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An Interview With A Roughneck Essay

3679 words - 15 pages

On a bright sunny, but breezy afternoon my friend Jack and I made our way out towards Delta 18, an oil rig that he works on. On this day its location is close to the town of Smallville, near the intersection of county roads 34 and 51. The derrick of the rig rises up from the middle of a field, standing tall and white, like the Eiffel Tower, surrounded by large blue, yellow, or white containers. There is a small sign, letting you know that this is the entrance of Delta 18; this dirt path is made from all the trucks which move the rig to its current location. There are approximately 30 different companies, which assist in making the location, where the rig stands. The average speed to go down this path is 10 MPH, if any of the supervisors see dirt flying, someone will be in trouble. This path is only wide enough for one vehicle, so sometimes it is a bit of a wait, to go in the opposite direction. Since its virgin ground, meaning it has not been traversed much, it’s a bumpy, rough ride to the rig.

The rig is surrounded by several large over-sized containers, most look like rail cars, seen on the trains as they pass upon the tracks, and are considered buildings. These buildings serve from anything such as a room for someone to mix gel and caustic with the mud, along with a platform where a Peak company man goes to from time to time to check out these mud mixtures; this is an important step, because the fluids are there to lessen the friction of the drill bit churning into the Earth, it acts as a lubricant. There are other rail cars used for such things as a boiler room, which creates the steam lines; along with one called the light house, where a satellite dish sits on top of, and holds power generators inside. Among all this are two trailers, the kind seen in a trailer park; which are used by the company man, tool pusher, and a geologist. The derrick sits on a platform, which houses a canopied room holding several motors, and mufflers; all this makes the area sound like a bunch of jet engines getting ready to take off. On one side of the derrick there is a building called the dog-house, which accommodates several useful areas. One of these such rooms is the main area occupied by the driller where he goes to run the drill bit, another has lockers and is considered the changing room for the crews, and the last section is the main room used by all for safety meetings.

This is the area I’ve come, to watch and observe a group of people known as roughnecks. Les Sillars, who authored an article in the Alberta Report, a Newsmagazine states, “Oil rig workers have long been known as rugged, high-paid individualists who perform dangerous, grimy work for long hours in remote locations--with no wimps allowed” (Sillars 22). This is not only a vivid description, of these workers, but an accurate portrayal of how Roughnecks, or Rig Hands, would characterize themselves. Many in the general public also carry this kind of...

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