

2008-06 02 Sikorsky Chopper

A picture of a Sikorsky S-76C+ chopper. Similar to the SonAir ones.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_S-76)

This was pretty much my first time in a chopper, though I do think I have been in one  before, in fact, yes, I have been in a chopper before, but this was great. It actually taxis down onto the runway,and you pretty much expect it to travel down the runway on the wheels before taking off, but whilst you are in place, it just lifts up straight up, leans forward and flies off. Pretty strange feeling. The noise as the engines power up for the lift is pretty nerve wracking, and the whole heli shakes quite a bit. Next thing you are airborne and flying out past the Ilha and soon the coast is behind you.

The one thing they teach you in the HUET course, or advise you against, is sleeping in the chopper, yet within 5 minutes virtually everyone on board is asleep. This is due to the very monotonous and soothing vibrations that he flight produces. As it was my first offshore flight I remained awake the entire time. Though I don’t know if I’ll be doing that again on the rest of the flights. Soon we were above a cloud base that had appeared offshore, and about 30 mins later we descended through this to see the ocean once again. As we cleared the cloud base, everything around us was pure white, and you couldn’t see anything. I was watching the guy opposite me, and it was obviously his first flight as I could see the entire white of his eyes. He was nervous as hell. However, once we cleared the clouds, he was cool.

We soon arrived at our destination, and the pilot informs you of this before you arrive. This according to statistics is the highest risk time for accidents – Landings. I once again checked my exit strategy, luckily being right next to the door you kinda have THE exit strategy. 🙂 The vessel looks small at first, but the closer you get to it the larger it gets, until you soon realise that this thing is friggin massive! The flame was burning a bright orange colour from the top of gas flare, the long tower at the front of the vessel, and that was an incredible site to see it so close.  There was virtually no smoke coming from the vessel at all, and it was just gigantic when you finally arrived. The landing was great and we waited for the signal from the HLO’s (Helicopter Landing Officers), before removing our earphones, unbuckling and exiting, just ducking as you reach the rim of the rotor reach. Once inside we removed our foam inner ear plugs, and started to take in our surroundings. I noticed my mailbag being carted off to the admin section, and quickly retrieved it.

We were met by Steve our Telecoms man on board, and first thing had to attend a Safety briefing. After that we were shown to our cabins, and given a tour of the vessel in full PPE, as you are required to wear it every time you are outside. The vessel’s structure is quite amazing, and what is even more amazing to me is that there are people out there who thought this up! How to build something like this and how to put it together! That blows my mind more than anything else. This module to that module to there and there, and then eventually to the tanker waiting for the oil. So, as you can all read, this puppy can produce up to 200 000 barrels of oil A DAY, with storage capacity for 1.7 million barrels, and exports of 1 million barrels per cargo, every 5 days. Now you have to admit that that is seriously impressive. You do  the math,using an approximate oil price of $130 per barrel. Ouch!! 😮

On our tour around, I got to put my hands on the oil pipeline that comes in from the sea, and the most interesting thing is . . . it is warm. Apparently the oil comes in at around 50-60 degrees centigrade. Now, it is not something that I had ever thought about, the temperature of oil, but I was surprised to find that it is warm. We were also shown the sun deck, the most important part of the vessel, and the only part you can go without PPE gear. I also happened to see a pod of dolphins frolicking in the sea quite close by. The vis out here is awesome . . . and that’s not due to it being cold! 🙂

I fixed the issue we were sent out for, and also had a really good site visit of what is onboard, and what is fully expected of us in a support role.

The vessel is stationary – fixed in place, yet at times I could definitely feel it move. Not a lot, but ever so slightly. Steve reckons I am mad, but I tell, I could feel it moving. Whether it was rolling or just rising in the swell, not a lot of that either, I couldn’t tell. But, it definitely moves.

I got a wee bit of time in on the sundeck the one day. Half an hour in the sun before lunch, and I now know why a lot of the guys have such dark tans, for blokes that spend their entire time indoors or in PPE kit. They don’t! There were quite a few chaps outside on the sun deck, and it is like a magnet I am told – sun. Especially since it is overcast quite a bit apparently.

The accommodation was okay, apart from the fact that I think a tank had slept in my bed before, as the mattress was squashed flat on the one side! Other than that is was okay, and each cabin has it’s own bathroom with a shower with great pressure in it, which makes a change from the Luanda Res! Our pressure is crap! The food was decent too, as ship food goes I guess, though I still must say the FSV Bourbon Oceanteam 101 had the best food I have yet had offshore.

There is a gym onboard, I never got to use it as I wasn’t feeling great, and a little cinema too. The one lounge also has table tennis. 3 or 4 TV rooms litter the vessel, with each cabin also having it’s own TV. And overnight/same day laundry.

Outside the heliport entrace door is a big sign bolted onto the side of the wall: HYUNDAI. They apparently built this vessel. Ummm, okay, that is a change from the crappy cars we get back home!! 🙂

The one thing I must say, is that it appears to be very well organised and everything is in it’s place. Very “Prim and Proper”, in typical Brit style.

Thursday I was contacted by the offshore network manager and told that we needed to send someone to the GSF Explorer – an offshore rig, as they required someone for an installation/support issue there too. I offered myself as it was Francisco’s 30th Birthday on Sunday, and his wife had plans for him already. Friday morning I suddenly find out all hell has broken loose as there was now a chopper coming out to get me specifically for the trip to GSF and it has caused absolute chaos as it hasn’t been properly approved, or the correct channels haven’t been used. Classic! Eventually that was straightened out and I was scheduled to head out Saturday morning via chopper to Kwanza base in Soyo, up North on the Congo border to refuel and then fly from there to the GSF. Cool,  I haven’t been there yet. 🙂

I arrived in the departure “lounge” at 08h Saturday morning, watched the safety video – another one again – and pull out my laptop to do a bit of last minute work. A while later, I realise it is past 09h. Hold on, my flight is supposed to be at 09h. I check with the guy to be told that everything has changed. I am now going to be flying back to Luanda with the Sedco Express guys (a rig close by) and then heading by fixed wing to Soyo on a plane, and then to the GSF by chopper from there. Cool, even more travelling, and experiences. Throw it at me. I reckon this travelling is costing them a small fortune, like my entire yearly salary (haha), but that is the nature of the beast I guess. 🙂

The flight eventually arrived around 11h or so, and I was gone. Grabbing my bag on exit, I once gain noticed EXPLORER on the side of the mail bag . . . Coincidence? I think not! Once again a quick look at the incredible structure before it slips out of view, and we ascend to the heavens again.

Interested in the BP FPSO – Greater Plutonio? Read more:

Production Begins at Greater Plutonio

Plutonio – Transportation and trade

Click.

Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

Loving Life.

Friday = BRAAI – Luanda – Day 6!!

So today I worked from home as I had a meeting with Tonie and Barrie and it just made sense to stay here and not really have to bother about going to the office. Especially with the traffic as always. Shame though as Maria was on her own pretty much as Sly was off, on the FPSO, and I wasn’t there.

Sly has headed off to the FPSO to do a bit of work. Man, lucky bugger. The FPSO is an Offshore Floating Refinery. Think of an oil rig, just on a ship, and then a whole lot more. If any of you remember seeing that massive ship in Cape Town Harbour a few months ago that looked like a city at night due to being lit up like a christmas tree with loads of pirpes everywhere?? Well, that was an FPSO, and BP currently has the biggest in teh world, afaik, and it is a few hundred kms from where I sit right now. And Sly has just gone there! Man, green with envy!! I have given him my camera, so hopefully he’ll get a few decent shots for me. Hence the lack of pictures since yesterday. It does however mean I’ll be without camera this weekend. He reckons he’ll be back tomorrow, but after having heard Maria’s story about her visit, Bradley and myself have a bet going that he’ll only be back on Tuesday. 🙂

So Barrie and I went shopping at Casa dos Freshca (I think) and landed a massive bill for literally one trolley load of food. Man it was insane. A kilo of Fillet will set you back around R450!! We got a load of various meat, soft drinks and the usual party stuff. I can’t quite remember the final amount, but all I remember thinking is that I’ll never worry about over-spending on a braai back in Cape Town ever again.

Luckily for me I got my RPC over HTTP for Outlook working before I left Cape Town, and it has been a massive benefit ever since. It basically enables me to connect directly to the exchange sever in the office over the open Internet without having to use a VPN, or Outlook Web Access. And let me tell you, that’s a massive benefit.

Day 6 - Braai Time

Movement around the table – Dinner is served!

So, back to the braai . . . well, we were expecting quite a few people, a few of the big wigs from the BP DCT team, and then a couple of the ladies too, well so the lads said, as they have invited them. But actually, at the end of the day, Only Maria, with her husband, who doesn’t speak much Porra, and Nina pitched, along with Blythe on his own, as Ash left this morning.  It was an entertaining evening, with me getting a lesson from Nina in some local dance technique, but to me it was virtually the same as windsurfing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokkie in a way). So she was quite impressed that I was already fairly good. Well, I was just as suprised as I typically don’t windsurf. The fillet was awesome and the food turned out really well, thanks to Chef Barrie! There was plenty food left and the evening turned out just right. Probably a good thing the rest never turned up, as it was small and contained and really entertaining.

I let the team down and headed to bed early. Just been really tired the entire week, and think it must also have something to do with my chest (still having shit with my Asthma) and the aircons/heat difference. I have been really tired since arriving – which is probably due to the 2 hours sleep I got before leaving Cape Town, but man, it’s gonna take a while to get into the norm again. Weird as back in Cape Town I was managing fine on like 6 hours a night, if that.

Well, we have plans to get down to the Island tomorrow and then a bit of a party tomorrow night afterwards, so it should be a good weekend.

Click.

Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉

I could get used to working like this!! ;-) – Day 1

So, just started my first day at DD. Arrived at 09h00, at Tonie’s instructions, and left at 09h30! 😉

We had a quick discussion around what needed to happen, and what I had to do. Also we needed to schedule a meeting time with Barrie, my current Angolan colleague, as he was on his way back to CPT.

So, meeting organised for Tuesday, as I have my medical on Monday, and have loads to do for it. I have to get Lung X-Rays, an ECG!, a full medical, and a ton of other tests for the FPSO requirements for Angola!

So, back to work on Tuesday. Tough life. 🙂

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Nunnsby

Easy Going Guy 😉