[Posted on June 3rd, 2013 by Gulfland Structures]
Workers aboard offshore drilling rigs make a valuable contribution to the economy by extracting the petroleum that keeps millions of vehicles on the road and which is used as a raw material in thousands of everyday products. In previous decades drill rig workers lived in sparse, crowded quarters that offered little comfort, little privacy and little contact with loved ones onshore. However, due to improvements in the quality of offshore oil rig living quarters, modern drill rig workers are housed in more comfortable accommodations with all the conveniences of home.
Additional Living Space
Most modern drill rigs have been outfitted with modular housing units that provide hotel-like cabins for workers. Instead of a large communal barracks, one to four workers now occupy a space that may include a sitting area, satellite television, computer with Internet service and even a kitchenette. Because of the ease of installation of these modular units, many older rigs have also been retrofitted with this type of housing. The offshore oil rig living quarters, which are constructed onshore and moved onto the rig by crane, can be connected with other units, stacked to save space and removed if no longer needed.
Modern amenities found on drill rigs include workout areas, game rooms, mini-theaters and snack bars. Bathroom facilities are also significantly improved over the facilities available to workers in previous decades and resemble the bathrooms found in homes or hotels.
Contact with Family and Friends
Before Internet service became available on drilling rigs, contact with the outside world was extremely limited. However, today’s workers can communicate daily with family and friends using email, instant messaging, Skype and Facebook. Drill rig employees are also able to receive pictures and even view onshore events, like a dance recital or baseball game, live via streaming video. This type of contact is especially important because many workers on drill rigs are young men with young families. These workers are able to be “present” at important family events that they would miss if Internet technology was not available.
Drill rigs operate 24 hours a day and workers must try to relax and sleep while noisy drilling equipment is running. Modern drill rig housing units are designed to block much of the ambient noise, providing a better opportunity for rest and sleep.
Improvements, such as noise reduction, that enhance worker comfort can mean that workers get better quality sleep, thus increasing worker alertness and safety. In addition to being designed for greater comfort, drill rig housing modules are also designed to withstand the high winds and storms that are commonplace at sea.
The most popular fringe benefit to working on a drill rig is the restaurant-quality meals waiting for workers at the end of a long shift. Most rigs feature large, modern kitchens and dining areas, and drilling companies hire professional chefs to prepare meals and snacks that are delicious and healthy. Menus generally include everything from steaks, seafood and fried chicken to pasta and pizza, as well as freshly-prepared vegetables, fruit and desserts.
All of the above factors have led to greater satisfaction for the workers who call a drill rig home for weeks at a time. Improved offshore accommodations have helped to make a demanding job more pleasant for both the workers and their families onshore.