View Full Version : A 10 minute story about OZN.

03-05-2011, 06:42 PM
I am posting this because no one has posted anything in Maes B&W for like 3 months. So I figured I would tell a story about myself. Better get a drink, you'll need one.

I graduated from Gonzaga and after I went up to Alaska to prospect for gold and stake mining claims. After 5 years I realized the game had gotten too costly and I decided to to get a real Job. I was hired by an oil company in Anchorage because I knew a lot about geology, mining and I had a college degree.

After 8 years with the company, I got promoted to an ADT position. Applied Drilling Technologies, which was their troubleshooting department. I reviewed data for wells to see if we could improve efficiency and safety. Both always translate to higher profits.

So I was shipped down to Bogota Colombia to assist on a very stubborn oil well. They had abandoned a traditional drilling bit because the hole was too small and and they kept getting stuck. Ever had a drill bit bind up when you are drilling into a block of wood? The diameter of bit is about the same size as the hole so unless you ream it out a couple times, it will bind up. Same thing when drilling for oil. Standard drilling practice is to ream (wallow) out the new hole to give some extra room. Petrobras had lost over 4 million dollars on this well due to lost time and 3 lost well bores. They kept getting stuck because the clay was constantly swelling up around them.

Our company recommended a "Bi-Centered" bit that is designed to ream the hole out while you are drilling. It has one larger blade on the bit about a quarter inch larger than the standard bits to make the hole bigger immediately. As you would expect, when the string is rotated, at 50-100 RPM, the vibration at times can be very violent. Kinda like having your laundry off-center during your spin cycle. Its inevitable.

Still, this bit was also getting stuck, and the vibration was causing damage to the rest of the equipment. So they sent me down to South America to see if I could help. Here is me flying to the rig by chopper in the middle of the jungle. Click on it.

http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww10/peter_aaron/th_Colombiarig.jpg (http://s700.photobucket.com/albums/ww10/peter_aaron/?action=view&current=Colombiarig.mp4)

After reviewing all the data I could see that everything was normal but still tons of damage. It only took about a day to see what was wrong. The drillers had maintained the same practices as if they were using a regular bit. They were still reaming the hole every time and the vibration was too violent.

So I told them to stop. I shut down the entire operation. I was scared as hell. But I knew I had to. I told the company man (main boss) and the rest of the team, "You cannot treat this bit like you did before. This bit is made so you do not have to ream out the hole in the first place." I also told them "When you circulate the well to clean the hole you must stay on bottom and drill as slowly as you can and the vibration will never start up." Standard practice had always been to come off bottom, circulate and rotate the hole clean and ream it out to make it smoother. I suggested we stop all that and let the bit do its job.

2 hours later, we were back to drilling and of course, no more vibration. No more damage to the well bore because the drill string was beating it up and fracturing the clay causing cracks and chunks to break off and liquid to absorb. No more stuck pipe. No more bit damage either, they could re-using the same $400K bits over and over again.

They finished the well 2 weeks later. Which meant we drilled 5x the amount they had drilled in 3 months time. That was just that one well. They utilized the simple procedure for the next 12 wells on that pad. Petrobras was almost ready to scrap the entire project and quit. They had already lost over 12 million in down time. But as you can imagine, by not abandoning the project all together, they are still making millions and millions and the practice common knowledge. I didn't invent it, I just reminded them of it. They asked me to stay for another year and train. I did for about 8 months. Colombia has some of the most beautiful women in the world. Life was good.

Why do I share this here? Because I made a living sticking my neck out and risking my reputation. The key was staying objective and honest. And knowing what I was doing of course. I've had many more failures. Some of my suggestions actually have caused more problems. But when I was right I have saved my customers enough to pay my 70+K salary for a thousand years. No joke.

But here is why my story in Colombia is pertinent for this Zag nut. After Colombia, and a couple successes in Alaska, I was in demand and worked in Colombia, Trinidad, Ecuador, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and finally the Gulf of Mexico. Our department was asked to assist with the Gulf disaster by tracking miniscule solar magnetic disturbances that can effect the compasses in the drilling tools. Without the constant precise compass readings, we might miss the blowout well over a mile away and miss the target, an area about 2 meters square. We adjusted each survey sometimes only a hundredth of a degree from offices in Anchorage. But over the course of a mile, those small errors can add up to a 10 or 20 foot difference. Which is enough to miss the target and have to start over again. We hit it the first time! We felt had to. Even though BP had a contingency and media plan that had us missing the first time. They though the odds of hitting such a small target the first time was too low to make claims that it would work. Everything else had failed miserably up till then. We did our best. For the many lives were already lost and an entire ecosystem on the brink. Not to mention, an industry and our careers were on the line. I didn't want that responsibility when I volunteered to help. I didn't know that type of pressure could be real. That was my last oil field job. I knew it would be my last anyway if we failed. Afterward I put in a leave of absence to get away from the politics, the stress and the finger pointing. I never went back. Trust me I had the finger pointed straight at me once when I my correction was applied .04 degrees in the wrong direction. A typo. It was then I wondered "how I got in this position", "why did I accept this job with so much at stake?" "BP is setting us up to fail and then place blame on us, I know it" I literally saw 3-4 "Hellfighter" type John Waynes strut in going to save the day only to see them weep after failure. The fact that billions per day in property damage and wildllife and grieviing families was too much. The crew with the deep water submarines were the most impressive and we thought for sure they could do it. The owner of the firm was taller and bigger than I imagine John Wayne to be. He wept like a baby. After everything that he and his technology of the day, and a lifetime of his devotion could not kill the well. It made strong men cry and wealthy men humble beyond belief. In the end we all were silent heroes, even the ones who failed were just as important. We barely got a footnote of credit for it. "BP stops flow in Gulf Spill" was the headline. We were well compensated for hitting the target the first time. No one got rich, but out of our 8 man crew, both of my supervisors got sweet jobs with BP, and 2 of us retired and the other four just paid off their houses and everything and just kept on working. But inside myself I know we helped save part of the world. At one point it didn't matter how much money was involved. We saved industries, lives, careers and maybe even an ecosystem. I helped do that .01 of a degree at a time for almost 3 weeks. Even though it shouldn't have happened in the first place. It did.

During the Gulf ordeal I lost my marriage, my health and my sanity. No amount of money is worth that. But when part of my face flashed on the screen one time on national TV, I cried that forever I may be associated with such tragedy. Even though I helped end it. It made me rethink my priorities. I was just one of hundreds others who did the best they could to kill that well. I moved back to my family's home town, have my own little house, with my dogs. I started talking to the hottest women I saw instead of the ones I usually ended up with. I stopped worrying what anyone thought. I still fail way more than I succeed but now I have dated women I thought I had no chance with. I have had to tell a couple very attractive women to stop calling me.

Anyway, my life is simpler now. I got my retirement from oil and I work for myself now. I don't care what people think. I don't care if I fail anymore. I just keep doing my best. It all works out in the end. I consider my small role in ending the Gulf tragedy to be one of my greatest accomplishments. Whether or not you read this far or even care, you now know a Zag helped stop one of the greatest oil disasters in the history of the world. And to be honest, I am proud of it.

Hope you enjoyed it.

03-09-2011, 04:43 AM
Jeez, I don't know whether to say sorry for your marriage woes, congrats on the hot babes, congrats on the oil field successes or what. Wait, now I know what to say..........................................


With lots of friends in and around the oil biz, I enjoyed the reading.

03-11-2011, 08:25 PM
The Gulf spill hasn't ended. The oil flowing from the wellhead may be over. The toll in human suffering, ecosystem damage, and economic destruction will continue to grow. BP got off cheap.

03-30-2011, 01:25 PM
The Gulf spill hasn't ended. The oil flowing from the wellhead may be over. The toll in human suffering, ecosystem damage, and economic destruction will continue to grow. BP got off cheap.

Far too cheap. The ripple effect will last decades. BP is why I left my career in the oil industry. An all too real example of the human condition. Lots of good, but most of it bad. And most of us still drive our cars and trucks.

One good thing arose from this though. Relief wells will be drilled simultaneously on most deep water wells. This will save months of time if another blow out occurs. But on top of it, those relief wells actually add profitability since it will be a bonus "freebie" well. Once again, the rich keep getting richer. Even though it is a fact of life it still makes me sick.

Blow outs have happened at least 5 times every year for the last 120 years. Macondo happened to be the worst ever. Almost 10 times worse than Valdez.

07-21-2011, 08:43 AM
Cool story, OZN.

No mention of Florence??

I miss our games of chess.

08-02-2011, 03:05 PM
OZN, can I borrow some money? Nothing major, just like.....10k.

I use Paypal.


03-04-2012, 12:08 AM
Cool story, OZN.

No mention of Florence??

I miss our games of chess.

Oh yeah! I still have the best memories of my year at Gonzaga In Florence!!! 1994/95!! Especially since I graduated that year too. With my good friend cjm720!!! I think I remember kicking your bu## at chess but I might have been too inebriated to remember correctly.

Any other GIF'ers (Gonzaga in Forence) on the board? If anyone is thinking of Gonzaga in Florence for a year, do not hesitate. It will be the single greatest year of your life. Period.