Oct 14, 2019, 1:00 PM
Journalist ID: 1842
News Code: 83516840
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China’s oil drilling champions take ‘Iron Man’ spirit to foreign fields

Tehran, Oct 14, IRNA/Global Times – Daqing oil field, the largest oil production base in China, celebrated the 60th anniversary of the field's discovery on September 26, just ahead of the 70th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

Facing the current challenges of industrial development, expanding overseas petroleum market became an important strategy for the revitalization and transformation of the 60-year-old oil field. 

The oil workers in today's Daqing are devoting themselves to the transformation of China's biggest oil production base under the inspiration of the "Iron Man" spirit, a decades-old Daqing tradition lauded by the nation for sacrifice and hard work.

Wang Jinxi, a team leader of drilling team 1205 who earned the title of "Iron Man" for his spirit of hard work, made major contributions to the establishment of the Daqing oil field in the early 1960s. 

Li Xinmin, the 18th team leader of the DQ1205 drilling team, led the team to Sudan for oil drilling in 2006, which finally realized Wang Jinxi's wish of "drilling wells abroad."

Since 1993, China National Petroleum Corporation, which oversees the Daqing oil field, has been looking to expand overseas. China's overseas cooperation in the oil and gas industries has developed from scratch, growing larger and stronger. The international team is also growing.

The Daqing Oil Field Company Limited has made a comprehensive blueprint for the development of its overseas oil and gas business. It plans to produce 10 million tons of oil and gas overseas by 2019, 20 million tons by 2030, and maintaining 20 million tons by the middle of this century, so as to gradually realize its goal of becoming an innovative international resource enterprise.

Drilling abroad

Daqing oil field, located in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, was a wilderness before its discovery in 1959. Many oil workers, exemplified by Wang Jinxi, devoted themselves to working in the field despite the harsh weather and working conditions.

This spirit of hard work still inspires DQ1205 to overcome difficult conditions today.

Hu Fuqing, rig manager of DQ1205 on the Iraq Halfaya oil field project, told the Global Times that he is fully aware that natural conditions won't be good anywhere in the world where there is oil under the ground. 

However, the extreme hot weather of their well site in Missan Province, which was previously a deserted area located in East Iraq, is particularly challenging for DQ1205. The temperature goes up to 50 C in the summer, which lasts from April to October. The temperature of the metal machines they use reaches 70 degrees, which makes them too hot to touch.

"If our old team leader, Wang Jinxi, could endure the extreme cold in Daqing in the old days, we can also cope with the extreme heat in Iraq," Hu said.

The well site is 200 meters in length and 100 meters wide. Outside this area, there are safety concerns.

Drilling workers work in 12 hour shifts. Hu has to be available to deal with emergency situations 24 hours a day.

Although life abroad is hard, Hu is proud of the fact that overseas workers are chosen through an exam and selection process to represent Daqing's Iron Man tradition and Chinese oil workers.  

Devotion to foreign fields

Wang Jinxi once said that he would be willing to give up 20 years of his life to establish the Daqing oil field.

Although working conditions and oil production techniques have improved a lot in the new era, Daqing oil workers, especially overseas oil workers, still embrace the spirit of devotion. 

Huang Guanjun, rig manager of the DQ1205 drilling team who shares responsibilities with Hu every two months, told the Global Times that he was in Iraq when his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in June 2013.

As soon as he received news of her condition, Huang went back home to search for good hospitals and discussed her treatment plan with doctors. After making arrangements with his family, Huang immediately returned to work in Iraq because he was also worried about the well site. 

"I check on how my daughter is doing and encourage her to accept treatment with courage through WeChat video every day," Huang said. 

However, Hu told the Global Times that the internet at the well site is only 5Mb/s, and is shared by the entire team, so video chatting can be difficult.

"I always leave just a few words for my wife on WeChat. I often feel indebted to my family as I can't help more with taking care of them," Hu said.

Drilling work is regarded as the hardest task in the oil production chain, Hu explained. Drilling machines work all day and night, and workers have to guarantee the safe operation of the machines 24 hours a day by working in the field in shifts.

"To some extent, drillers have a hard time finding girlfriend, as we devote too much time to our careers," Hu said.

Multinational team

In 1960, tens of thousands of oil workers from all over China responded to the nation's call to build Daqing oil field. Oil workers from different provinces had various customs and habits, and spoke different dialects.

Today, team members in DQ1205 come from different countries. There are 72 team members in DQ1205, including 17 Chinese, 52 local Iraqis and two Pakistani staff. 

Pakistani worker Usman Naeem, who started working with DQ1205 in 2013, works as the Health Safety Environment (HSE) Supervisor. He is impressed by the "Iron Man" spirit of his Daqing colleagues.

"In many challenging situations, my Chinese colleagues showed great diligence and met the deadlines in time through their devoted efforts. The harsh winter weather and sweltering summers in Halfaya demand lots of physical strength, stamina and endurance to keep working and meet the operation and safety demands. DQ1205 shows this spirit in all situations and proves equal to the task," he told the Global Times.

Usman feels happy working with his Chinese colleagues. "For the last six years, I have been working with Chinese people and I can feel that they respect other nations," he notes.

Ahmed Fanoukh, an Iraqi staff member who has been working with DQ1205 for six years, is also touched by the fact that his Chinese colleagues respect the prayer times of Muslim staff and allow local workers to stop working and pray despite tight working schedule.

"I also saw respect from all my Chinese coworkers for Ashura, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. They respected the performance of the rites and distributed food and drinks to visitors on this religious occasion, which is highly respected and appreciated by the community," he notes.

Ahmed told the Global Times that the construction of oil facilities in his country contributes to Iraq's progress and will bring a stronger economy. This will be directly reflected in raising the per capita income and the availability of jobs and thus improve the situation for citizens and the country.

"DQ1205 is like a family to me," he said.

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