It was after midnight, the wind was from the north and the temperature was a little above freezing. A call from the bank let me know we lost 8 million cubic feet of gas and it was my duty to wake someone to go find the problem.
I don't remember who I woke, but I knew before they reached the control room which well was down. The analog meter on 1351-13 was still and I had a pretty good idea it shut in.
The well was a satellite well about a mile from the production platform. It stood alone, without any production equipment, since it was close enough to just pipe to the main platform. We called the boat to go take a look.
Natural gas controls on the platform were simple. Pressure pilots were part of the safety system, which included the pilots and the fire loop. A problem with either would shut the automatic valve and close the well.
It didn't take long to reach the platform. A thorough check revealed no problem, so the gauger felt it was only some moisture in the controls and the well could be put back on line.
I stayed at the platform to slowly turn the manual valve until it was at full pressure. If the CRRBM stayed in the open position, the gauger was right and they would retrieve me when he made the final checks on the main platform.
They left me with a radio. The guager would call, when he was ready for me to start.
Over the next few minutes, the noise from the work boat faded. As they pulled to the main platform, I could barely hear the engines as the boat maneuvered to tie to the structure. When the engines were shut down, the only sounds were the occasional fog horn, the light chop against the structure and the sound of the wind.
There are few experiences in life like the next twenty minutes. I was completely alone, my flashlight provided all the light to be found and the awesome grandeur of a winter night was mine to be enjoyed.
The air was crisp, full of the smell of cold air and found any weakness in my heavy clothes. I pulled my collar up, my sleeves over my gloves and looked up to the stars.
Like myriads of diamond scattered on black velvet, the stars seemed to hang right over my head. Just a simple reach, and I could scrape them from the sky; they'd rain down, like jewels, so I could fill my pockets.
I was awed. Maybe it was the moment, or the splendor of the event, but I was overjoyed with the opportunity. What I observed, and felt, could never be described with words. My soul was touched and nothing could ever describe the feeling.
Eventually, the guager called, I put the well back on line and the boat returned. I was soon back to the platform and found the gauger was on the way back to the living quarters to finish their interrupted sleep.
The rest of the night passed without any more problems. Soon, I woke the cook; then the crew and had my morning meal. The night was over, but the memory will last forever.
In Case You've Wondered
My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.
If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com
One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.
I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.