Mare Superum

After a short while without any post on this blog, I’ve decided to show a short set of photographs regarding my last (and still on-going) experience in the oil/gas offshore industry.

Even I would have tons of words to tell you about this nice experience, about the good people I’ve been meeting on board of different rigs and ships, the easiest thing to do is (certainly) to let the photos talk from themselves. Fortunately or unfortunately, photos don’t roar, they don’t smell, they don’t blow away your ears with high decibel sounds; but if you look at them for a while you’ll enjoy the feeling of looking trough a window towards a time-still scenario.

Offshore industry is by far one of the toughest environments to work; variables such as isolation, being far from your family and friends, being unable to leave to relax to have a beer downtown and not going home in the end of the day makes the life on board (even) harder than it might appear at first sight; nonetheless, times on board can also be mild, people can be unexpectedly friendly and unusual events and funny stories come along as they do in any other place.

Mare Superum (the roman name given to the Adriatic Sea) in the eastern coast of the Italian Peninsula is the northernmost body of water of the Mediterranean Sea and has been since thousands of years an important support for the development for many populations and empires. Nowadays, nearly four million people live by its margins and many still rely on their natural wealth for the development of the local economy, supporting industries such as tourism, fisheries and (in this case shown bellow) mining for mineral resources. Given this resource availability and strategical localization as an entrance to European mainland, many important cities have flourished on its margins by exploiting this wealth since early modern history, Thus, its importance for the local economy has been registered from ancient times till today as it still plays an important role in the lives of many.



Workers preparing tube for the installation of another gas production platform.


Colleagues having a chat on one-of-a-hundred nice sunsets.


Giulia and Miriam


Welder working at night on tools maintenance.


The rig Key Manhattan being towed to Bonnaccia gas field before the beginning of the perforation phase.


Unfinished platform Bonnaccia NW (missing deck) while the underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) performs checkup operations on the platform foundations.


Giulia Cristallini on her night-shift facing the acoustic monitoring facilities.


Geologist taking time for some literature in the hellydeck of the ship Saipem3000


The future platform of Bonnacia NW waits for the jack-up rig Key Manhattan (on background) to start well perforation. Please notice the human-scale by checking up on the person that takes a walk on the rig’s hellideck (right end of the photo).


A rain of sparks fall off to the water while welders assemble parts to prepare the future platform.


The future platform of Clara NW before being placed on it last address.


Hot-works: The shining light of a welder.


Hot-works: Rays of blue-light and smoke coming out from welders working on the fixing of a pneumatic hammer used to nail the foundation tubes of the platform into the seabed.


Self-portrait on a bridge of Saipem3000 while doing acoustic monitoring.


Workers going home when the rough seas don’t allow for a cheaper travel on the crew boat.


Seagulls safely landed on Key Manhattan hellydeck.


One-of-a-hundred sunsets.


Crew-boat cutting off surface waves while arriving on a rather rough sea.


Intense rain and thunder-storm at night hunting the lonely platform of Clara N.


Giovanni and Tommaso rejoicing for their morning catch of a 60 kg tuna. Free-time on board is often spent fishing from the 40 m high hellydeck.


Giovanni cleans up his fish.


The hand-sized heart of a tuna.


Tommaso holds the head of a tuna after cleansing; catching such a big fish is a skillful task and certainly a good story to tell to friends and colleagues.


Worker hangs at 40 m high to check-up on the condition of the towing cables of Key Manhattan rig.


Hamish, works-at-high waiting to be hanging outside the safety of the iron-bars.


The best sight is when you go home. The rig Key Manhattan seen from the crew-boat while leaving.


Hot-works: More welders at work during the night.


More welder at work II


Migrating birds often use the platform as a resting and feeding place. Nonetheless the rigs are often place of interest for falcons and other birds of prey that find in this little-ones a feeding opportunity in the rather scarce of food high-seas environment.


Another small bird resting by the rig.


Another migrating species that is often seen around here.


Another bird having a rest on board during spring time migrations.


The platform Clara SE suspended in a horizonless afternoon. Days like this usually happen when windless condition and warm sea surface promote high rates of evaporation, decreasing the visibility and blending the horizon and the sky into a smooth pallet of pastel colors.


A tanker-ship glides about in the motionless seas heading south.


A bottle-nose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) under the rig in the low intensity of the morning light. These species is the most seen nearby the platforms in the Adriatic Sea, as they often approach platforms in the search for food. The water-column under the platforms are rather abundant in life in comparison with the high-seas low densities of fish. The offshore platforms are like islands which offer a substrate where many bivalve communities find opportunity to settle, therefore attracting considerable amounts of fish  which also find here feeding opportunities and shelter from the open-waters creating an ideal environment for the development of  fish communities in the rather desert high-seas realm.


Tommaso seams quite happy for his morning catch of a dolphin-fish (Coryphaena hippurus).


Another one-of-a-hundred beautifull sunset over Mare Superum


Bonaccia SE, in a special glassy day.


Cummulus nimbus over the Adriatic sea, with a big cargo-ship navigating in the distance.


One thought on “Mare Superum

  1. Genias as fotos Nuno, acho fantástica esta reportagem fotográfica nos teus longos dias y noites na plataforma. Parabéns filho.

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