Well, it’s been fun and games here. I’m just back on the boat after a brief sojourn ashore. We had a problem with the equipment and/or the product we were installing and so the offshore manager, the project engineer and myself were summoned ashore for a meeting with all the big-wigs from Subsea7 and BP. We went off by helicopter on thursday afternoon, driven up to New Orleans, flight to Houston where we arrived at around 10pm. (all this after having done nightshift.) The following morning, a brief meeting at the subsea7 office with the project manager, operations manager, before going to the main meeting. Being a mere pawn in the game, what I haven’t figured out is why the main meeting with BP was held at the offices of Technip, who are one of our main competitors. Anyway the main reason for the meeting was to find out what went wrong and how best to complete the project. Our view (Subsea7 collectively, not just us grunts) is that there is nothing wrong with the equipment, the problem is a mis-match between the type of pads on the tensioner (which were specifically requested by BP)and the outer coating of the umbilical. Obviously, a number of the BP people did not want the conclusion to be that they had made the wrong decision regarding the type of pad that they had insisted on. The Technip people present wanted the conclusion to be that their main rivals were either incompetent or using faulty equipment. Needless to say, this led to an interesting meeting with, no matter how much we proved that the situation was black, being continually asked, ‘ahh, but what if it is white?’ 8 hours later we got out of the meeting with no clear acceptance from BP that the equipment is not a fault, but concession that there, MAY be a problem with the pads. After the meeting we couldn’t get a flight back to New Orleans, and a helicopter couldn’t be arranged til 3pm the following day anyway, we had another night in Houston before flying to New Orleans a 10am. By this time it had been decided to take the ship into port, so the helicopter was cancelled and when we arrived in New Orleans we were driven back down to the boat. Now we’re changing the pads to the type that we would have preferred to use in the first place. We are going out to the field to do some test which (we hope!) will prove that there is noting wrong with the equipment and that our metal pads are better suited to this product than the plastic pads that BP had insisted on. So maybe tomorrow night we’ll have a ‘told you so’ situation!

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