Today’s post is about long-term security in cementing jobs. After reviewing the comments in the previous two challenges, there is no doubt this group is strong and educated. We have seen a delightful exchange of knowledge and excellent reading during these days of reduced drilling/cementing activity.
Currently, as most of you know, I am out of work, but I have been very busy (I shared a post here on LinkedIn that tells a lot about my current situation – I am re-sending the post to this group), and I apologize for taking so long to send this new challenge, challenge No. 3 about the long-term stability of cementing jobs.
We have already challenged the cement placement (our purpose) in Challenge No. 1 and the cement itself (our instrument) in challenge No. 2. For challenge No. 3, I was thinking about Zonal Isolation Evaluation which is always a controversial topic. Then I remembered that perhaps that is a topic for a later time and post a challenge more personal, something nontechnical, this time. There are 8,979 members in this group, so I thought that something more generic yet relevant to all of us might be useful.
And here, Challenge No. 3:
Introduction: like most of you, I have done so many different cementing jobs. In fact, everything around cementing… Helper, cement operator, supervisor, field engineer, operations manager, marketing, sales, contracts, technical manager, cementing specialist, service companies, IOC’s, you name it, I did it … but, I always liked to call myself “just a cementer”.
So here the question, I hope you will help me to answer:
How can a “cementer” remain a “cementer” these days?
As usual, some clues:
There are a lot of smart people in this industry and in cementing jobs, but the industry as a whole doesn’t look very smart sometimes (as we can see by the actions taken so far). So, When the upturn happens, and later when the industry finds higher steady oil prices, is it going to be as much fun as it was before? What could this new era mean for cementing jobs? We enjoyed some popularity after the Macondo event, but what now?
And on the other hand, there is a bright new world out there…
I do apologize in advance for those expecting something more technically oriented this time.
Rich Carnegie This is a good question actually and has far-reaching ramifications. My response: A Cementer can remain a Cementer in this day and age, by doing the basic fundamental Cementers tasks, to the very best of their ability. This means not cutting corners. It means doing the hard work, the maintenance that enables every job to be executed properly. Not just hoping that the job goes well, but ensuring, to the very best of your ability, that unless an event out of your control occurs, the Cement Unit will respond as operated. This entire process begins with knowledge and learning. It then morphs into experience. The job is prepared for in advance, via preventative maintenance, and correct chemical calculation, adherence to the lab report, and care taken to perform the job as requested and within the lab report testing parameters. I do not like to be called a Cement Engineer. I am a Cementing Supervisor, and along with it the responsibility to perform Rig Cement Operations.
James Curtis Good answer Rich.
Mark Rainey I agree with Rich hard work pays off.
Bimal Bhattacharya We usually have a habit of noting points for clarification, writing notes, collecting data relevant to cementing and so on. We keep these aside to revisit them when time permits in future. This is so because of time restriction while on the job and some sort of inability to address the points as we discover them. Thus, many of us will find a good time to go through them, study, discuss, learn, share and enhance understanding about cementing. Years of invaluable experience followed by self-learning activities will be the right combination for any skilled cementer. This always comes to a very few because many aspiring cementers do not get sufficient good experience and others do not get the opportunity to learn theory and clear out pending issues, relevant to cementing. For those already preoccupied with the industry directly, the points well narrated by Rich Carnegie apply. For a cementer having a passion for learning and contributing; both the options are rewarding in the long run.
Josh Linebarger With the market the way it is right now the best way a Cementer can stay a Cementer is quite simple. Maintain the highest level of Service Quality for your customers.
Like Rich explained, there are lots of things that go into doing that on a job by job basis. Maintenance, pre/post job checks of equipment, cement/chemical inventories, understanding of the job objectives, pumping the slurry as designed, etc.
To add to what Bimal said, make yourself a leader within your company; do your best to stand out and make yourself irreplaceable. If you are young, remain eager, willing to learn, ask questions, volunteer, and never say NO to an opportunity. If you are a seasoned hand, become a leader, a mentor, stay motivated, stay optimistic, train and teach the younger hands (not just how to operate the equipment but theory as well), and also never say NO to an opportunity.
Another thing to consider is to cross-train yourself with another service. Service tools would be a good one.
Bimal Bhattacharya Well described Josh. A Cementer provides services on the job based on available resources, equipment, tools, operational plans etc. Most of the time, he does not get an opportunity to know intricacies of operating procedures, including lab test reports and simulations which are compiled and sent from base office. In this aspect, professionals of service, drilling contract and operating companies are in the loop. If the cementer acquires skills, knowledge and points incorporated in well planning by getting involved in an active/passive manner, he will become a thorough professional and cementer of unique capability. SOPs applied, technology selected, constraints considered, quality of human resource available, the condition of cementing unit & equipment, well conditions, guidelines & regulations in force, extent and commitment of multi-disciplinary segments on site and at the back end are some of the key inputs for cementer to perform. A cementer can excel by blending all of them to the best of his ability.
Paul Hesse I agree with all about hard work and maintaining high levels of quality in our services, but, unfortunately, when there is no work or work levels are so low, one can not afford to keep employees. The unfortunate part is that there are potential “great cementers” who may be lost to the industry forever!
Michael Gurley I have just recently lost my position due to the downturn in cementing work. What I would like to know is if there are resources one can get access to, other than a chat channel such as this, where I can keep up with events in the industry. Now that my resource avenue has been cut off, I would like to continue learning about the industry as my knowledge base is still limited and feels like what little I have can easily fade away with very little access.
Fabian Steinacher Rich, great summary. From my point of view and experience, I think that the days of just being a professional cementer are over. Too much bad reputation has put our branch somewhere in a corner that we haven’t deserved in all these years. The future cementers job will be to look across the edge of his abilities and not just to hope that the jobs are going to be successful. Learn better to communicate, and get involved in new challenges. What I have experienced that especially our branch is too focused sometimes to realize the real problems that occur. So having people with different backgrounds in the team could help to get over this issue rather than just doing a daily job or operation.
Bimal Bhattacharya, The market for any industry, will expand or shrink as the process is dynamic. So, when it shrinks; some workforce will be out of the industry. This is also the time to address pending activities and explore other markets. A professional who did well in one sector could repeat good performance in some other sector. It would be prudent to retain the core competency in cementing, update, enhance skill and knowledge while exploring opportunities elsewhere suitable to oneself. Even I know some people living decent lives by merely managing their investments! Uncommon developments call for radical thinking and unconventional decision-making.
Madan Mohan A cementer will remain a Cementer irrespective the period he is passing due to his acquired specialisation & experience over the period. Moreover, the recent trend in oil price is a positive sign for us all and brings hope for those who are temporarily out of business. Anyhow, my experience says that industry is still looking for capable & proven professionals in cementing who have the potential to improve the quality & performance of services. So, it’s time for introspection to restore our energy & potential for meeting the demands of industry in the present context.
Bimal Bhattacharya Usually the operating companies do not employ cementing experts because cementing service companies report to drilling experts of operating companies for their work. This is due to the perception among drilling experts that they understand cementing to the extent that cementing experts are not required. This perception is not going to change in the foreseeable future. Hence we will not see any change the way cementing activities are planned, executed and evaluated in the future. The fact of the matter is that there is a genuine shortage of cementing experts both in service and operating companies.
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