The pumps make life easier

The pumps make life easier

The pumps make life easier


Come aboard an offshore oil rig, where reliable SamsonPumps make daily operations all the more manageable


The fog is weighing heavily over the Port of Esbjerg, in western Denmark, as Jakob Paludan tells about life on board the large oil rigs and the role Samson pumps play in the daily operations. Three of Maersk's oil rigs are stationed side by side in the harbour – and the fog is so thick that the top of the rigs cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Jakob Paludan has worked in the offshore industry for over ten years, and today he holds the title of 'assistant offshore technical superintendent', or AOTS. He is responsible for ensuring that the platform's technical equipment – which includes Samson sludge pumps – works as intended.Not just anyone is allowed to come aboard. In fact, one must first pass a comprehensive, three-hour exam – even though the rig, which is named Maersk Resolve, is securely moored in the still waters of the harbour.

The rig is equipped with two Samson units. In principle, they are akin to two gigantic central vacuum cleaners. A built-in piping system in the oil rig makes it possible to hook up hoses to various extraction points on board, if too much sludge is suddenly sucked up while drilling. "Of course, we could also clean everything out by shovel and bucket, but this way is much easier," says Jakob, as he shows off the pumps – which are not currently in operation, as the rig is anchored in the harbour, where there is naturally no oil to drill for. "When it's running, the pump handles all types of sludge and mud. And we use it daily. It's all pretty much done automatically, whenever we need sludge to be pumped over into big tanks. Samson's pumps give us full control over the entire process," he explains. 

The three oil rigs stationed in the Port of Esbjerg are all technical wonders that can withstand a little bit of everything. A flock of seagulls are flying overhead, and they are drawn to the rig's legs, which are covered in blue mussels – tons of them, most likely. The sound of mussel shells dropping onto the deck is a constant, as is the sound of the shells cracking underfoot as one walks around on board. There are two Samson pumps located indoors on each of the three rigs. For most of the time while the pumps are in use, they run fully automatically. There are a number of manual functions, but these are very rarely needed. It is also very rare that the pumps fail to operate as intended. "There is, of course, some ordinary maintenance that is needed every once in a while. But this is only natural when working constantly with sludge and stone. But it's nothing more than simple things that we can handle on our own," Jakob explains.

"The pumps are reliable, and they really only require a minimum amount of maintenance. The system is actually quite simple. We can pump up sludge into a tank, and once it's full, we pump it over to another, larger tank. "We are very environmentally aware, and we work with different types of sludge and mud. Much of it is used in connection with our drilling – but if there's even a hint of oil found in the sludge, it won't be pumped back out into the ocean," Jakob states.

Jakob is actually a trained mechanical engineer, and he was a prolific sailor before he began working in the offshore industry. He has a merchant sailing certificate, and he is responsible for all maintenance on board the platform where he is currently stationed.

The day after the visit to the Port of Esbjerg, he is set to fly out to another oil rig in the North Sea, which currently functions as a hotel rig. There, needless to say, there is no need for the Samson pumps to work overtime...

Watch the video here