Saturday, 9 May 2015

Heading Offshore

This last week I have the privilege of spending 24 hours on 'Noble Clyde Boudreaux' in the Timor Sea, drilling the production wells for Shell's Prelude Floating LNG project.

Noble Clyde Boudreaux: Noble Corp
The trip was organised by Shell for the major contractors supporting the project, primarily to show how safety is actively managed aboard the rig between the 148 crew and their specialist roles.

To be able to fly out to the rig from Broome, I had to complete a two day basic safety and survival course which included HUET - Helicopter Underwater Escape Training. To be able to fly offshore, trainees need to successfully complete eight evacuations from a submerged, inverted helicopter. No-one particularly enjoys this component of the training, which thankfully is valid for four years.

The helicopter ride out to the rig was uneventful until we descended over the patch and a whole tableaux unfolded. Within visual distance of the helicopter were the rigs Jack Bates (INPEX), ENSCO 5006, Noble Clyde Boudreaux and construction vessel Aegir along with their support fleet of supply vessels  - no photographs permitted unfortunately, all cameras had to stowed in our luggage.

Once aboard the Noble Clyde Boudreaux, the size and complexity of the rig was astounding. Crew and contractors undertaking the physical drilling, mud analysis, locating where the drill bit was located in relation to the gas reservoir, ballasting the rig, loading and unloading stores...

As dawn broke on Tuesday, our PSV 'Far Skimmer' was close alongside under the port crane discharging drill string and back-loading empty equipment containers. As a Farstad employee, I was proud to be able to point out the vessel's features and describe how she maintained station in Dynamic Positioning mode only 20 metres of the rig's submerged pontoon hulls.

Far Skimmer close alongside NCB: BigFella
My thanks to Safety Coach BigFella - a fellow Kiwi - for hosting us aboard NCB and for the photos of Far Skimmer.

Back from the rig in Broome, I had two days visiting 'Far Skimmer's sister 'Far Sitella', also supporting Noble Clyde Boudreaux and our Anchor Handler 'Far Strait' supporting the INPEX rigs in the same patch. A good week, back to reality on Friday.

The Antipodean Mariner


  1. Stuart. Nice to see you back online since 2013. Maybe we will see another Farstad vessel back in Timaru one day soon. Sounds promising offshore here but depends on many factors.

  2. Stuart, Good to see you back online.

    Your account of your visit to the Noble Clyde Boudreaux made interesting reading.

    Looking forward to reading your posts and seeing the photos.