By Junior Johnson
Since my years were all in the Production phase as a Facility Supervisor this is basically where my information comes from. There are two main phases which are drilling, where the oil and gas wells are completed, and production where we produce the product from the wells and ship it to the refineries for processing.Employees work various schedules ranging from seven work days and seven off days, 14:14 and even 28:28, which is primarily for employees working overseas.
This is not a job suited for everyone. Being away from home and your loved ones for long periods of time takes a mental toll on a lot of the employees as well as their family at home. While at work you are on a facility that provides a clean and comfortable place to live and in most cases better food than what you would have at home. It is still not the same as being at home every night.
Working on a schedule such as this, you are subject to missing birthdays of your loved ones, memorable events in their lives, special holidays and other family functions. If you have a family, your loving wife has to deal with the everyday things that may occur on the home front and explain to the little ones why daddy isn’t there. It is not an easy task for the wife or husband who isn’t there to help.
There are many rewards being an offshore worker though. The pay is usually better than one would receive working at a job on land and we only work six months a year, providing weather permits a smooth crew change. That is not always the case and the trip home is delayed. I have met and worked with some of the most remarkable people over the years and have been involved in technology that continues to amaze me.
I have seen some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets that most people will never experience. I have seen schools of dolphins swimming around our facility, as well as shark and barracuda. I’m sure that I have caught hundreds of pounds of red snapper and other delicious fish to bring home and share with my family and friends.
There are dangers involved in this profession; however, the companies spend millions of dollars to keep it at a minimum and it is one of the safest industries in the world. As a Facility Supervisor I am sure that 90% of my work dealt with government required safety systems and procedures that made my workers as safe as possible.
I take pride in knowing that what we do in the Gulf of Mexico provides comfort and a better lifestyle to millions. We do not get the credit that we deserve because we are misrepresented by powers beyond our control.
I will say this in closing. The Gulf of Mexico Oil & Gas producers spend millions of dollars each year to insure that pollution is kept at a minimum. Most people do not know this considering the exposure that we receive.
The BP Deepwater Horizon was a tragedy. Technology was not available at the time to contain the spill. It is now.
I had the pleasure and good fortune to train my son years ago in our Industry. He was like a sponge absorbing water and proud to say that today he is also a Production Facility Supervisor and faces the same challenges that I did. During his time in the Gulf of Mexico he has been blessed with two beautiful children that his mom and I are very proud of. He has missed many things that his 6 and 2-year-old girls experiences as they grow older. So have the many strong men who have chosen this profession to do so much for so many, and God Bless their wives who stand behind them.