Friday, September 6, 2013

Day trip

I didn't post anything yesterday, because I'm lazy and there wasn't much to tell. I did, however, take a trip to my field office yesterday. Something I always enjoy, even if it's a bit sad at the same time.

 Taking the little red roadster out on the highway is always fun. Nothing like ripping down the road with the top down in the predawn hours of the early morning. Even if the ass weeds that are on the road with you are pesky and troublesome. I mean, really, we live in the wide open, dick head, there's no point in tailgating on a 4 lane highway. Actually there's no point in tailgating period, but that's another story in and of itself. Very nice, very cool for West Texas this  time of year. Baby Red was only showing 65 on her temperature gauge. I like that kind of weather. Great for opening up the little devil (showed you pin head, your Chevy truck shuts off at 96 you dumb ass) and airing her out a little. Fast? In the scheme of really fast, she's moderate. In the scheme of your average 4 cylinder car? She smokes. About 130 or so top end, top down. Pretty quick. It's a good thing traffic was really thin or I'd never done anything like that. But it does speed up the trip, as well as fuel consumption. Then once I get to Spraberry corner, it's time to go the speed limit. And as usual, I see deer in four different spots along side the road. Hitting a deer with Baby Red means I'd have it in my lap with me. Now you know why I slow down. The road smells the same. Dust, mesquite, some kind of damn weed that just reeks and makes my eyes water, drip irrigation on cotton. All very familiar, even though I knew they were always there, I notice a bit more now.
 The office is familiar. Although there are several different people there than when I was there working. Hard to believe that's been ten month ago, but it has, and it's also very different there. The drilling program is over, which, if I'd been working, would have opened up more time to review and work on the wells that were already there to see if there's anything being left in the hole. They are doing a program with the pumpers that my boss Dennis and I talked about way back when for a time when "it starts to settle down after we get finished with this drilling package". Nice to see ideas that we had discussed for making the lease better than it was come into play. When I left, if you'd taken out the new drills, we'd upped production on those old wells by about 60 barrel per day without much more than just changing pumps and bottom hole design. Good work, but there was never enough time to really sit down and go over each well with each pumper. They are doing that now, getting more of everyone involved, and increasing the pumpers responsibility. That needed done, but it was just to frantic for a year to do that.
 There are only about half the guys there now as when I had to leave. Promotion, guys quitting, or moving, took a toll on the entire crowd. But those that stayed were the ones I liked best anyway. They were always the most steadfast, and consistent of the lot. They worked harder, tried harder, and never just threw up their hands. They were fun to work with. A couple of them were there and stood by me when I got my tits in a ringer shortly after we took that field over. And having learned not to say "I told ya so", I'm gonna say, I told ya so. You do this like Apache wants it done, and this field will be one to hang onto, not just sell out from under us. I'll be damned, it is one to keep. As we moved forward, and with all the repair we had to do, the cost of getting the oil to surface went up. Patience, I said, it'll come down, I said. And it has. The field operates more efficiently now. And it's because those guys that were there with me from the start did what it took to make it better. And it shows. My boss and I talked about people to promote as we needed spots filled. Those guys were the ones I recommended, with a couple that hired on as we went and grew, and they are all moving up the ladder. Good men, and I'm happy for and proud of them. It's like seeing your kids, or your best friends do well, even when they told you they weren't sure they could do the jobs. Yeah, guys, you can do the job, I always knew you could.
 It's sad, too, to go visit. I miss the work. I'd REALLY like what they are doing now. It's going to take some time, but in the end, all the work they are doing now will pay off in better morale, better production, and ultimately, more fun at work. That doesn't mean some toes are gonna get smashed, or feelings hurt, or tempers flare. That's gonna happen at any work place. Double in the oil field, since we've a reputation as independent people to uphold. Get past all that, and that area out there will be a show case on how to run an older field at the least cost for most production. Those old wells are the shits to pump and produce. They are gassy. They weren't drilled with enough rat hole to pump correctly (the new wells are, though, and it makes it easier to pump). The units are almost always too small. And there is a scale problem, that produces NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material). All those fight for taking production and pump efficiency away from a producing well. There are things that can be done to fight them, but not totally eliminate them. That's where a good pumper is worth ten times his weight in gold. They spot that stuff early, they get it on the well tech's radar, who will work up a plan to fix what's wrong now. He gives the next up the ladder an assessment, and from there, with all the needed information, it goes to the engineering staff. All those working together can make the difference in a stripper well of pulling or just shutting it in. Keeping them online for as long as they produce is key. And it all starts with the pumpers.  That's why it's sad for me to go out. I miss my spot on the loop. Well Tech is an important part of that. Tech's are the liaison between the pumpers, the field foreman, and engineer. Tech's look at the information they gather from the wells and the pumpers, put together a plan for helping the well, and kick that up stream to the rest of the guys. Do your end right, and the well can be pulled and repaired properly. Screw it up often enough, and trust between the field foreman and yourself goes right out the window and it stalls the cycle. I miss that responsibility and respect. Ya can't do that sitting on your ass at home, man, that's hands on stuff. I love it.

 The day before yesterday was spent hacking up crap and suctioning crap that was really blood filled.
YUM!! Yes, I know, kinda gross. But if you've been following this blog a bit, you know that I'm also going to go over the good and the bad all at the same time. This is bad. No idea where it came from, the Hospice nurse said it wasn't from the cancer directly in my mouth that she could see. I'm thinking it's down my throat a way, and some other issues the day before yesterday irritated Baxter and he was exacting some retribution. Did I panic? I did not! It's a bit disconcerting though, and not at all a good time, but not panic worthy. If I had projectile vomited a large volume of that, I'd have been closer to panic, but not yet. Besides, panic can get you killed.

 Now you know a little of what I did at my job. There's more to keeping an oil/gas well pumping that just jamming a spigot in the ground and opening the valve. Wells are almost like people. There are generalities, but each well is different and has to be treated as such. It's what makes it fun to work in the field. I look at it like this. If I were going to be around, I could go back to college and get a degree as a petroleum engineer and know about what the guys over my head know. But, they can't come to the field and know all that I do, and never will. Some of the stuff I've done, well, they don't do it anymore. Not just because technology outran those things, but rules changed. They won't help build specialized fishing tools for one job and one job only like I've done. They'll never tie a drillers knot, or drillers eye in wire rope, because they won't have to, and because most rigs use a poured rope socket now. No need for tying wire rope into knots. And the poured socket is easier on your hands.

 Okay kids, go out and have fun. I get to go with my wife to apply for SSDI, so my Long Term Disability company will continue to pay for me dying. Nothing I like better than dealing with the Federal effing Government. Other than having my eye dug out with a teaspoon, or using a cheese grater on the back of my thigh. Oh the fun

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