Reaping the fruits of oil and gas labour (Page 1 of 5) 15 Apr 2013

Veteran oilman Dave Murray lets out a hearty chuckle at the mere mention of Paul Carter's outrageously funny story of life in the industry entitled: Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse.

Scotsman Murray hasn't read the fabled autobiography himself, but he has witnessed the true life tragic consequences encapsulated in Carter's chronicle afflicting many of his colleagues riding the highs and lows of a fly-in, fly-out lifestyle leaping from hardship to hedonism.

In his book Carter typically recounts coming off the rig and flying to Singapore, looking up at the departure board and choosing which destination he was jetting off to next – returning to the rig penniless several weeks later from indulgences in the pleasure palaces of Bangkok cum Las Vegas.

Murray knew a few fellers who never even got that far: “They used to like to gamble on the rig,” he recalls. “As a result some of them lost all their money and were flat broke before they even came ashore.”

Murray, now 61 and semi-retired in Perth, Australia, was a rare exception to the rule. Over four decades working in the oil industry, he invested his money wisely to create a property portfolio and a slew of small businesses that included a hotel, hairdresser and news agency run by managers while he operated his own oil and gas consultancy.

Younger professionals working offshore Australia would be wise to heed the lesson of Murray's career and the prudent investment decisions he made from lucrative earnings dating back to the start of his career.

It was the 1970s, the North Sea was booming and as fast as workers were banking fabulous pay cheques offshore, onshore dens of iniquity, notably The Schooner pub in Aberdeen harbour, was opening at 7 am and doing a roaring trade from rowdy roustabouts.

Murray, at that stage newly married, working on a drillship and dreaming of a bright future, had other ideas.