Gulp and Grub – Offshore Edition!

I apologize for the short hiatus, but duty calls, and I had to make a trip offshore to bring home the greasy bacon.

As part of my job, I’m required to make occasional visits to the gas production platforms located offshore of Sarawak. Being kinda new to the job, it feels like I’m mucking about most of the time, and getting in the way of the seasoned operators, who keep constant vigil whilst the dangerous yet lucrative Hydrocarbons flow forth from the Earth, processed at this platform to the required export quality. The product is subsequently piped onshore and liquified into LNG (Liquified Natural Gas), which is then exported to the Asian customers, notably the Japanese, who rely on such Natural gas to power their cities.

As depicted below, it’s definitely quite a spectacle when boarding the platform. With a deep humming noise emanating from the furnaces and power generators, it certainly feels like I’m going into the belly of the beast, armed with my wits and some distant hope that my engineering knowledge will serve some eventual purpose.

Entering the Dragon
Entering the Dragon

Folks here work their asses off, although occasionally and surprisingly with some panache. Shutdown periods are particularly brutal, when much maintenance work has to be done with a tight deadline. With the managers onshore constantly hounding them, operations have to make do with what they have, and forge on to finish their task, sometimes for 24 hours straight just to keep the plant running and the people safe.

While waiting for the light at the end of that elusive tunnel, nothing quite gets their spirits up than some decent offshore grub. With break and meals interspersed every 3 hours, from 06:00 till 21:00, it keeps the stamina up and morale relatively manageable. One could get a decent Roti Canai, Sarawak Laksa, fried noodles, and raft of other Malaysian staples. It’s no L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, but after keeping the place from falling apart and fire fighting (figuratively speaking, of course), hell, this will definitely do.

Here’s the Sarawak Laksa that was served in the mess hall. Definitely a respectable offering, which satiated my constant cravings.

Offshore Sarawak Laksa
Offshore Sarawak Laksa

Of course, with an abundance of food available, your body weight can easily rise to astronomical levels within a short span of time. Although there’s a reasonable amount of cardio whilst walking about the platform, one still needs to stave off the break time donuts encrusted with calorifically generous amount of sugar, deep fried prawn crackers, and that god damn tempting cheesecake in the fridge!

Although most folks will never get a chance to taste such offerings, do know that these hardworking men are fed well, albeit just a tad prodigiously.

Now I’m happily back home, and enjoying another wonderful home cooked meal at the Vintage Tea House. I do think back about my offshore stay, which was arduous, but rather satisfying to see the plant eventually up and running. I do have an immense amount of respect for these folks, who day-in and day-out work in a hazardous and challenging environment. Truly the unsung heroes of this industry.

Now I best get back to the gym and burn that offshore weight, as Japan beckons!


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