Well things have been interesting for sure. Yesterday was my first day back from the rigs (30 day stretch). I didn't want it to end. Spent some half days at the shop in Minot and hopefully (crosses fingers) will be going out tomorrow night. I brought my car out to man camp which made going into Williston rather convenient but caused problems on the return trip as crews got shuffled around in the month and a good chunk of the people I work with don't have a CDL. So my car stayed there for the (hopefully) few days I'll be in Minot. I mention this for those people thinking of bringing their cars to mancamp. Something to consider. If everyone has a CDL then there is no problem obviously... unless your super has one with the idea.
There is wi-fi there, just not much time. The branch I work for has contracts with 2 companies. Depending on which one one works for determines your amount of free time, place you stay, driving, etc. The contract I don't work for has 14 hour shifts and typically drives to and from the site everyday. There are two shifts and if you start on days by the end of the well you are typically on nights. (14-hr not 12-hr shifts
) There's also between 2 and 7 days off between projects but you stay in Minot. These people are paid from the time they leave Minot to the time they come back. (17-19 hrs/day on the rigs... ~8/day @ the shop)
Under the contract I work for we stay at one of the man camps in Williston. We have 12 hour shifts and typically < 18 hrs downtime between wells. So we just stay out there. On our contract we work days for about 2 weeks then go to nights for the next two. Our branch has a policy of paying 14.5 hours when out on location. So for 12 hrs of work we get paid 14.5 everyday. There was one occassion last job where frac broke down for over 24 hours. We did a partial rig down and went to patronize a local "establishment," Heartbreakers. We got paid for that too.... since we're on location. Apparently before frac went 24/7, they broke down a lot. Hence the wireline crews had lots of downtime... let's just say we're well known at the club, LOL. I won't get into details just use your imagination.
With this post I'll probaly do avg. day / man camp life and in the next one or two more on the job stuff. There's a lot of info I gathered in a month LOL.
The difference for me between days and nights was very little. The one exception being I tended to go to bed right away when I worked nights. I'd get more sleep and not much is happening at 0800 in town.
Although apparently the last crew found a bar that opens at that time. I'm not that hard up for a drink though after work. (I did go out bonding when I worked days though. Seemed to occur every other day LOL.) So my free time on average was about an hour or less when I worked nights. Times below are ending times... (i.e. snoozing, the 2nd item, was from 0530 - 0550)
- Wake up: 0530
- Hit 'snooze' several times: 0550
- Get dressed / Eat breakfast: 0615
- Drive to site: 0630
- Finish off shift @ rig: 1830
- Drive back: 1845
- Eat dinner: 1915
- Shower: 1945
- Free time: ending 2100 - 2300
As you can see free time is at a premium. It's enough to do one "major" task: laundry... Netflix movie (something I usually split between 2 or 3 days). Often nearly all that time was used up just doing my daily reading/viewing online. I've been reading/viewing kitco, yahoo finance (daily ticker, breakout, and some articles), marketthoughtandanalysis.blogspot, elliott trader's YouTube channel and more on a daily basis for years. Bonding pretty much took all the free time and ate into shower, meals, and/or sleep time. I viewed it as a necessary evil... don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. I just have other things to do besides drink
. (Like write forum posts... which I didn't get much of a chance to do but a post would take about that amount of time to write. Or a decent sized email... which I wrote several of. Yeah... I'm a slow writer LOL.)
Man Camp Life
I actually don't have many pics of the man camp and none on FB which is where I've been linking the pics from. There are several different camps and the one I'm staying at kinda reminds me of college dorm life.... in a space station. Yeah I have no experience with the latter LOL but it's the layout and decor just gets me thinking about it. I tried taking a pic of the hallway to my room but the pic didn't quite capture what the eye saw.
First off though, the tour. From the dirt parking lot you'll take a 8 riser set of stairs up to a large wooden porch overlooking the parking lot and farmland in the distance. Rt. 2/85 is at the front of the property. There are several "wings" at the man camp. There are two groups. There is one I believe that has 2 wings running parallel to each other that are detached from the main building. These are just off to the side of the porch. Aside from administrative offices the staff most likely lives there. I've never asked but it would make sense as I describe the rest of the layout. They are close to or slightly longer than 100'. (Just my guesstimate.) One of the buildings also has the only laundry for greasers. 3 machines. Funny how I walk in there to wash my coveralls and out of the 15 sets of machines in there the 6 greaser units are running and like 4 of the 24 "regular" machines are going. C'est la vie, LOL.
As you enter through the glass doors to the main building, there's an anteroom where you're asked to put on plastic booties to cover up any mud filled boot soles. The walls are wood-sided... kinda like clapboard. There's a small bench and a few small trash bins. Two contain new booties. One is trash. To the right through another set of glass doors is the main lobby. The interior in this section is white painted textured wallboard. This includes the main lobby, rec room, gym, cafeteria and hallway connecting the remaining 5 residential wings.
The main lobby has those throw down carpetted mats near the door and hardwood flooring. There's several plants throughout the room. Upon entering the front desk is there with a few set of chairs and coffee tables on the right side along the exterior window... overlooking the porch/parking lot/farmland. At the end of the is a public computer for those who didn't bring a laptop. The front desk is constructed of something you'd see a desk made from in an office cubicle, blue-ish grey speckly laminated particle board. The area behind it is ~15' x 12'.
As you turn left you'll note, just past the front desk, the entry ways to the rec room on the right and cafeteria "grab-n-go" room (then the cafeteria) on the left. The rec room has pool, darts, foosball, poker table, big screen TV and more. The gym is also attahced here. The latter is hard wood, the former, knubby carpetting. The grab-n-go and cafeteria also have the knubby carpetting. The GNG room is available 24/7. There are a 3 fridges. One contains bottled water, another cheese sticks, bottled water, yogurt, and some canned juices... the last is mainly sandwiches. There's about 6 varieties. They don't change day-to-day. I personally go for the roast beef everyday. There's also paper bags and plastic cutlery as well as a rack of various chips and trail mixes.
The cafeteria is a decent size. It probably has 10 or so tables for 6 and a few smaller ones. There's a sign in book at the entrance. Why IDK... hopefully not to charge meals LOL. There are a few uprights containing pasteries... mostly donuts, some brownies and occassionally some sort of fudge. There is a small freezer containing various ice cream products to go. Also a salad bar, which I frequent. There are several drink machines near the food line... water, milk, soda, coffee. Several cereal dispensers are up there too, as well as a station to get your cutlery, tray, plate(s), foam cup, and ONE
to-go container. It wouldn't surprise me if the one rule was because of my group. I've taken three plus a brown bag once LOL. (Typically it's 1|2 + brown bag) When I work nights and wake up with not enough time to eat... I'm grabbing dinner, lunch, breakfast and snacks, and checking off the proper boxes on the signup sheet to indicate so.
The meals are some what of a buffet style. They usually have something special on the grill or cutting station... steak, turkey, pork shoulder, omelets in the morning, etc. Breakfast is always the same.... some sort of scrambled eggs, some sort of premade omelet, hash browns, home fries, fatty breakfast burrito. Not a big breakfast guy. Dinner haven't really paid attention but it seems they have a weekly menu. I usually just grab a salad plate and another plate of a little pasta and oven roasted veggies. They have things like rice, noodles, multiple veggie bins, usually 2+ bins of some kind of meat, fish or shrimp, etc. Some days ... like hamburger day... is rather boring but most of the time there is a little variety as far as things to choose from. The food is never "bad." It's never great... definitly not worth the amount they charge for it... but it's the oilfield.
As we continue to walk past the entry ways to the rec room/cafeteria we find another sitting area and a couple more plants. This section of the main lobby has wood siding as well. As we approach the 3 riser (wide) stairway ahead there's an ice machine off to the right. There are a few paintings on the wall as we head in that direction. (Extends hand to the left.) Note the one on the left of the caribou breathing on a cold winter's day. As you'll follow me up the stairs you'll be entering the hallway through which the remaining wings are connected. This hallway runs perpendicular to the main lobby extending the entire length of the building (cafeteria, lobby, rec room, etc). It seems open yet cramped. Everything from this point on is rather boxy (must be the long rectangular shapes). There are exit doors evenly spaced on the wall closest to us along with extinguishers and wheelable trash bins. Something I assume is for housekeeping's use.
On the far wall is the five entrances to the residential wings. The knubby carpet is here as well (and in the adjacent hallway). The ceiling is "drop ceiling" tiles but I doubt is actually dropped as wi-fi routers (and other electronics) are attached to the outside of the tiles at regular intervals. There are about 26 rooms to a wing. Some are longer than others. Each contains a laundry room with supplied detergent. This is free. Also there is a men's room and shower at the far end. There is another set of restrooms and showers for both sexes at the midpoint. The walls are some sort of angular corragated metal siding painted dark grey. The lighting in the facility is all flourescent and there are fire extinguishers hanging from the walls at regular intervals down each wing as well.
Inside the room you've seen a little glimpse in my previous post. There is a shared flatscreen TV, a closet for each person, three cuppy holes under the bed for storage, a few hooks near the door to hang clothes and a small shelf over the bed for whatever, as well as a small light against the wall if you don't want the main one on. There is not much time for anything except sleep. Linens are changed 2x a week (Mon/Thurs) and if a towel or wash cloth is found missing that's a $25 charge!
There's also ducting that runs under the ceiling with a vent. I have no idea where the thermostat is. All I know is that when it's cold the AC is blasting and when it's warm the heat is usually on, LOL. So the vent was taped over and blocked in my room. There's a window over the desk too. I got to see Rt. 2/85 from my room. I'm assuming all but two sides of the property got to see their neighbor's window across the way. The glass isn't too good at keeping the traffic noise out either.
The double rooms are ~$240/night. Meals are ~$10/~$15/~$20 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner respectively. As you might be thinking, the company foots the bill for everything here. Originally when I saw the "guest" prices for meals I thought that's what visitors had to pay... nope. It's everyone, which initially surprised my company.
The guy:girl ratio... about 400+:~5. The 5 seem to be all employees of the man camp. I'm sure there are others but females are an endangered species for sure. A little FYI for those wondering what's around. They talk to my crew but not to many people. Smiles and not being a creeper will go a long way (it got my coworker a date, which he couldn't go on because frac broke down and delayed the rig down to our shift) but don't expect much.
That's pretty much the man camp. Just plug those mental images from the tour into my average day and viola.
They were a lot freer with their rules initially but bad apples always ruin it. Some people got their tires slashed just before we left. It's now a dry camp because some drunken behavior (I believe smashing in windshields) ruined that. Visitor curfew... limited places visitors can go (not in the residential wings).
I can only imagine why, LOL.