The drilling support constructed at the Kiewit Offshore Services facility in Cowhead set sail Dec.10 for Bull Arm, where the module along with others will be added to the gravity based structure.
It was a bittersweet day for employees at Kiewit Offshore Services’ Cowhead facility Thursday as the drilling support module (DSM) begin its journey to Bull Arm.
The facility was awarded the contract to construct the DSM back in January 2013, and during peak production it employed as many as 1,300 people.
Travis Hann, who has worked on the project for the past two years, said he was grateful for the opportunity.
“It meant the world to me and everyone who worked on the DSM,” he said. “It was an amazing experience. I met a lot of good people and it is a part of our province's history, something we all should be very proud of.”
Hann is concerned about what the loss of the work at the facility will mean for the area.
“The inevitable is here now the downturn in our local economy is upon us,” he said.
Hann said after Christmas he plans to head out West for work, but remains hopeful he will find employment locally once again.
“I'm hoping to join the UA Local 740 Pipefitters Union and hopefully I'm successful in landing a job in Bull Arm,” he said.
Hann said as he watched the module making its way out of the bay he was filled with mixed emotions.
“I felt a sense of pride knowing that here in Marystown we are still able to produce world class products right here at home,” he said. “But at the same time saddened a bit because I know I have to leave my wife and son in the new year and it’s back to travelling for work.”
Ernie Lundrigan of St. Lawrence said working on the drilling module has afforded him the opportunity to find employment locally for the first time since 2008. “(I am) home every night or every day, get to see your kids, wife, anything you had on the go you can make it. It’s wonderful,” for people in the area.
He said it was a rewarding experience watching the DSM module being pulled away from the dock in Cowhead However he feels it will also mean challenging times.
“You work on something that long it is nice to see it
completed, but you realize then that your work is gone out the harbour,” he said.
“It is going to be a tough battle now finding work for the next little while I would assume; it will be Bull Arm, or somewhere in Newfoundland, the won’t be much on the go out west for a little while I don’t think with regards to the construction of any oil platforms.”