Life as a MWD

Company Man, Directional Driller, and Tool Pusher
inspecting the bit before we start drilling

A New Day a New Rig. 
The week after I moved into my new apartment I went back to work. I packed up my work things and a three hour drive later I was at my new rig. This time I ended up working with Chevron on a Nabors rig which was a surprise to me because up until this point I was unaware that there were other oil companies in Venezuela besides PDVSA, the national oil company. The feel of this rig is strikingly more familiar because safety regulations I am used to and the constant feel that we are trying to make hole as quickly and safely as possible. It is not as laid back as some of the other rigs I have worked on. In the end no matter which rig I ended up on I was happy to be working again after such a long time away. 

MWD Who?
I want to explain what an MWD is becuase most of you probably only have a basic idea that I look as squiggly lines and live on a rig. While both of those are true it is a bit more in depth than that. 
MWD (Measurement While Drilling) is a field position on a rig site that is usually provided by a drilling oil service company. As an MWD my job is to set up equipment and sensors that will read information comming up hole from our tools. You can think of these tools as a sort of navigation system that gives you traffic (formation) and weather (atmosphere) conditions. These tools range from very simple tools that just tell you inclination and azimuth to more advance ones that will tell you specifics about  resivor properties along with efficentcy of the drilling. My days are usually filled by monitoring computer screens with this realtime information and working with Directional Drillers, Geologist, and Drilling Engineers so that the well is drilled to the desired location. 

Improvising picking up tools

I work in a team of 4 people consisting of two directional drillers and two MWDs. We work 12 hour shifts 7 days a week. We all live in a small cabins with a kitchen and bedrooms with bunk beds. Most of  the time we do not have schedules. My longest time working one stretch was 86 days and I was happy for some time off after that. 

My Colleagues, My Friends
Living in close quarters with three or more people day in and day out can be good at times and not so good at others. This is one of the  few places I know of where you are thrust into a situation where you have to live and work with complete strangers. Needless to say they don't usually stay strangers for long. I have met many wonderful people over the past few years that have become good friends after only working together for a short period of time.

My new friends radiating awesome.

Here in Venezuela everything has been an extreme experience of MWD life due to my lack of communication skills and twice the amount of people on rig locations. I am still learning Spanish and my best teachers have been the guys I work with. I get free lessons and get to listen conversations all day without feeling like a creeper. I am learning a little more each day and I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to my new friends here for their patience and willingness to help me.

Quarks of the Wildlife
Every rig location I have been on tends to be in the country somewhere which means we have wildlife around the site and sometimes they get curious and wander onto the rig site. While in Pennsylvania I saw wild turkeys, deer and the occasional bear running around. In Venezuela we have roaming cows and stray dogs. 

Bear family in central Pennsylvania.

Cows tend think the grass tastes better on the other side of the fence or maybe they just want a better view of cars passing by on the road. Either way I have seen a few herds of cows just chilling in the middle of the road. On other occasions they come check out the rig site and one particular one decided to take a mud bath. This poor creature found its way into the water based mud pit. Once we detirmined it wasn't injured we hosed it off and lifted it out with a crane and released it back into the wild. 

The cow stuck in the  mud pit

Another facet of life is the numerous stray dogs everywhere. They are both in towns and on remote rig sites. The ones on the rig sites tend to be very nice and just want the food people leave out for them. They hang out under the cabins during the heat of the day and chase the cows.