Government Publication Fun!

tbposterWorking in developing countries, I get to read (and sometimes write) communications designed to inform the public.  I like to collect some of the most amusing ones.  Papua New Guinea abounds with little gems – a poster that tells you that tuberculosis isn’t caused by witchcraft, for example.

Recently, I found a tasty nugget of governmental doublespeak called ‘Glossary of Words and Phrases used in the Oil & Gas Industries’ – put out by PNG Resources in August 1994.  Now, I don’t work in the Oil & Gas industry, but some of these words are simply too good to not try to add to one’s vocabulary.  Remember, if you use these words in a sentence three times in a day, it is said that you will never forget the word!

This little brochure is interspersed with paid advertising from industry sponsors – vendors of drilling equipment, providers of field accommodation – who knew there was such a market for advertising in banal government documents!

Some of these words are funny.  Some sound a bit rude.  Some definitions are oddly specific.  I have no idea if the jargon is real or current, nearly 20 years after publication.  Just reading these made me smile quietly to myself.

These are direct quotes from the book – no embellishment.  You will never lose ‘Words with Friends’ again!

Annulus:  The name given to the annular space between the drill string and the well bore

Attapulgite:  A clay used in salt water drilling muds to improve the mud’s carrying capacity; also called salt gel

Bastard:  Any equipment of non-standard shape or size

Bearing (saddle):  A type of bearing for the support of a heavy, slow-moving member, eg the wide bearing on the Samson post that supports the well’s walking beam as it oscillates or rocks up and down

Birdcage:  Flattened and spread strands in a wire rope

Blooey Line:  The discharge pipe from a well being drilled by air drilling.  The blooey line is used to conduct the air or gas used for circulation away from the rig to reduce the fire hazard as well as to transport the cuttings a suitable distance from the well

Boll weevil:  Slang for an inexperienced rig or oil fieldworker.

Bottoms: A term used to describe the heavy portion of the feed to a distillation operation.

Calcarenite:  A name suggested by A.W. Grabau for a limestone or dolomite composed of coral or shell sand or of sand derived from the erosion of older limestones.  Size of particles range from 1.58 to 2.00mm

Circulate bottoms up:  To wash rock cuttings from the bottom o the hole to the surface by maintaining circulation after halting the drilling operation

Clabbered:  A slang term commonly used to describe moderate to severe flocculation of mud due to various contaminants

Cocked Hat:  Triangle on chart, formed by three position lines that do not cross at one point.  Also called triangle of error

Doodlebugger:  A member of a seismic crew

Fourble:  A section of drill pipe, casing or tubing consisting of four joints screwed together

Gland:  A sleeve which compresses the packing around a shaft or piston

Gumbo:  A heavy, sticky mud formed downhole by certain shales

Jug Hustler:  A member of a seismic crew who operates the geophones

Moonpool:  The open hole in the centre of the hull of a drillship through which drilling takes place

Spudding in:  The process of starting to drill a well by making a hole in the sea-bed using a large diameter bit

Thribble:  A stand of pipe made up of three joints and handled as a unit

W.O.W:  Waiting on weather

Categories: Science, Travel, Work and Jobs

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1 reply

  1. Jargon is always a delight. Probably why one of my favorite reads as a teenager was the Dictionary of American Slang. In one of my HR jobs I got to interview an applicant who was a former Gandy Dancer. (And who had no idea what I was talking about when I made reference to it.)

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