This post is brought to you by Hurricane Isaac. As a member of the North Gulf Coast oilfield community, I understand that the weather has an immense impact on my life.
Part 1.1: The Rigs
“Do the rig hands get hurricane bonus if they had to sit through a hurricane?”- Me
Oil rigs are complex sites. Weather dictates the efficiency on a deep water drillship. If seas are rough, the rig will turn its heading to face the waves and minimize the forces acting on the rig. If skies are crappy, helicopters won’t fly to the rig. If there is a hurricane….. the rig begins to evacuate. First, they get all Whataberger personnel of the rig. They do this long before the storm gets close. Often times, they evacuate and it turns out to be a false alarm. The rig quickly begins to pull the marine riser. Marine riser are the huge pipes which connect the rig to the BOP’s on the sea floor. The rig will shut in the well, pull the marine riser, and then move from location. Remember, the rig is a huge ship. With all non essential personnel gone and having detached from the well, the ship heads to Mexico to wait out the storm. When the storm is over, the rigs get back into position and reattach themselves to the well. This total process halts all work for more than a week. Since our work depends on the rigs’ work…. we also halt work. This will be elaborated on in part 2.
Part 1.2: The Community
“No such thing as a perfect levee. Water carved the Grand Canyon.” -Me
“Water carved my _____”-Anonymous
Saturday night, I stayed in New Orleans. There was a Saint’s game and the social activity was thriving. Weather was great and everyone had a great time. After eating the ritual bagel Sunday morning, I headed home. There, I watched the news for hours. I listened to the governor and the mayor speak. Gradually, different school systems in the area began to announce their closures. The government issued mandatory evacuations for people in mobile homes. Patients and inmates would be moved Sunday night. The governor urged people to stay calm, but be prepared and ready to do anything. Hurricane Isaac comes right at the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Anxiety is high in the community and people seem much more prepared. In addition, a great amount of time is spent explaining the improved levee system in New Orleans. Later, airport closures are announced.
Part 1.3: Whataberger
“When I say, ‘It’s time to haul a$$,’ that’s when I’m leaving!” -Harry1
My company is both a part of rig operations and the community. And so, both sections 1.1 and 1.2 play a factor in how we respond as a company. At the beginning of hurricane season, we are told to make sure all emergency contact information is up to date in our company profile. We should have a plan in place in case we are hit by a hurricane. This includes boarding up your house, having a generator, having an escape plan. If a storm is in the gulf, we obviously know and are evacuated from offshore first. If the storm continues to develop and happens to be en route towards SE Louisiana, we have to secure our shop and have daily check ins. I am responsible for knowing where Harry1, Fergie, and DaffyDuck are every day. I report to Dennis the Menace (who is now my new manager.) When the community starts to react to the hurricane, so does Whataberger. When the government asks people to voluntarily evacuate, this will usually coincide with Whataberger’s phases of hurricane preparidness.Since evacuations are extremely stressful and expensive, it is typical for people to wait and know for sure the severity before opting to leave.
Part 2.1: The Decision
“Well… just put your TV and your shotgun in your truck, and get out of there!”-Albert’s father.
I have no house to board up or children to care for… If I have the option to leave, why not? After watching the news all day Sunday, I decided I wanted to evacuate. Worst case scenario, we get hit directly by a hurricane and there are power outages for a day or more, flooding, and wind speeds which will knock over a human. Best case scenario, we get a lot of wind and rain. In either case, we won’t be going to work at all.
Part 2.2: The Hurrication
“I could not have asked for a better hurricane” – Albert
A few people have expressed their concern over my whereabouts. You may all rest assured that DWShorty, Alice and Albert and myself are presently in Atlanta. We elected to evacuate ourselves WAY early to be ahead of the storm, ahead of the traffic, and right on time to our hurrication. En route to Atlanta, we saw the brigade of school busses hauling prisoners to safety.
“How’s the storm looking?”-Me, in my daily check in to Harry1
“It’s headed right up our @$$es!”-His response
“We can do so many fun things in Atlanta!!”-Me
“We need to find Laila a day care.”-Albert