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Learn about the routine of Brazilians who work at Modec in a special report

Paulo Nogueira
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19-11-2017 13:08:13
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240 km away from the coast, Brazilians working on the FPSO Cidade de Itaguaí reveal everything that happens aboard this offshore unit

[supsystic-social-sharing id='1′]In an offshore unit that extracts about 150 thousand barrels of oil and more than 8 million m³ daily with depths that easily exceed 7 km in the Brazilian pre-salt in the Santos Basin, are statistics that are part of the lives of the more than 100 professionals on board the FPSO Cidade de Itaguaí, which leads us to the following question: What do you have to do when your shift ends in such a remote and confined place?

It turns out that this unit was a ship transporting oil and ended up being adapted for its FPSO (Floating Storage and Transfer Unit). It has an incredible 300 meters in length, which allows the installation of restaurants, houses, smoking rooms, TV rooms, gym and game rooms and other spaces that do not need PPE's.

To minimize the lack of contact with the family and the external environment, nowadays most of these platforms have free Wifi and telephone, with a daily limit of 15 minutes. Luiz Grady, who is a Chemical Engineer at Petrobras, uses talbet to kill his family's homesickness on land, after which he plays video games with his companions on board and talks about other things, especially football.

“The atmosphere is very homely and it has to be, right? We create a lot of friendships on board, because we spend half of our lives here”, says he, who has been working on board for eight years and also takes advantage of the internet to, from time to time, find out the return on his investments.

barbecue and parties

For those who are Brazilians, it is common to have barbecue, especially on Sundays to socialize, isn't it? There is also this type of activity on the platform, but the beer has to be non-alcoholic. In addition, there are also pizza rotations and evangelical services on this day, the pastors are scaffolders. Every 15 days there is a celebration of the birthdays in the month with everything they are entitled to.

Bruna Pacheco, is an employee of MODEC and her role is as a production operator, who alias is one of the few women on board. She says her work is heavy, but she enjoys what she does: “I am from Macaé and I have always seen my father work offshore. In high school, I always had this reference, I always wanted to work in this area”, says she, who believes that work on the high seas is not for everyone. “It has a bit of adventure and it's hostile if you're going to think about the risks. There is also the distance from the family, the confinement”.

She reports that she really likes going to the gym, watching movies, doing and reading about religious activities. “The gym, for me, is a necessity, because I've always liked to work out. Even though I am exerting myself physically, I relax in the gym.”

Lucas Azevedo, Safety Technician at Modec, says he has been on board for 3 years and has gained a lot of weight due to the availability of food 24 hours a day. “We eat a lot here. If you don't go to the gym, you're dead,” he jokes. For him, the great difficulty is the passage of commemorative dates, such as Christmas and New Year. “The supper here is very good, with shrimp, lobster. I've never eaten so well. Still, it's the worst part. I miss my mother and brothers a lot, especially on my birthday.”

Living with gringos on the FPSO

Lucas, who is a resident of the municipality of Nova Friburgo-RJ, says the lack of English prevented him from getting an offshore job, but he overcame this difficulty as follows: “In 2014, I decided that I would dedicate myself to this, I took all my reserves and went to Canada. I spent eight months studying English and when I got back, I got the job,” he says. His direct boss on the platform is a South African, with whom Lucas only speaks in English, often translating directions for other employees.

85% of the staff on board are Brazilian, the rest are foreigners. A true mixture of people and cultures from different cultures that are based on the English language as an exchange. There are people from Poland, Ukraine, Singapore, Italy, India and the Philippines. “The exchange of cultures here is very big. To work here, you have to learn to respect things that are not our custom”. says Lucas.

Osvaldo Kawakami, who is Petrobras' Production Manager aboard the FPSO Cidade de Itaguaí, says that in the 1980s he never dreamed of these amenities that they have today and the rest hours were filled by playing cards or fishing. “If I were to compare it, it used to be a one-star hotel, and now it's a five-star hotel,” he says. “There were no restrictions on fishing, and what we did was fish, play cards, checkers, chess. Today, they play video games. The routine of workers has changed a lot. We used to play a lot of cards, foosball, pool. The whole anguish was knowing how the world was, how the family was doing”, says he, who also remembers the feeling of a silent night on the high seas. “The feeling of calm and tranquility is absurd. I always say that nowhere in the world have I seen a sunset or a sunrise like that from a platform.”

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Paulo Nogueira
With technical training, I worked in the offshore oil and gas market for a few years. Today, my team and I are dedicated to bringing information from the Brazilian energy sector and the world, always with credible and up-to-date sources.