The Offshore Lip Sync Champions

There’s a movie coming out soon about the Deepwater Horizon accident. We were discussing at work whether anyone around here would want to go see it, and whether a movie could tell the story honestly. In this town, Deepwater Horizon was big news, and the accident confirmed BP’s status as the most hated company in Houston just when we were beginning to turn on Haliburton.

Most older people around here have some connection to the offshore oil industry. We know working on a platform or a service ship is difficult and dangerous work, and I am sure the film will present it this way. But it’s also boring. Ships and rigs are highly automated, and while the whole crew may work 24 hours straight at times, most of the time there’s little to do, nowhere to go, and few choices about who to interact with.

This is usually stressful, but sometimes crews get creative:

This video was filmed on the Bourbon Peridot. It began as a little experiment to see if two crew members had repaired a camera correctly, but soon involved the entire crew.

Here’s what the ship looks like:


It’s an offshore service ship that specializes in moving heavy things very precisely up to 3000 meters under the ocean. Bourbon Peridot is also equipped for environmental containment and remediation. Here’s a list of similar ships you can hire from Bourbon Offshore. The Deepwater Horizon well was capped by a similar ship, but not one from Bourbon.

I found the racial dynamics of the crew typical from what I know of the offshore business. The Bourbon crew was mixed European and West African, the Subsea 7 crew seemed to be mostly Scottish. Catering crew seems to be Filipino provided by a French contractor. I am sure the quality of food is excellent. Alternating hard labor and boredom will kill morale without the pleasures of tasty and varied food.

I am a bit concerned about the future of Subsea 7. Corporate registry is in Luxembourg, center of operations is based in London. Physical assets are based in Scotland and Texas. Not sure how that will work in a post-Brexit world. Maybe Subsea 7 will move to Houston where they already have three different divisions? I noticed in the credits that there were folks from Hess and Cameron in the video. Subsea 7 should follow them home.

It does seem to be an all-male world on the ship, but women have been part of the offshore world for decades in the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s a reddit thread from a crew member who I think works the same area as the Deepwater Horizon. She isn’t allowed to give specifics, but it sounds like the same area.

And I would recommend that everyone listen to Toto’s “Africa” on decent sound equipment. No computer speakers, no earbuds. Dust off the old vinyl if you got it and play it on 70-90’s stereo equipment. Mp3’s are fine too, I just ask for high wattage and big speakers. This was still the age of wide dynamic range. Next Musical Monday will be about dynamic range and the Loudness War of the 1990’s



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