Anyone working in upstream oil and gas watching Black Gold on ITV4?

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  • Anyone working in upstream oil and gas watching Black Gold on ITV4?
  • bigbloke

    I work in a landbased fuel storage/pumping site in the UK. Safety, Health and Environment (SHE)as its called is absolutely obsessive on our site , we spend most of our time satisfying the umpteen requirements and permitting everyone for everything they do virtually. Nightmare now compared to what it used to be.

    At work so not watching Black Gold can’t comment.

    Yup, needed permits in triplicate, signed by the pope, which were only valid for 1 shift just to breathe when I was on site last year!

    So far:

    Guy almost getting decapitated by a flying length of chain
    Guy climbing the tower with loose ropes trailing into the rotating pipe
    Guy putting his back out then missing work trying to lift 60kg parts


    UK is a lot safer than that, but still some people turn a blind eye to risks. Glad i dont work offshore, hearing about stuff 3rd hand is bad enough.


    I haven’t seen the program but I work with a lot of people who do work in oil and gas. Anecdotally US safety standards seems a lot lower than European. Alot more things sound as it they are done manually on US rigs too. Again all second hand info.


    I worked offshore for a bit but not roughnecking!! All the drill crew I met seemed to have fewer fingers than everyone else…I suppose you don’t get to see some of the worse things but drilling definitely aint the safest job around.

    I can’t get enough of Black Gold even though I’ve seen it before…must be a re-run??

    Is their H&S dumbed down for TV or is it really that bad?

    Premier Icon sweaman2

    It is “worse” in North America than the UK from a HSE perspective; combination of being land based crew (smaller crews; less barrier to entry) and a cultural aspect.

    I also suspect that the TV company is not choosing rigs that have good HSE performance etc… For good TV you really need to make a drama out of crisis… a well performing rig just getting on with the job would be (as it should be) extremely dull.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen

    I used to know a guy who regularly commuted from Idaho to Aberdeen to work on the rigs – simply because the UK industry is so much safer. Until he decided he liked Aberdeen enough to move local. Local being Sussex.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer

    Certainly looks like there’s no H+S, but it’s TV, so the whole story, camera angles, cuts, etc. are all done to sensationalise, entertain and keep a level of suspense. Could probably create that from 8 hours worth of vid to cut, and make up the entire back story, tbh.

    Saw 5 minutes of it while channel hopping, but not sure why someone would want to watch a whole series. Same with Eddie Stobart, Ice Road Truckers, Trawlermen, Routemasters, … kind of interesting to see the kind of things they have to put up with doing a job we all rely on, but only for maybe a one-off half hour show.

    Do a lot of drill bit/mud motor/directional drilling/drill pipe/packer/subs/etc design and stress analysis – only done/seen hands on drilling in a lab environment/test wells, so Black Gold has been brilliant for seeing how the kit is (ab)used out in the field 😉


    What you see there is pretty much how it is for land based drilling worldwide, much safer in the north sea/offshore except maybe gulf of mexico and asia, you don’t see chain tongs in the north sea these days (those chains you see whipping round the drill collars screwing them together).
    Most of the rigs in the north sea these days are 4th 5th 6th and 7th generation units with full or semi automation taking some of the danger and manual labour away from the drill floor.

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