International rig manager, Shawn Craig, never imagined he would work abroad. However, that didn’t stop him from pursuing a new position at H&P. When the pandemic changed how Craig worked as a training coach, he knew he wanted a new adventure. He first started at H&P in 1988.
“My father used to work at H&P back when I was a child,” he said. “My granddad was also in the oilfield, so my family was familiar with the work. I was born and raised in Elk City, Oklahoma, and I have been able to stay there thanks to hitch schedules.”
Craig has worked every position on a rig and has been a rig manager and field superintendent. He worked close to home in the early 2000s but when H&P opened an office in Aztec, New Mexico, he jumped at the opportunity. He stayed at the office from 2006 to 2010, until its closure.
“That was one of my favorite times working for H&P it wasn’t very long, but it was a great project with a lot of fond memories,” he said.
Earlier in his career, he was asked to work internationally but declined because he had a young family with his wife and three children. He was a safety leadership coach for a while before becoming a technical trainer. Once the technical trainer position changed during the pandemic Craig knew he wanted to try something different.
“When I first signed on as a technical trainer, we were traveling to different districts teaching motorhand classes and other technical aspects of the rig face-to-face,” he said. “When the pandemic hit everybody started working from home and my job morphed into something I didn’t feel strongly equipped for that type of work.”
He made the big move in January this year. He found the position on one of the internal career emails distributed by the H&P talent team.
“When I applied for the position, Andrew Walton, a drilling superintendent who works internationally, called and questioned my sincerity. Then I was offered a position as rig manager,” he added.
Bahrain is different from what Craig imagined.
“What I had pictured in my mind landscape isn’t really like what I had in mind,” he said. “Working here in Bahrain during the summer months has given me a new meaning to the word hot.”
“I have had a very welcoming experience in the Middle East,” Craig said. “The locals welcome U.S. citizens. My biggest problem has been getting used to the food. I end up packing a lot of ramen noodles to have snacks.”
The rig employees are some of the best crew members he has been on hitch.
“Everyone has been very hardworking and I have enjoyed seeing their passion for their work,” he said. “Most of the employees on the rigs in Bahrain are from India but also speak, read and write English very well. Sometimes it takes time to communicate because of our different accents.”
Traveling to Bahrain has also been easier than he initially thought.
“A lot of the airports and transportation centers have English on their signage as well as the local language,” he said.
Craig encourages H&P employees to pursue a position in international drilling because working in the market brings an incredible opportunity for growth, candor to diverse cultures and expansion of skills.
“I have enjoyed mentoring younger colleagues,” Craig added. “I hope that I have made a modest but positive influence on the careers of others at H&P.”