Today finds my three other crewmembers and I working on a rig in the vicinity of Stanley, ND. We are putting in a string of about 7000 feet of 7 inch pipe. This has been a mostly unremarkable job, which is usually for the best. I’m on break now, but this is shaping up to be a 23 hour job.
We have an extra cold North West wind to keep us company while we work, with a little bit of blowing snow for good measure. I have to climb up into the derricks (that is the truss tower on the rig) to retrieve our cable when we rig down at the end of the job.
One crazy thing did happen today. On our drive over, I was in our large flatbed tong truck about 300 yards behind our dually Dodge “chase truck” n 70 MPH, the speed limit, when I saw a tire come off the rear side of the Dodge. It rocketed up a steep bank and disappeared. The chase truck driver hadn’t even noticed! I quickly called him and told him to stop. The remaining tire was bent inward by the time they stopped. The lug nuts were gone and the tire was half an inch from coming off. The truck would have flipped as it was heavily loaded. I went back for the errant tire. It had climbed a 20 foot bank, jumped the top of the hill, and by the tracks had been airborne several times. Using my Indian scout tracking skills ;), I found the tire on a barb wire fence 100 feet down the hill.
We all piled in the tong truck and continued to the job. Not to be dramatic, but near death experiences are weekly occurrences in the oilfield.