Spectrum 789. Life on the rigs

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Tono kōrero mai

Spectrum visits the Maui gas field off the Taranaki coast to talk to those who work on the platforms.

Jerome Cvitanovich travels 35km from Oaonui on the Taranaki coast by helicopter with four other oil men to Maui-A gas field, the mother platform of the two rigs in the Maui field where about 90% of New Zealand’s gas resources are found.

Fifty men keep production going around the clock for 365 days of the year. Interview with a rig fireman about people’s reaction on arrival; platform supervisor, Jim Wrathall talks about women, gas production and hazardous risks highlighted by the Piper Alpha disaster that occurred in the North Sea in 1988.

Interview with process operator, Kevin Fraser on night shift as he monitors UV detectors and gas readings. Ollie Alford, former rig diver and supervisor of a highly specialised saturation diving work project between platforms, talks about the difficulties of working 400 feet down and at 200 psi.

After the weekly safety drill Cvitanovich joins Head Chef and Manager of Catering, Tony Meshefsky in the galley where he describes the menu. One of the janitors explains how he and his wife work as a team to accommodate family and his work on the rig, and that the Superintendent runs a rigorous weekly hygiene inspection.

On Maui-B Rig supervisor, Fred Brooks from Louisiana describes various job titles and a “Kiwi” working on the drill floor explains that he works 28 days on, 28 off, which for $100,000 per year is better money than working as an engineer on land. To conclude the programme, Maui-A Supervisor Jim Wrathall explains how the rig has become a part of his home and though cynicism can set in after a number of years it is inevitable that one develops an affinity with the platform.

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Year 1993

Reference number 15042

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits RNZ Collection
Cvitanovich, Jerome, Producer

Duration 00:40:00

Date 02 May 1993

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