Thanksgiving in the ‘gas patch’ |

Thanksgiving in the ‘gas patch’

John ColsonPost Independent staffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
From right to left: Pat Blackmer, Drilling Supervisor, Jon Hanewald

Ever wonder what Thanksgiving is like for people working on one of the numerous gas drilling rigs operating in Garfield County?According to a spokesman for the industry, workers in the “gas patch,” as some call this county’s portion of the gas-rich Piceance Basin, do what they can to celebrate the holiday.And some of the companies do what they can to help their workers out for the holidays.According to information gathered by David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association in Grand Junction, Williams Production shuts down all their “completion” activities for the holiday, meaning that various tasks involved in taking a gas well from the drilling phase to the producing phase are put on hold.Likewise, Ludlam reported, BJ Services, another drilling outfit, shuts down their completion operations for four days “to reinforce the importance of family time for employees.”And Halliburton, which provides a range of services to the drilling operators, “shuts down completion activities and flies a special plane to North Dakota, ensuring employees are with their families on Thanksgiving,” Ludlam wrote in an email.At the drilling rigs themselves, work goes on, but with some sense of holiday spirit mixed in, according to Pat Blackmer, a drilling supervisor for PCCL on Rig 302.”Providing America the energy needed to fuel Thanksgiving means our rigs continue to work,” said Blackmer. “But out here on location our management team prepares a special thanksgiving meal for each and every member of our team.” He explained that fixing the meal itself is kind of a communal affair, even if the meals are consumed as time permits.”Our drilling crews tend to be a lot like family, and each of us has a kitchen responsibility – mine’s the mashed potatoes,” Blackmer added. “We might not all eat at the same time, but we all pitch in to make sure not a single one of us goes without turkey and gravy on our plates.”

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