Works hard to keep 200 rig workers employed

tirsdag 11. mai 2021

The Industri Energi Local Branch in Seadrill is now working hard to find the best possible solution for the more than 200 employees at the mobile drilling rig «West Mira». The rig’s contract was recently terminated – We work hard to avoid downsizing in number of crews, says Kenneth Drageide, leader of the IE Local Branch in Seadrill.

West Bollsta
"West Bollsta" (picture) is sister rig of "West Mira". Photo: Atle Espen Helgesen

The operating company Wintershall Dea recently terminated the contract for Seadrill’s drilling rig «West Mira» following from several serious incidents on the rig.

In 2019, the rig company Northern Drilling transferred its two semi-submersible rigs for rough waters, «West Mira» and «West Bollsta», into a new company named Northern Ocean. It is Seadrill, another rig company in the Fredriksen sphere, which has operated «West Mira» under the contract with Wintershall Dea.

The Local Branch of Industri Energi in Seadrill is now working intensely to achieve the best possible solution for the more than 200 employees on the state-of-the-art drilling rig «West Mira». – We do everything we can do to find the best possible solution for the employees, and to avoid downsizing of crews, says Kenneth Drageide, leader of the IE Local Branch in Seadrill.

Must avoid cold stacking

West Bollsta
Kenneth Drageide, leader IE Local Branch in Seadrill. Photo: Atle Espen Helgesen

Among other things, the IE Local Branch is trying to get the company to agree that «West Mira» will not be put in cold stacking.

-We work together with Seadrill to ensure that the rig is put in a so-called warm stacking. If the rig is put in warm stacking, it will still be manned, while the company tries to find new assignments for the rig. In the event of a cold stacking, the rig will stay alongside at the quay with just a few people on board. But this decision is up to the company Northern Ocean to make, as they own the rig, Drageide explains.

He says that the shop stewards are also in discussions to look at more creative opportunities. – Among other things, we see if any redundant crews may be used on other rigs to cover extra resources where needed, says Drageide.

High level of activity on the shelf

The leader of the local union is happy to see that the activity level on the shelf looks positive ahead.

– Due to the ‘national oil package’ that the authorities initiated last year, the conditions should be right for «West Mira» to obtain a new contract. Now we hope that the employees may use their time on board the rig well for repairs and maintenance until the rig starts on new assignments, he says.

Drageide emphasizes that it is important for both the local union branch and the company to keep the «West Mira» employees in the company.

-This is of great importance, since we then may avoid lengthy processes of crewing the rig with new personnel when a new assignment is obtained. At the same time, we will ensure competence and continuity. If, in the worst case, there will be a downsizing in crews, we will go into dialogue with the company and the other unions to ensure that the process takes place in accordance with the regulations of the Basic Agreement, as is our tradition in Seadrill, says Drageide.