Chris Porter, an ex-marine, is no stranger to adventure.
The Driller on Rig 126 in Saudi was a U.S. marine for four years, a tough job that took him into intense situations.
“I was in the United States Marine Corps for four years from 2002-2006,” said Porter. “I’ve done three tours to Iraq, and that was enough for me.”
After the marines, Porter started working in the industry on a compound rig in 2006.
“I live in East Texas, and I didn’t have anything lined up when I got back home,” he said. There was little work in most industries, such as paper milling, when he returned, “so I decided to jump onboard.”
He worked as a Floorhand, eventually moving up to Derrickman, and then as a Journeyman Electrician for a year and a half before deciding to return to the patch.
Good training at Trinidad
Porter joined Trinidad four years ago, working for the southern division in Texas.
“The people Trinidad has working in the southern division were all stepping stones in training me to become who I am as a Driller today,” he said. “I think back to all the training and information that was provided, and I couldn’t have done this without them.”
Porter has now been in Saudi Arabia for a year.
“I started as an Assistant Driller and helped with the pre-commencement on Rig 601, bringing the rig from Dubai,” said Porter. He helped drill 601’s first well and then moved to Rig 127 before, as he says, “landing on 126 as my home.”
Life in Saudi: the people rock
“While there are always challenges living in a country far from home, the people really make it worthwhile,” said Porter. “I have had a number of great mentors here in Saudi, and I am truly blessed to have them in a place of leadership.
“The day-to-day life really is all about keeping each other going and being positive. My schedule is 12 a.m. to 12 p.m., and is basically set up the same as the States. We stay on a man camp on the rig site, eat three provided meals a day. We have a basketball goal, entertainment room, and a gym.”
The cultural variety is another great part of the Saudi job for Porter.
“The culture is amazing here,” he said. “I have worked with people from Croatia, Austria, Australia, Scotland, The Philippines, Canada, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Oman, Italy, India and many more.
“It’s a chance to learn about people, countries, different religions, their family stories. It’s an awesome experience.”
Travelling back and forth not a problem
Porter works a 28-day on, 28-day off schedule, so he’s travelling every month.
All travel arrangements are made from the office in Dammam, Porter explained.
“We are picked up at the airport, driven to the hotel, and then to the Trinidad office in the morning. We usually have an operations meeting with the Operations Manager, a safety rundown, and then a three-hour drive to the rigs.”
Remarkably, he says, “I haven’t encountered any travel challenges.”
And find out why Trinidad’s commitment to safety is the same wherever we operate.