November/December 2011
Your Letters

Outsourced automation hand

I enjoy your "Talk to Me" articles, Mr. Lydon.

My client outsourced me as a full-time I&E technician to work in a mature Gulf of Mexico (GoM) field. Upon employment, I was designated to perform the monthly platform safety system inspections required by API RP 14C. Over time, my job scope grew, and I had the privilege to take on additional responsibilities as the field technician. Soon I was satisfying my client's automation and technical needs at all 11 GoM platforms. And what a challenge that was. I logged 586 service calls requiring my intervention between my regular BOEMRE monthly inspection duties. It didn't take too long before my client's systems gained reliability and the call-outs for me to come "assist" began to wane. I'm still working in the Eugene Island field, but I have more time to read my InTech magazine. Today is the first time I read the electronic edition.

Earlier this year, our production superintendent asked me to come to his office in town and invited me to become a company man-for about half of my pay, with an ultimatum-so to speak. He offered me about $60,000 - $70,000 a year less than my current take home pay. His offer was bittersweet news as I enjoyed hearing him speak for about an hour of his confidence in me, all the while thinking that I couldn't take the pay cut. I think I try harder because of the money. It's my reward. He said that he would give me a few days to think about his offer, however, I felt the squeeze of the ultimatum. On my way home from this meeting fear surfaced as I wondered who would hire me at my age. (I'm trying not to inform you how old I am.) But personally, I feel like I'm being paid not to retire.

Well, I went back to work for my client for another hitch, but immediately upon arriving offshore, I packed my bags and trunk and sent them in by boat to the shore base for later pick up. I asked the dispatcher to hold my baggage for me at the dock. It was a risky time for me and others. The job market was soft in Louisiana, and my client outsourced an Optimization Program to help them streamline their business. In other words, they were cutting back, reducing costs, etc. I heard these programs were popular. Well, the production superintendent called me at my residence a few hours after I arrived home from my hitch, after his dispatcher informed him that I cleaned out my office and sent in my belongings. The superintendent surprised me by ordering me to get back out there next hitch, and that I wasn't going anywhere.

I'll tell you, he made me as happy as a tick on a dog. Things really worked out for me as an outsourced automation hand-and my client continues to shell out over $140,000 a year for my services working 14 days on and 14 days off. I applaud your correctness when you suggested that competition for productive hands in our field of work has precedence over just about all other things, even cost. I'm not that nervous anymore. And thank you for your efforts.

InTech reader PJ

Street lights power

Just now getting time to look at the July/August InTech, and a statement I read in there jumps out at me to the point that I MUST send you a comment.

On Page 11, in the "Automation by the Numbers" article, the last sentence in the "80" section states, "The network of street lighting also emits over 1.6 million tons of CO2 a year."

What? How does lighting emit CO2? Maybe the power plants that provide electricity for those lights emit CO2, but how do you know they are not powered by a nuclear plant, which emits ZERO CO2? Or since they are in The Netherlands, they could be powered by wind power. I don't think that sentence is even needed; just tell us how much money they save. That's all we really need to know.

Dave Land


You caught us on this one; it is not technically accurate. You are correct this is not accurately stated unless the street lights are emitting an open flame. Also, the nature of the power source is important.

Reader feedback is always appreciated and makes us better.

Bill Lydon, InTech chief editor