They rise up from the sea, an imposing sight, sometimes hundreds of kilometers from the shoreline: Offshore platforms are gargantuan constructions that tap oil and gas fields deep beneath the seabed. They are among the most extreme but also the most enthralling workplaces in the world. And they are also impressive in terms of the engineering genius behind them. Here we hear first-hand what it means to build them and what living on them is like. And what you need to even be able to reach them.
Living and working offshore is a very special experience and one of the most exciting things I have ever done. On the open seas, many things take on another perspective entirely – nothing is the way we know it from life onshore.
Ákos Kiss, Production Technologist, OMV Exploration & Production
The Norwegian Sea is especially rich in gas and oil resources. The production platforms here are gigantic. Aasta Hansteen, for example: A floating SPAR platform moored to the seabed. It is moored 300 km off the Norwegian coast, the deep seas dark and all around, and the weather that can get pretty rough. But Aasta Hansteen – one of the largest SPAR platforms in the world – is designed to withstand these conditions. You can see the impressive pictures of its construction here:
One of a kind: The Aasta Hansteen production platform
It is a long road from building a platform to producing oil or gas, a road that demands the ultimate in engineering skill. We know this only too well from the Edvard Grieg oil platform, which has been producing oil off the west coast of Norway since 2015. This was preceded by 3.5 years of planning, organization and painstaking technical work so that everything functioned properly in the end and every power socket was precisely where it should be. The steps it took to get this North Sea construction perfect down to the last millimeter can be found here:
Edvard Grieg: An oil platform is born
Offshore platforms are among the most fascinating workplaces on earth, but also among the most challenging. Pompiliu Macovei works on the Petromar Central Platform, with which OMV Petrom has been producing oil and gas in the Black Sea for three decades. He is one of the few people in the world who hops on a helicopter to get to work – weather permitting. Here he tells us how he juggles his shifts, leisure time and private life with the challenges of working on an oil platform:
Living and working on an oil platform
Two others who discovered what life at sea was like are Ákos Kiss, who tasted the offshore air during his internship in New Zealand, and Troy Collier, who spent five weeks on a seismic vessel, also in New Zealand. From his dynamic workdays and finding out how a seismic study is conducted on the open seas, how to fix shark bites to the equipment, why Marine Mammal Observers man the bridge, and why health and safety always comes first – all of this and more is in Troy’s diary:
Five weeks on a seismic vessel
Everyone knows that working offshore is challenging and that the ocean does not forgive any mistakes. “Safety First” is the motto in our business and governs the staff not only on the high seas, but well before that as well. This is why every offshore trip begins with a training course known as BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety, Induction & Emergency Training). Here you learn how to escape from a burning, pitch-black building or free yourself from a helicopter that is upside down and filling with water. After all, this is the only way to ensure that everyone on an offshore platform is well-acquainted with every possible situation and capable of keeping their head above water. Learn more about this spectacular training:
BOSIET: Keeping your head above water