Tag Archives: Work

Topsides Jack Up Video

Sometimes it’s hard to explain what we’re doing here in Korea and some of the crazy cool things that we’re getting to be a part of. This video is an example of one of those awesome things – in order to be transported to Russia, the Topsides had to be raised up in preparation to go on the barge that will that will take it there. A specialty contractor came in to do this for our project – it lifted the more than 42,000 Te Topsides that we work on every day up another ~20m. It was really interesting to watch this all come together – it was pretty remarkable to see it when it was finally lifted, too. To me, this is one of many reasons being an engineer is awesome – you don’t just get to see this on videos, but you get to see it in person and watch things happen that others may not think possible. I think that’s pretty darn cool. What do you think?

Secret Drag Chain

Both being engineers and working in the same office, it can get a bit overwhelming because everything seems to be about work. This only happens if you let it, though, and Ryan and I have found that working together is even better when you add a little fun during the work day. Ryan’s job has him out in the field more than I am, so he will give me challenges to find different things on the platform. For several days he gave me the challenge to find a particular piece of equipment on the platform. I looked all around and was not having any glimpse of success and every day he would ask me, “Have you found the Secret Drag Chain?” and I always had to say “Not yet.” Yet being the key word there. Finally one day I was looking for something completely different and realized what I had stumbled upon….

Secret Drag Chain

There it was! Right in the picture behind me – a small drag chain that is hidden on top of the workshops. I happened to be there checking out some things with another engineer and I asked him to take my picture (I’m pretty sure he thought I was a little crazy for taking a picture here). I texted it to Ryan immediately with the caption, “Look what I found…” You can tell by the big smile on my face that I was really excited to have finally found it! And needless to say, he was impressed as well.

Traffic Jam Shipyard Style

Ryan snapped this awesome picture of a traffic jam in the shipyard on his way home. He’s sitting in his car behind the bongo trucks waiting for the block to be transported down the road.

Shipyard Traffic Jam

The shipyard builds the ships or projects in pieces (also called “blocks”) and then they put them together in another area – it’s almost like a puzzle. They move them around to different areas in the yard at different stages during the fabrication on these huge transporters, called Kamags.  The Kamags can raise and lower to get under the different pieces to then move them around to wherever they need to go. We see them moving things around all day every day – sometimes requiring 2 Kamags side by side because the blocks are so large – the scale of the things they build is mind blowing sometimes.

Picture courtesy of Kamag

Many of the blocks are so large that they block (no pun intended) the roads in the shipyard and cause a traffic jam because they move slowly and there’s no way around them. Sometimes it will lengthen your commute and even though it can be a bit frustrating, you just have to remind yourself that of all the ways to be stuck in one place, this is a pretty unique circumstance to do it in.

Hard at Work

One of the best parts about working in a Korean shipyard is the location. To make it easy to deliver their product (primarily ships), they set up their operation on the water so that they can essentially act as their own port and have materials come in and out as conveniently as possible. In Korea, this leads to a very pretty landscape for us to enjoy while we are at work – the mix of mountains and water is just awesome. This picture was taken of me while I was making some sketches of some things that we need to change to make sure everything will work properly when we start moving the drilling rig. I’m sitting on a skid beam for the drill rig on our platform. When we go offshore, the rig will move along these beams to get to each well slot. The funny thing about this picture is that the actual subject of this picture is the handrail behind me…I was in the shot by accident, but I thought it turned out to be a pretty neat picture so here it is.

Hard at Work

True Life: Female Engineer

One of my friends recently encouraged me to write a little more about my day to day life because I’m in a somewhat unique circumstance being the only expat wife who works on the project with her husband and also one of the only girls in the field. Since a picture is worth 1000 words, I thought I would include a funny picture I took this week at work:

DSME BathroomI walk by this every day on my way to the platform and it always makes me chuckle. I wonder how many people the left side is designed for and why it’s different from the right side seeing as they appear to be the same size; however, as there is no spot for me in this one, I will never know. Don’t feel too bad, though, further into the yard, there is a bathroom facility that has a door marked “woman” so they do have a place for the few of us that work down there and trust me, it is just as charming…and pungent. Oh, the joys of field portapotties! I doubt that engineering programs recruiting women would want to show this as the true life of a female engineer, but it’s how it really is and in all honesty, it’s a small downside compared to the fun of being out in the field and getting some hands on learning.

Let me know if you’re interested in hearing more and I’ll start to write about my experiences a bit more often…

Work on Sunday?!

Sundays are precious because site assignments like we have here are extremely busy and lately we’ve had to work on Saturdays as well which makes Sundays our only full day off.  One week, there was an exciting work event occurring on a Sunday and we decided to head in on that treasured day off. I know you probably think that we’re crazy but as engineers, we both like to see new and exciting things and this Sunday offered that very opportunity. Our project had a big lift of the drilling derrick onto our Topsides…they had to bring in a special crane to do the lift and so we went to go watch.

It made for a fun and unique photo op, too!

Erin & Ryan at the Derrick Lift

Erin & Ryan at the Derrick Lift

Quite a few of the other young engineers came to watch as well, so we’re not the only crazy ones!

Offshore Emergency Training

The plan as we know it for Ryan and I is to go Offshore Russia once the platform we are building here in Korea sails to its final location next summer. In order to prepare for this, they sent me to BOSIET which stands for Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training. I headed to the training center in Busan on Thursday and our training began. The training was 2 days and the morning was power point presentation material on the basics and then the afternoon was full of practical exercises.

The practical exercises in the afternoon all took place in the pool. Seeing as pictures and videos will tell the story the best, I’ve put in a bunch. :)


This is the group of us with our instructor in the suits that they’re going to make us wear – said to be waterproof and complete with Emergency Breathing and Life Vest inside!


We had to get into the Escape Craft, get lowered down to the water, and then exit – it was certainly very hot and smelled like fiber glass…not a place I would want to spend much time.

Then we moved onto the helicopter exercises….

Here we are in the water practicing with our rebreathers – you breathe into it and it recirculates that breath for you to breath instead of holding your breath – gives you about a minute of air

All strapped into the helicopter – simulating a landing on land (not in the water)

Ready to go for the training!

They had divers in the water to make sure we got out safely

If you’re looking at this picture, I’m the one in the front left (Helmet 5)

Preparing to Ditch (crash into the water)

We had to do 6 exercises total – 3 times this way where you sink into the water this way and then have to get out through the window

The other 3 exercises are done as if the helicopter capsizes – the video shows an example of where we did this. We had to use the rebreather and escape through the window…you’ll notice that I’m the first one out – my survival instincts are strong :)

The rest of the day we spent doing some other exercises such as getting into a raft and then being rescued to safety with a harness. What a great day of training…I’m really glad that I learned everything that I did but I REALLY hope that I never have to put any of it into practice.

Unfortunately I didn’t grab any pictures of our exercises on the second day, but it was all about fire safety, so we had to maneuver around a smoke filled room to get out and then also use several types of fire extinguishers to put out fires. It was really great training!

Ryan should be heading to the training in the next couple of months so we’ll be sure to post any pictures of his experiences, too!
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Orange Coveralls

Up to this point, I have been posting about the things that we have been up to on the weekends, so I thought it was due time for a post on what we’re doing during the week. In a word…work…in orange coveralls. Ryan spends a big portion of his day on the Topsides platform that we are building here in Korea. I’ve been doing my best to do the same because it is such a great learning experience! We’re learning a lot and having fun with this experience!

Two Engineers working together on an Oil & Gas Platform being built in Korea and then shipped to Russia – such a great experience! :)

A couple of weeks, I stuck around to watch one of the latest blocks be set on the platform – it was really cool to see it come over our heads and then be set on top of the platform! Here’s a few pictures for you to enjoy!

Balancing the block on my hand, haha

Me standing in front of the block as they set it on the platform

Our friend Liz standing in front of the block

Several weeks ago, Ryan was asked to present a safety topic to the fabrication workers on our project – there were over 1,000 people that attended! It was translated into Korean as he spoke so that they knew what he was talking about. :)

Ryan presenting at a Safety Speech to the fabrication workers

All of the fabrication workers paying close to attention to Ryan :)

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