Hi from a Schlumberger Engineer who started in Badak, East Kalimantan

Henry_SLB

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Oct 31, 2020
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Hi Everyone

After graduating from University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1980 I joined Schlumberger which set me off on a World Journey. I trained in Brunei but my first posting was in Badak, East Kalimantan. I never stopped being in awe in seeing the jungle and the plants/animals that were there. The fragrances from the jungle were simply amazing as was also its constant symphony of sounds heard day and night.

Schlumberger - Badak operation at that time was working for Huffco Oil which was an American oil company. No special problem for me as I was one as well. You might wonder why I use the word "problem". Well, if you were to be in an oil operation run by say Japanese you would immediately see the difference in the canteen, no Western food (at least where I was). In an American canteen dinner had to have steaks, hamburgers, fries AND AN ICE CREAM MACHINE !!! Yepp, we had an ice cream machine with no limit as to how much you could eat. So you see, the national flavor follows the dominant national characteristic of the operation.

For recreation there was a racquetball court, pinball machines as well as a shuffleboard table. What, you don't know what a shuffleboard table is ??? Just joking. We also had racquetball court which was also used by the Brits and Aussies to play squash. That's how I learned to play both games thanks to Huffco. Playing rattan ball came much later. Another recreation center was located at the edge of the camp called Badak-4. We frequented that place after work in the evening to better learn Indonesia. :)

The jungle locations around Badak were amazing as I got to go where no tourist would ever venture. Some locations could be reached by Jeep but the location always had a helipad for quick delivery of equipment and personnel. When the monsoon season came going by road was like being in a mud rally. That happen when I was there.

If you have never experienced a monsoon rain yourself, then the closest description of it would be a waterfall. Amazing amounts of water would come down which were nothing like what I experienced in the States. The daily rain had a very strong cyclic pattern. Typically, clouds form in the late morning and early afternoon hours. Then by 2 to 4 p.m., the hottest time of day, convectional thunderstorms form and rains begin to fall. Often these late afternoon thunderstorms are brief and intense, dumping up to an inch of rain then clearing by sunset.

When on a drilling location I never ventured too deep into the jungle as I had more work than free time. Besides, jungle is not a park. So if you do not know it stay out. The strange sound coming from the bush reminded you of this every night and sometimes during the day. But even from the make shift road you could sometimes see exotic birds or a tree full of jumping monkeys having fun.

I loved all Indonesian food and fruits with one exception, durian. I'll admit that the smell simply put me off and that it why it fell off my list of favorites. At the top of the list were papaya, mango, mas/lampung banana, with rambutan, mangosteen closing the list of what I ate often. For dinner nasi goreng, oxtail soup, ayam goreng and satay. I'll stop there as I'm getting hungry just thinking about these dishes :)

Another activity to which I was introduced in Badak was hash running. A hash run is basically a cross country run with a twist. The twist is that confetti is devilishly sprinkled out to show the route. The devilishness being the part where false trails are also made so as to slow down the Fast Rabbits. From this idea comes the name Hash House Harriers. The hashes in Badak were organized by Schlumberger as hash running was not in the American culture hence our crew was organizing them. A few Americans would come sometimes but at that time it was mostly Aussies, Brits, French and New Zealanders who could be expected to be seen at these weekly events. I almost forgot to mention the best part, we drank lots of beer AFTER the hash :)

My christening to hash happened after a very intense monsoon rain fall. That day the rains stopped around 2 PM or so and around 4-5 we would all gather at the designated starting point to have a go. Running fast is not the best strategy. What you want to do is to be somewhere in the middle in terms of speed if winning was goal. If beer was on your mind you would find your hash buddy who was thinking similarly and just watch as people would be going down false trails only to be heard cursing when they needed to double back to catch up. At times the apparent trail would go through swampy land or above knee or more level of muddy roads. After rains there was plenty of this and for long distances. You can just imagine how we all looked after this particular run. However once at the Finish cold beer would be waiting PLUS T-shirt to commemorate that particular hash which was then written into the hash history of this location.

Some of the other location that I was sent to were Duri, Sumatra and Mundu near Cirebon, Java. When in Duri I had the pleasure of meeting a tiger one late night while traveling in a Jeep to a job near Minas. There were elephants and rhinos in the area but I did not have a chance to see them in the wild. While in Mundu I took a 3 day break and went to climbed the volcano Ciremai which is very close to Cirebon.

At the time I was in Indonesia, it was in the group of the largest producers of oil in the world, 12 th. However what is more interesting is that Indonesia was the largest producer of oil when the oil industry was just starting at the turn of the XX century. Russia and US were flat out leaders in amounts produced but Indonesia was right behind them at much lower rates but far high than anyone in the Middle East or any other region of the world. The following animation shows this trend.


The tremendous success that Schlumberger reached was thanks to one country, Russia. This is where brothers Conrad and Marcel Schlumberger were able to better develop their new methods of locating hydrocarbons in a drilled well. However, it was Indonesia ,one of the petroleum hot spots in the world at the time, that allowed Schlumberger to continue its transformation into a global corporation after Russia turned into USSR. In 1930 Schlumberger tested its new logging tool called the Spontaneous Potential log ,better known as SP log, in Dutch East India wells. You see, at that time Indonesia was a Dutch colony. The Dutch were not only interested in coffee and coco but were also busy looking for all resources that could be found under the ground.

Mountain made of Gold
 

ChrisTex

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Ah Hash. Have you joined any of the Hashers here in Jakarta?
 

Henry_SLB

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Oct 31, 2020
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Ah Hash. Have you joined any of the Hashers here in Jakarta?
Chris I'm no longer in Indonesia. I still go on vacation to Bali, Java and Lombok Isl. but this travel does not involve business. The only hashes I ran were in Badak and in Duri. I've been in many countries on this planet but Indonesia was the only place where I ran into Hash House Harriers.
 

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