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Old 20th January 2016, 10:55   #1
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Default Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran

I get an opportunity to travel to the more obscure places on work, which was how I ended up spending considerable time in Asaloyeh, Iran - the site of the largest gas field in the world currently i.e the Pars Gas Fields.

The point of writing this blog was two-fold. The first was to provide a basic understanding of the technical aspects involved in offshore drilling and exploration and the more important one being to provide first hand account of how life in Iran unfolds on a day to day basis.

A lot of people have this misconception of how things are in Iran what with the international sanctions imposed from the early 80s after the Revolution to the proximity of ISIS in more recent times. I was extremely apprehensive myself when I was informed at work that I would have to go to Iran because honestly I didn't know what to expect. Having an Iran Visa on your passport means you'll face stricter scrutiny when you apply for visas to USA and European countries, but that was not enough of a deterrent to me because working on an offshore platform had always been a big dream for me.

Offshore Experience

It had always been a dream for me to see how things work on an offshore rig. Having worked on chemical, petrochem, power and other such plants, the only thing left was the good old refinery.

Almost every experience out there was a first for me, from living on a ship to experiencing rough weather at sea to being suspended 300 feet above water by a crane, hanging on to dear life in a little rope cage, buffeted all around by strong gusts.

Safety is of paramount importance on an offshore rig, even more so than any levels of safety I've seen followed elsewhere. I've been pulled up by the HSE guys for having a faint stubble on my cheek! The reason being in the event of H2S gas leak, even if I have the safety oxygen mask on, the minute gap caused by the thickness of the hair on my chin is enough for gas to leak in and cause severe damage or even death! That should give an idea about how serious they are about preventing any untoward incident here.

Disclaimer : I work on distributed control systems, my knowledge of maritime and other related subjects is quite poor. The points I make in this travelogue are based on what I have come to understand after talking to other people associated with the project. Please correct me if anything I say is technically inaccurate! Some of the photos that follow are taken by me, and some by my colleague. I have avoided putting photos that would compromise the technology used on board the rig. They are very strict about confidentiality hehe

I'll briefly go through the steps involved in setting up an offshore platform.
The work begins on land first. The first stage is when they ready the pillars that will be fixed on to the sea-bed and which support the entire platform.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-platform-pillar.jpg

The actual platform itself is readied next. All the tanks, gauges, motors, pumps with their associated wiring are fixed on shore itself and tested once. Depending on the size of the platform, it will be 2-4 floors tall by the time it is completely ready. Once that is done, the entire platform is put on a ship, taken to the location where the platform is to be set up and then a crane lowers it on to the pillars which would have been fixed and welded together by then and voila! your platform is ready for operation.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-platform-shore.jpg

In parallel with this operation, another work is carried out which is laying the pipes on the sea bed from the location of the platform to the on-shore refinery. A pipe laying barge along with trawlers first dredge the sea floor and make sure you have a relatively flat, unbroken line of the sea floor which is free of all manners of obstacles. Then they dig a little channel on the floor and lay the pipes one segment at a time. Underwater robots weld the different segments together so that there is no leakage. This depth is usually not very deep so human divers also go down to supervise the work.
The offshore platform is only a node for extracting the gas/crude oil from under the sea bed - there is no storage or refining that occurs there. All the processing and piping happens on-shore in refineries which receive the sour gas/crude oil through these underwater pipes.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-onshore.jpg
That's the onshore refinery in the background. On board a ship, heading to the platform.

The platform is then lifted on to the deck of a huge ship - in this case it was the Oceanic 5000. It is fitted with a crane with a load lifting capacity of 4400 metric tonnes and is the biggest such vessel operating in the middle east. The size is so humongous, it dwarfs almost everything you would have ever seen!
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-platform-lifted.jpg
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_4804.jpg
To put things in perspective, each floor of that yellow platform hanging off the crane is big enough to park a couple of 747's there! It requires a crew of 400 to navigate this behemoth of the seas.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-platform-pillar.jpg
Finally! Touchdown!

This is the pipe laying vessel that has been converted into a staging area and command center of sorts and is kept anchored a mile off the nearest platform. When I had no work on the platform, I used to stay here. Transport between the main ship and the platforms is by means of small motorboats or the occasional small sized ship that travels between the different platforms carrying fresh food and water.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-dsc00732.jpg

The platform by itself has no means of drilling a hole in the sea bed to begin extraction. The job of the rig is the do that. A rig is basically a ship without an engine but it has all the drills and other equipment required for under sea drilling. Another ship will tug the rig into place adjacent to the platform after which the wells are dug into the floor and the gas is piped out. Once the wells are working, control of the wells is handed over to the platform through a series of pipes and the rig is then towed away to the next location to dig another set of wells.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-rig-platform.jpg
The yellow structure on the left is the platform which is fixed to the sea bed. The grey ship like structure on stilts is the rig. You can see the pipe laying ship in the background as well. The rig is always required to drill new wells or carry out any maintenance activities on existing wells. During course of normal operation, presence of the rig isn't required. As a general rule, platforms are not designed for long-term human habitation. Living conditions are spartan at best on a platform. On the other hand, rigs will stay at sea for months at a stretch and the accommodation and facilities there can easily meet any fancy land based posh hotel!

When it comes to travel over sea, 10 hours to travel 150kms is considered perfectly normal! I turned up at the port with suitcase in hand, all eager to take a fast ship to the rig. Persian Gulf is startlingly clear, with fishes and dolphins visible even 10 feet underwater. Since it's barely 75M at the deepest point, it's quite shallow so there are barely any waves to speak of. I spent a long time on the deck, with the wind on my face, watching a whole school of dolphins swim alongside the boat, cresting the water regularly and arching beautifully across the wake of the boat. I was to be offloaded on the main ship and they would arrange subsequent transport to the rigs from there by small boats. Once we drew close, I realised it takes as much time to park a ship as it does to enjoy a 11 course meal at a star hotel! lol The turning radius is so huge, it's almost impossible to draw up to the pier and parallel park(anchor?) Instead, they overshoot their target by a good ship length and then slowly reverse back and turn into the pier.

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150910_184709.jpg
On a good day, this is what you would use to get up to the living quarters. The crane will lower that little rope basket you see suspended in the air, you get on with your baggage and hold on to dear life while they slowly winch you up and deposit you safely on the deck. I've done it multiple times and I have to admit, the view of sunsets suspended 300 feet above the sea, with lush blue, calm water all around is a balm to your soul. Unfortunately, the first time around, I was in for a rude shock as the crane on the ship was otherwise occupied. So they drew the two ships parallel to each other and just put a thin plank across the railings, with one man on each ship holding on to the plank so it doesn't slide down or fall overboard and they were like " Take your suitcase and climb over" The other sailors who were with me scampered over like a couple of mountain goats and I was left holding my suitcase in hand and wondering what I got myself into haha. The gap between the ships was only about 8-10 feet but the main problem was that the main ship was easily 10-15 feet higher up than my small boat. And I was already like 30 feet above the water level!! While I am a decent enough swimmer and not afraid of the water, it was scary to say the least. I finally managed to climb over to find another issue! I had carried along my normal suitcase I use for international trips, and I had no clue how things would be on a ship. While the suitcase would probably have been at home on some luxury cruise liner, onboard this industrial monstrosity it wouldn't fit through the hatches and doors! I literally had to open it on deck, take my things up to my cabin individually and then cram the empty suitcase through the doors haha

There really is almost nothing to do on board a platform. A rudimentary gym takes care of your exercise needs. Internet is quite slow and you have access only during certain hours. There is absolutely no mobile signal and in Iran, there are only a handful of channels on TV, out of which just 3-4 are English. I had been forewarned though, so I had filled my HDD with loads of movies and TV shows to keep me entertained. The only thing that would entice people to work in isolated conditions like that would be the stellar monetary compensation and the lavish food spread!

One thing that I cannot stress enough is the primal beauty of being stuck in the middle of nowhere. You learn the meaning of pitch black on a moonless night,with the feeble light of the torch illuminating a patch few feet from you. The rest is shrouded in absolute darkness and you can't even make out where the water ends and where the horizon is. On other days you see the milky way at night in all it's glory and it's very Life of Pi like. The waters of the gulf are so clear and perfectly still, with barely a ripple it's like a blue glazed mirror and you can see whole shoals of fishes darting around underwater.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150920_145126.jpg

My favourite part of the day would be to go up to the helipad on the topmost floor and chill with a cup of tea and watch the sunset. Watching a sunset in the middle of the sea is much more different than watching it at a beach.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150831_182331.jpg

I was lucky to escape the worst of the rough weather but I did get caught in a squall for a week once. Luckily I was in a ship that was anchored, so while there was lot of pitching and rolling about, I avoided getting sea sick. It was not possible to even stand up straight without support but you could keep your lunch in! However, on the last day on the way back I was in a ship heading to shore and the sea got rough so I experienced sea-sickness first hand. The water is in so much motion, there is not one stationary point of reference for you to take your bearings from. That by itself was nauseating and I felt like throwing up. Thankfully the ride was short and I reached my destination without any untoward incident.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20141206_171631.jpg
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150910_185110.jpg

It was truly an enriching experience and I wouldn't mind doing it again!

Last edited by GTO : 23rd January 2016 at 08:48. Reason: Adding your oil rig experience to the opening post :)
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Old 20th January 2016, 12:08   #2
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Life in Iran

A little geography recap for all of us who spent the better part of school half asleep in the last bench, dreaming of the two rupee samosas from the shop across the road to getting home before the cartoons started on DD Metro!
Iran is the second biggest middle-eastern country and has Afghanistan, Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Iraq among others as its major neighbours. The northern and western parts are predominantly mountainous areas, with high plateaus between the ranges and heavy forests. The central and southern parts are mostly flat, with arid salt deserts and plains. Temperatures get to well below freezing up north during the winters, coupled with heavy snowfall and the summers down south are blistering hot, with the temperatures easily crossing 50 degrees C.

The first thing you notice when you walk out of the airport is how clean everything is! The roads are well maintained and there is no litter anywhere. Any building under construction is properly walled off so it's not an eyesore. Right from huge metro cities like Tehran to remote, little towns like Kangan with barely a few thousand people living in it, the same level of cleanliness is maintained. The inherent desire to maintain cleanliness is deeply ingrained into everyone.

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_113626.jpg
A random street in Tehran

The next thing that strikes you is the greenery around. There is a garden or a park every few streets and it's quite common to see children playing around, couples sitting on benches hand in hand, fitness conscious people taking a brisk walk around. Every decent sized park also has facilities like foosball tables, basketball courts, mechanical gym equipment and other such items scattered everywhere. You never have to buy a gym membership here!
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_110952.jpg

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_110837.jpg
The park adjacent to my hotel

There are innumerable museums and art galleries scattered all over the city. Regular exhibitions and events are held at these places. You'll need a month just go around the city of Tehran alone!
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150102_181020.jpg

Art and handicrafts are visible in every item you come across. They do some amazing works with cotton, wool and ceramic. Tea sets, decorative pieces and jewellery boxes are the quick moving items.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_111716.jpg
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_113907.jpg
The famous Persian carpets are staggeringly expensive! I walked in to one of the shops like a boss and asked around for the prices. An average carpet for an average Indian living room would be upwards of $6000!!!! I said "Thank you, have a nice day" and quietly walked out of there haha.

The effects of international sanctions can be seen when it comes to their transportation facilities. In-spite of having an amazing road network where you can easily maintain 120kmph average speeds all day long, without having to worry about a single pothole or blind corner, the cars they have paint a grim picture. The aeroplanes even more so. In fact, Iran has one of the oldest average age for their aeroplane fleet, with the age being well over 25 years. The first time I walked into one of those notoriously dangerous planes, the layout inside was to atypical compared to modern planes of today that I was like "Woah! Where did I just walk into?!" The central aisle dropping down to the tarmac to form stairs at the rear to exit the plane just like a military aircraft, lockers and alcoves as soon as you enter before the seating area starts and my personal favourite of them all - seat covers you rip apart to use as life jackets! lol
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_175920.jpg
You will be hard pressed to find any modern European or American car due to the insane 200-300% tax on imported cars. There are just a handful of cars you get to see around. Ancient Peageuts, Hyundai and Toyotas (most Asian countries didn't impose sanctions, so it's possible to find latest products from Asian countries like Samsung or Asus or LG or Kia etc. However, any american/european item has to be carried in by someone or got off the black market) are the "foreign" brands you can see. The market is dominated by 2 homegrown manufacturers - Saipa and Icko, who basically manufacture stuff that looks like a straight rip off from the 90s. One curious fact - over 90% of the vehicles you can see on the road are either white or grey/silver for reasons I cannot explain! It surely makes for dull viewing on the roads.
Before you ask, yes, they follow traffic rules strictly and no, they don't honk unnecessarily. Two wheelers seem to move around with more impunity than the bigger vehicles, but general thumb rule - over 95% of the vehicles strictly adhere to all rules.

Iranians can give Indians a run for their money when it comes to consuming sweets. The sheer variety of sweets and savouries you can get are mind boggling to say the least! Their food is very bland. The blandest Indian dish is enough to get them crying their eyes out! They seem to be absolutely terrified of spicy food haha. They mainly eat plain white rice or saffron rice with a whole variety of kebabs.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20141118_074208.jpg
KFC, Burger King, Mcdonalds, Dominos, Pizza Hut and every other chain is conspicuously absent but they seem to have made their own versions to compensate for it! The most favourite snack would be falafel stuffed into buns with a bit of veggies thrown in to make their version of a burger!
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20141021_191546.jpg

The questions I get asked the most are basically comparisons of Iran to the rest of the middle eastern countries. It honestly is much better off than places like Saudi Arabia. Women are allowed to work, drive, vote etc and have equal rights as men. The burqa is not compulsory and women are obligated to wear a headscarf when outdoors. Alcohol and drugs are illegal, however both are fairly easy to get hold of. Smoking is highly prevalent and hookahs are very common. Infrastructure is easily 2 decades ahead of India when it comes to roads and metro and ports. One area where they are lagging A LOT is internet and communication systems. I'm guessing the government didn't want to waste money on expensive monitoring systems to block porn and other content, so they decided to take the easy way out and decided not to provide internet facilities at all lol. 512kpbs is blistering fast and even that is available only in the big cities. Most places are yet to get 3G and you'll have to manage with GPRS only.

People are extremely friendly, soft-spoken and well mannered. In over 14 months, I was unable to find a single person yelling or shouting - at work or on the streets or anywhere for that matter!
For all the hype we do here in India about treating guests well and "Athithi Devo Bhava" the guest is god-like, we don't really follow it as diligently as Iranians do!! The number of experiences I've had over the months where the sheer generosity of spirit and helpful nature of common folk have humbled and enriched me beyond belief.
Lemme give an example - I was at work in the city of Asaloyeh and I had to go back to Tehran and then catch a flight back to India to get my visa renewed. Since the flight schedule was not too tight, I had a day to spend and sight-see in and around Tehran. I asked around to see if anyone was from Tehran so they could tell me about the places which I could cover in a day. I was directed to a girl who was from there (I didn't even know her name at that point) and I asked her about tourist-y places to check out. She whips out her phone, calls up her someone and tells him that an Indian guy she's working with will be in Tehran for a day and he should show me around. She gives me a huge smile and says "Everything is taken care of. My friend will help you". I went to Tehran and checked in to my hotel. Shortly afterwards, a car pulls up outside my hotel. The person who she had called was actually her classmate from like 5 years ago in college. And he had dutifully turned up, (without knowing anything at all about me) to show me around. To top that off, since he was not too fluent in English, he had brought his friend along to act as translator!
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150102_225311.jpg
With Omid and Reza. They took me around everywhere in their car, haggled with the shopkeepers in Parsi to ensure I got the best rates, took me out for dinner, sight-seeing and absolutely refused to let me pay a single Rial at any point.

However, there are unspoken rules of conduct when it comes to interacting with the locals. One day, I was at work and a girl comes up to me with a box of sweets in hand. She was distributing it to everyone and said it was her birthday. So I took a piece of the sweet and held out my hand to wish her a happy birthday and the entire office was staring at us!! Poor girl!She was so mortified, as if I had just asked her to meet me behind the parking lot for a quickie lol. Inspite of working together with men, the women are generally shy, reserved and avoid all forms of contact - physical or otherwise unless absolutely necessary. The upshot of this is that even though they are formal and maintain appropriate distance, at the end of the day, hormones are hormones lol and you have this entire demography of single,horny men who are unable to do anything about it! They seem to find all stories about physical intimacy between couples something awesome and I've lost count of the number of times I've had people I just met 2 minutes ago come up to me and ask if it was possible to have sex in India before marriage!! lol

Two places of note that I loved visiting were the Milad Tower - 6th tallest communication tower/17th tallest free standing building in the world and the Tajrish Bazaar -a sprawling open air bazaar which is very Arabian Nights-esque.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150103_151033.jpg

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150103_160205.jpg
The winds were to strong that it was buffeting me around like a rag doll. It's a 435m tall tower and the view from up top is a sight to behold!

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150103_150428.jpg
Irani chai. Enough said.

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150103_120512.jpg
This market is so huge you can easily get lost here. It makes Chandni Chowk look like the neighbourhood kirana store! If you are unable to find an item here, chances are you won't get it anywhere else in the country either. From clothes to fresh fruits and vegetables to meat to jewellery to kitchen utensils,everything under the sun can be purchased here.

Some more photos from my time there:

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_063440.jpg
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140822_113218.jpg
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150103_115002.jpg

The culture of the Persian civilization is best represented by these photos above. Artwork and murals are extremely common, adorning walls inside buildings, compound walls along the road, entire side faces of buildings. While not quite as colourful as what you would expect in India, it is more classy with 3-4 major colours used, if not outright monochrome. Paintings adorn the walls of every office/house/hotel I've been to.

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_060829.jpg
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_141505.jpg

Driving through central Tehran gives you the feeling of going through Cubbon park in Bangalore! The sheer amount of greenery I've seen is truly very difficult to put in words.
Every major road is lined with trees. Every big roundabout has a well maintained lawn with sculptures, fountains, statues and artwork installed.

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_115023.jpg
While the dream of almost every average Irani citizen I've met has been to settle in lands of opportunity (as per them) like USA and Canada ; the government thinks otherwise. Anti-west sentiments run high due to continued sanctions from over 3 decades and basic essentials like medicines are out of reach of common folk. Iran has a thriving industrial scene because everything from paper and pens to engines to cars to medicines - they had to manufacture themselves because it was impossible to import because of total embargo. It may be a cheap copy of a popular oversees product (the quality is definitely much better than the Chinese maal that flood markets worldwide) but it gets the job done and that's how they've been surviving for so long most people don't know a different way of life.
Now that the sanctions have been lifted and the economy is opening up to international brands, it would be interesting to see how life changes there.

PS: I got to experience a little slice of history because my hotel where I stayed in Tehran was part of the complex that housed the old US Embassy - the scene for the bloody revolution that's been shown in the movie Argo! This photo above was taken at the gate of the US Embassy.

Note to mods - Please remove this if it an improper photo for the discussion. It is not my intent to promote any communal feelings or start political debates. I am just reporting things as I saw them.

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140724_135814.jpg
Just when you start feeling awkward about all the cars and buses following lane discipline and all traffic rules, you come across sights like these that redeem your faith in humanity! Two wheelers are a menace on the streets but they are thankfully very few in number.

Interesting fact - The two wheeler market is dominated by Bajaj and TVS. Pulsars and Apaches are the most common vehicles you'll see there. Honda and Suzuki are present, but they still sell age old products like the CD100 and other relics from the late 80s to 90s. A pulsar 220 is equivalent to a superbike there to people starved of automotive technology and it's actually illegal to own a bike that displaces more than 250cc!! Similar rule doesn't apply to cars though, so the filthy rich flaunt their Ferraris and Bentleys with abandon lol.

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20140726_065126.jpg
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150920_180455.jpg
The first picture is a traditional Irani breakfast. It's their take on the arabic khaboos ( it's a type of roti, made either of wheat or maida but insanely dry and tough) and they have it with either cream cheese or more commonly feta cheese (goat's milk cheese) and some milk and honey. Salad of fresh cucumber and tomato with some walnuts are always a part of the meal.
Bread for them is either the flat roti pictured above or buns or at the rare places a baguette. The concept of rectangular sliced loaf of bread you get everywhere else in the world is mostly absent there.
The next is one of their style of making beef biryani.

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20141222_074301.jpg
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20141222_074350.jpg
Just as chess originated in India, Iran is home to the game backgammon. It's their national pastime and you find people playing it everywhere. I managed to get my hands on this exquisite hand crafted wooden beauty due to the generosity of this Irani gentleman I worked with(no surprises there anymore) who went out of his way to go personally to the small town where these are handmade and got one from a factory directly. Had I brought this off the shelf in a store in Tehran I would have paid 300% more. It's loosely similar to the game of pagade (which Shakuni beat Yudhistara in the book of Mahabharatha)

Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150102_232236.jpg
They have a very good planetarium right in the middle of this huge park called 'fire and water park'. It truly is one of the most spectacular parks I've ever seen in my life. Just google for images and be spellbound. I visited it at almost 1.30am so was not able to take good pictures. There is no entry/exit timings fixed and it's quite common to see people strolling along well past midnight, soaking in the fresh air and serenity.
Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran-img_20150103_100231.jpg
Multi level car parks are scattered all over so you have a good chunk of cars removed off the streets.

Last edited by GTO : 28th January 2016 at 08:55. Reason: As requested, adding the latest updates to the opening post. Thanks!
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Old 23rd January 2016, 08:55   #3
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Commercial Vehicle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd January 2016, 10:09   #4
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That's a lovely insight into 2 areas not very familiar to us. Oil Rigs and Iran. I had a completely different view of Iran. Your article helped break that perception. Thanks for sharing.

The transportation and communication challenges are sad to see though.
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Old 23rd January 2016, 10:25   #5
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Awesome narrative Shreyas!

Iran actually has a very vibrant car industry, with a large number of manufacturers who launch their own models (although, in the past, most of them were based on Peugeots).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automo...dustry_in_Iran
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Old 23rd January 2016, 10:32   #6
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Superb travelogue! Do you work for a drilling contractor or an operator? I am sure you're aware that, not all oil rigs need to be transported, some are self propelled drillships, just like merchant vessels but equipped to drill deeper wells than conventional jack up rigs; the pictures of which you have posted. Were you there in Iran recently ? How's the oil situation there? They must be a happy bunch now that the sanctions have been lifted.

PS: I used to work for one of the largest drilling contractor until the oil glut hit everyone real bad. Now it's a different contractor that's not as big.
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Old 23rd January 2016, 11:30   #7
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Thank you so much for sharing your travels in Iran. It is one country that I would have want to be born in if given a choice, and I am definitely going to visit it sooner or later. The singular reason is the works of their legendary saint poets - Sheikh Saadi, Hafez, Khayyam...
And good to know that it is a very clean country, I had a different opinion. In general, how do Iranians perceive Indians & India?
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Old 23rd January 2016, 11:54   #8
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Wonderful post there. I am new to offshore engineering field. Just completed one year. Was in onshore engineering design field. Just after joining new company last year I was sent for engineering site survey for a brownfield project to ONGC platform. Stayed and worked there for 10 days. It was a great experience. Especially the food. Awesome. Recently again made a trip to ONGC platform for another site survey. Life's hard on platform but it was a different experience.
As regards to life in Iran, my father stayed there for close to a year for a plant erection. He was staying in Shiraz. This was in 2004-05. Before he left our family was very worried about him going to Iran. But his experiences were truly mind blowing.
The people were very helpful and kind more so towards Indians. Every shop he went they used to gift him things for family. Since he is a diabetic, the hotel where he stayed allowed him to cook himself in their kitchen. Many more wonderful experiences he shared with us.
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Old 23rd January 2016, 12:06   #9
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That was really an eye opener. Like most others, even I had a different view of Iran.
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Old 23rd January 2016, 12:09   #10
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Default Re: Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran

Thoroughly enjoyed reading your narrative shreyascashyap!
I found it more enjoyable and informative, than to a page on wikipedia
Your post certainly highlighted aspects that i never knew of (i have zero knowledge of offshore drilling and oil rigs!). Thanks for sharing soo many aspects of Iran!
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Old 23rd January 2016, 12:11   #11
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Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
That's a lovely insight into 2 areas not very familiar to us. Oil Rigs and Iran. I had a completely different view of Iran. Your article helped break that perception. Thanks for sharing.

The transportation and communication challenges are sad to see though.
I expect things to improve fast now that the sanctions have been lifted. But to be honest, that 1 hour on their domestic flight from Tehran to Asaloyeh was the scariest thing I've done in my life! They used to have 10+ civilian air crashes every year due to lack of availability of spares for regular maintenance.


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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Awesome narrative Shreyas!

Iran actually has a very vibrant car industry, with a large number of manufacturers who launch their own models (although, in the past, most of them were based on Peugeots).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automo...dustry_in_Iran
True, the newer models are well equipped with more "luxury" features like DRLs and dual airbags and stuff like that. But they remain out of reach of a majority of the population. 90% of the population drive on essentially 3-4 local models. Boxy, compact sedans are the most common form of transport you'll see there. Of course, it will be either white or grey


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Originally Posted by RJK View Post
Superb travelogue! Do you work for a drilling contractor or an operator? I am sure you're aware that, not all oil rigs need to be transported, some are self propelled drillships, just like merchant vessels but equipped to drill deeper wells than conventional jack up rigs; the pictures of which you have posted. Were you there in Iran recently ? How's the oil situation there? They must be a happy bunch now that the sanctions have been lifted.
Thank you RJK. I work for a Japanese company that does Fire&Gas safety systems/ Process control automation systems. And no, I was not aware that there were different types of rigs. Thank you for that tidbit. Like I said, this was my first experience with anything related to offshore engineering. I was in Iran till late last year. While there was initial euphoria when the sanctions were lifted, they are taking things cautiously for now because it'll be quite some time before effects can be felt at the grass-root level.


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Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
Thank you so much for sharing your travels in Iran. It is one country that I would have want to be born in if given a choice, and I am definitely going to visit it sooner or later. The singular reason is the works of their legendary saint poets - Sheikh Saadi, Hafez, Khayyam...
And good to know that it is a very clean country, I had a different opinion. In general, how do Iranians perceive Indians & India?
India was one of the few countries that continued trade relations with Iran despite the sanctions. And of course, we have had our 1000+ year history with the Persians anyway. They are extremely fond of Indians, much more so than any other ethnic group. Back in the day, Bollywood movies would be played on weekends on their national TV channel and all the old timers grew up watching legendary movies like sholay, deewar and stuff from the 60s and 70s. In fact, when I was passing through immigration, the officer there saw my passport and once he found out I was from India, he said " Sholaaay!!! Amitabh!!!! Hindiiiii!!! (Hindi is their word for India) and waved me through
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Old 23rd January 2016, 12:50   #12
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Dear Shreyas

A wonderful narration and an indepth insight to the life at rigs.

I have been fortunate enough to be associated with a company that is one of the largest food services caterer to Rigs, Barges and Platforms and holds an over 65% leadership in the same field across India, Middle East and Australia.

Very happy to see that you have enjoyed your stint in Iran and your pictures makes a compelling story in itself.

Though people in barges/platforms have a very tough life physically, the silver lining is normally good food and decent accommodation facilities.

Look forward to more such reviews about your experience in the deep seas.
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Old 23rd January 2016, 13:44   #13
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Great read, Iran seems like a very different place compared to how it is projected in the media! Gives you perspective on how influential western media is!

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd January 2016, 14:21   #14
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Default Re: Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran

Hello. A beautiful writeup and thanx for the insight. Please do write a few do and don'ts about the places you visited. The handshake being one !

Any writeup on the famous food and snacks you tasted.

Thanx in advance.

Regards
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Old 23rd January 2016, 14:44   #15
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Default Re: Life onboard an Oil Rig in the Persian Gulf, Iran

Hey Shreyas,

This was a really informative thread & some really good narration.

Felt like a National Geographic / Discovery Channel episode in print

Thanks for posting
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