Ireland has not yet struck oil, but there are hopes for the SEDCO 707 oil rig operating in the Atlantic Ocean, off the west coast.
THE SEDCO 707 oil rig, owned by Marine Drilling, a joint venture of Shell and SEDCO, is drilling for oil less than 100 miles off the Clare coast. Shell spends up to £40,000 a day on the whole operation which ultimately may never find oil.
Work on the rig is gruelling, but it is carried out by one of the closest teams in industry. The crew of 50 men work 12 hours on, and 12 hours off for two weeks, condensing 168 hours into two weeks. After their fortnight on the oil rig the men look forward to going home for a two week period.
It’s good for the single man, I think, you know, I don’t know if I’d do it if I was married.
Four of the men working on the oil rig hail from Cork. They have worked for Global Marine for a number of years and have travelled all over the world.
We’re still making money for all of the time and we get to see a chance to see the world as well.
Roughnecks carry out drilling on the rig floor and this work is second nature for
Anyone with a bit of Hurling or football, who is good on his feet, well he won’t have any problem with dodging around the pipe above.
Marine Drilling did not have time to set up a drilling school in Ireland but the Irish men new to the job are rising to the challenge.
Some of these boys are pretty good to start with and the others seem to be catching on pretty good and those that really didn’t care about it to start with are not here anymore.
Living conditions on the SEDCO 707 oil rig are good as it is one of the few unionised rigs in operation. The men are well paid and bring home £600 a month. This is some compensation for the disruption to family life. Two wives of men working on the rig are resigned to seeing less of their husbands.
At least we know where they are, there not having fun somewhere else.
While they are thankful for the guaranteed money such hard work brings to the household, they miss their husbands.
It wasn't till he'd gone that I realised what I was missing, I woke up to a lot of things, after he’d gone.
This episode of ‘Summer Journal’ was broadcast on 20 July 1977. The reporter is John O’Donoghue.