An offshore diary - Harry Ford, Graduate Engineer

On 14-16 March, our graduate engineer Harry Ford took his very first trip offshore – he visited the CATS riser platform which is part of our CATS infrastructure system, and bridge-linked to the North Everest platform in the Central North Sea.

Here’s how he got on…

“This was my first offshore visit of any kind and something I had been excited to do since I decided to pursue a career in the energy sector.

Day 1 started with a helicopter flight from Aberdeen, landing on the North Everest platform around 1pm. I made the trip with our Asset Support Manager, Stefan Kent, and we went straight inside for a safety briefing and platform induction which set the tone for the excellent safety culture I observed onboard the platform throughout my visit.

It was an especially cold and windy day, even by North Sea standards, something I wasn’t used to being based onshore! Thankfully the North Everest crew had an extra jacket for me so I was able to stay warm while walking around outside. We took a whistlestop tour of the plant and talked through the safety expectations and emergency response procedures. I was impressed straight away with the structure – I have always marveled at the design and engineering of offshore platforms and now have an even greater appreciation having seen the real thing!

After a couple of hours out on plant we came back inside in time for the evening meal at 5.30pm. The food was a highlight of the trip for me and something I could definitely get used to! I then met more of the crew and got to know more about the platform and the offshore way of life, before heading to my cabin for a much-needed early night after a busy day.

Day 2 offshore was a very early start with my alarm sounding at 5.30am followed by a good breakfast that set me up for the day. The weather was a little milder so we spent a lot more time outside, initially heading out as the sun was rising, then we walked through the process and followed the gas molecules from the wells through to the 36” CATS export pipeline. Coming from a process background, I enjoyed this part of the visit most and it was great to see the real thing which I’d only previously seen on drawings. And because I only had prior experience of onshore gas terminals, one thing that really stood out to me was how close together the offshore process is compared with onshore, where there is much more available space.

After going back inside for lunch, we spent the afternoon across the bridge on the CATS riser platform, seeing all the work that had been done over the past year and finding out about work planned for 2023. We were able to climb up the pig launcher tower – I was asked if I was afraid of heights (I said no) but by the time I reached the top I had changed my mind! Last year I was at the CATS terminal on Teesside when the 8-yearly ILI intelligent pig was pulled from the pig receiver so it was great to see the other end of the platform where the pig started its journey.

After a few hours spent on the riser platform we headed back inside for the evening meal. I then caught up on emails, finalised our visit report and ended the evening in the TV room watching the Liverpool game – they lost so I returned to my cabin in a cheerful mood!

Day 3 started early with a 6am check-in for the flight back onshore. We had the wash-up meeting with the North Everest management team before boarding the helicopter back to Aberdeen and returning to the day job.

Massive thanks to the North Everest crew for making me feel so welcome on their platform and showing me the ropes. My first offshore experience exceeded expectations and I would highly recommend other graduates like myself take the opportunity if it arises. I have an even greater appreciation for the offshore workforce who work in all conditions to keep our energy system running. After a 3-day visit I might not be a North Sea tiger just yet, but there’s still time!”


Kellas Midstream Limited

6th Floor, The Capitol
431 Union St
AB11 6DA

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 084520

Pipeline Emergency

To report a pipeline emergency please call +44 (0)1642 546404 and ask for the Operations team.