Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Oil Rigs & big business

I started reading Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse as fun reading, because it was loaned to me ages ago and I should return it and as a form of procrastination. It's poorly edited. The writing is about at a sixth grade level. But it's funny at times and educational as to the type of folks who go out on these rigs and a little view into the industry. There are a few bits, copied below, that I think give insight into the way big oil is run today. Not by the folks on the rigs who put their lives at risk every day and would make safety a primary concern, but by the bottom-liners and folks hanging out in air conditioned high rises. It's not just the oil business that's gone this way, though--I'd say most business has. Think healthcare--it's about bottom lines, about profit, not about wellness and saving lives. But what else can you expect from a capitalist system?

"The oilfield is run by the corporate machine more than ever now, lawyers backed by engineers who have never seen a rig. The human side is gone, the bottom line rules, and it's every man for himself. Outside my crew I don't trust anyone. Not in the office, and especially not the client.

These days it leaves the older guys, who remember the rigs when they were still wild, seething. They speak up on occasion, usually at a critical moment during the meeting before the main meeting which proceeds the really big meeting where we talk about what we're going to say when we have the really really big meeting with the people in Houston joining us via satellite speaker phone (that's the meeting where no one makes a firm decision because of the consequences of getting sued for making a decision). 'Aw fuck all this horse shit' the old guys say, when the bureaucracy gets ridiculous and the legal implications of opening your mouth have you more concerned about losing your job than actually solving the problem. And for the tiniest of moments everyone in the room is reminded of the qualities that made these men pioneers when the drilling game was in its infancy." pp. 8-9

"In the oil business, like most industries, it's the accountants and lawyers who call the shots, and these people make decisions that ultimately put crews in situations that affect lives in ways they could not possibly comprehend." p. 43


No matter what happens in my lifetime and yours, we will always be involved in the oil business. Every time we start a car, heat the house, cook a meal, watch a war on the news, it reminds me that everything relies on fossil fuels to exist. Try not to think of the human cost, or the environmental cost. By 2080 we need a viable alternative to oil and gas, because by then one-third of our energy needs will have to come from somewhere else. Like solar power, wind power, geothermal power, hydrogen fuel cells, a genetically engineered three-storey hamster in a fuckin' huge wheel--I don't know." p. 205

Link to Amazon't Tell Mom I Work on the Rigs: She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse

No comments:

Post a Comment