As we came into our approach on the Deepwater Millennium, it felt like I’d never left home – we could still have been offshore from Western Australia for all I knew. Once you get back on the rig, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are because it’s still all the same faces, same rooms and same routine, wherever in the world the well is being drilled. It’s just a big floating office that picks up and moves around the world from one well to the next. No matter where it is, at the end of your hitch, a helicopter will be there to pick you up and start your journey back home – wherever in the world that may be. There really isn’t any other job like working on an offshore oil rig.
I’ve had a chance to reflect on how much I’ve achieved over the 30+ years of my career and how far I’ve come since I was that graduate geologist in Bendigo in 1983. I have packed up and moved the family home eleven times in those 30 years, never regretting any of those moves, as we followed the work. Writing this book has made me realize I’ve worked too hard for too long to give up on the industry now [during a downturn]. I don’t intend to make Chapter 24 the final chapter of my offshore career.
Being single with no relationship commitments and having independent adult children means my life is free to go in any direction I choose to take it, and [I’m] able to take advantage of career opportunities as they arise. It’s both exciting and scary not knowing what the future holds but I’m sure there are lots more adventures ahead of me yet, and more books to write. There are still lots of countries I haven’t worked in, or run marathons in, so the journey continues.
Excerpted with permission from the author. An Inconvenient Life: My Unconventional Career as a Wellsite Geologist. (CreateSpace, July 2016) by Amanda Barlow.
Amanda Barlow is a contract geologist whose 35+ year career includes working within the offshore oil and gas, coal seam gas and minerals industries.
Barlow is also a recreational marathon runner and a published author of three books. She has run 45 marathons in 18 different countries around the world, including the Jungle Marathon in Brazil, which is chronicled in her first published book, Call of the Jungle – How a Camping-Hating City-Slicker Mum Survived an Ultra Endurance Race Through the Amazon Jungle.
Her second book, An Inconvenient Life: My Unconventional Career as a Wellsite Geologist, documents her 35+ year career as a geologist and how she ended up working as a wellsite geologist on offshore oil and gas rigs.
Offshore Oil and Gas PEOPLE: Overview of Offshore Drilling Operations is Barlow’s third book and an overview of what it’s like to work on an oil rig, and the role everyone plays.
She can be contacted through her LinkedIn profile.
Oil and gas operations are commonly found in remote locations far from company headquarters. Now, it's possible to monitor pump operations, collate and analyze seismic data, and track employees around the world from almost anywhere. Whether employees are in the office or in the field, the internet and related applications enable a greater multidirectional flow of information – and control – than ever before.