Saturday, November 20, 2004


I went back to the Ukraine on Tuesday 26th October, stayed until Monday 8th November, had a five day break then returned to Ukraine on Sunday 14th November returning again on Thursday 18th November. Our first plane broke down at Birmingham airport making us miss our connection at Schiphol, so we were re-routed via Berlin Tegel Airport, from where we continued to Kiev arriving 5 hours late. We were then driven South-East to the camp set-up by our clients, the Poltava Petroleum Company. This is a comfortable camp consisting of a large number of interconnected Atco units, the nearest large town is Novi Sanjari, the nearest small town and the nearest bar is at Sokolova Balka.
We were able to test all our equipment before being required to log. Only a short section of the original openhole section was available, we set up and ran in our Compact Memory Logging system using the Shuttle. The required logs were the standard combination including the lateralog. Eveything went smoothly and logs were subsequently produced. It was decided to clean out the rest of the openhole section and try logging again. So a few days later after Krakow Oil and Gas had finished reaming, we were called to the site. We rigged up our kit and after reaming down the well for 14 hours and getting stuck several times, with our tools garaged in the BHA we were still able to get a good set of logs. I'm the engineer and I was impressed with my own kit. this completed the work in the first stage of our visit. We had little chance to see any sites. We did visit the only bar a few times and get drunk with Dian an admirable Dowell Cement hand who introduced me to an excellent Ukrainian cognac called Jean Jack. We also had one rapid visit to the poorly stocked shops in Novi Sanjari. The terrain in the area is very flat, very fertile farmland with little of interest to a man of the hills. The dominant language is Russian which is good for me because I was able to learn a little whilst in Kazakhstan a few years ago.
On our second visit we set up on the same well, where a small sidetrack had been drilled and produced logs uneventfully. As the job came to an end I got a phone call from Aberdeen asking me to pack my bags and get to Holland as soon as possible because Shell were calling. Just after this I started to suffer a bad case of food poisoning. I spent the next day driving and flying back to Holland unable to eat and needing the toilet regularly, suffering bad stomach cramps, headache and feeling as weak as a kitten. At Schiphol I phoned base and found I had been diverted to Aberdeen for a safety course required by Shell. I arrived in Aberdeen, found a hotel, phoned my wife and went to sleep.
The next day I attended RGIT in Aberdeen for an Offshore Survival refresher course, which included famous helicopter underwater escape exercise, which is bad enough when your healthy, but is awful when you are recovering from food poisoning. It took me two attempts to get out of the helicopter and I was the last to surface. I keep my eyes open underwater and I could see that the divers were tempted to help because they thought I was a little slow. At the end I flew back home, because the Dutch job was delayed. This was my first flight on a Jetstream 41 run by Eastern Airways. Arrived home late and unexpected, as usual, looking forward to a weekend at home.