Buddina resident Pat Ahearn's career in oil drilling has taken him around the world.
Buddina resident Pat Ahearn's career in oil drilling has taken him around the world. Contributed

That's not a commute, this is a commute

NAVIGATING a route to the remote shores of the Caspian Sea sticks in Coast oil field specialist Pat Ahearn's mind as his ultimate commute.

The Buddina resident was inspired to share his work travel experiences after reading a recent news story of a fellow Coast resident's 50-hour journey.

They ultimately ended in the same place, Tengiz oilfield in Kazakhstan, but Mr Ahearn did his journey between 2002 and 2006, when the route differed and business class flights were not included.

"I am just trying to make people aware of some of the time and travel that some of us are willing to commit to so as to succeed in their work environment," Mr Ahearn, 52, said.

The first leg of his journey while working for Parker Drilling International was by road from Buddina to Brisbane Airport.

Mr Ahearn would then fly to Singapore, continuing to stops in London and Budapest.

"Very rarely we were lucky enough, depending on flights, to stay overnight in Budapest to catch up on sleep but more often than not we would arrive into Budapest around 8am and fly out again 7pm."

He would then fly to Atyrau in Kazakhstan.

"Once we arrived in Atyrau we would be herded like cattle into the very small immigration processing offices for passport and security checks.

"Unfortunately this building only had enough room for 40 people at any one time and most of our crew changes would be 80 to 100 people so needless to say that more often than not we were stuck outside in -20 - 30C weather for periods up to 45 minutes to get processed.

"I used to practice my running and sprinting when I would come home to make sure I would not get caught out in that weather too often."

Then he would catch a bus to the city's train station to start a four-hour rail journey to Kulsary.

"If you had any tenge, the local currency, you could purchase a blanket and well-used pillow from the toothless elderly lady at the rear of the carriage who swore at you... and threw the items at you."

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From Kulsary he would catch a bus to Tengiz about two hours away.

There about 8000 itinerant workers living in Tengiz and surrounding villages at the time.

Mr Ahearn recalled working with Americans, Australians, British, Kazakhs, Russians, Turkish, New Zealanders, Canadians, Indonesians, Indians, Filipinos and South Africans.

Once in the workers village he would have about 30 minutes to get his room set up and change into work clothes before being driven to a rig to start a 12-hour day.

His journey was more than 21,000km each way and took him more than two days to complete.

He did it on a 28-day rotation for four years.

Despite the effort required, he said he enjoyed the work.

"But the travel would knock me around when I got home."