Thursday, May 30, 2019

TBT - Russia

I've been watching the new HBO show "Chernobyl" and it brought back some memories.

Back in 1990, the Russians had opened a bidding round on offshore leases off Sakhalin Island. I was working for Mobil Oil at the time and the company decided they needed to put in a proposal. They formed the proposal team in early July with the proposal due in September.

We scrambled and had the proposal done on time and Mobil decided we all needed to go to Sakhalin Island and meet with the heads of the government departments for our respective disciplines. Back then, there was no easy way to get to Russia.

Our route was to fly to Frankfurt and then connect to a Lufthansa flight to Moscow. After a night in Moscow, Mobil had arranged a special charter to take us from Moscow to Yusno-Sakhalinsk. We were told that the plane they had charted was the same aircraft they used to ferry their astronauts. The purser on the flight showed us a card that certified that he had served with the helicopter crews that dumped concrete on the reactor at Chernobyl, hence the memory jog.

We had to stop in Khabarovsk for fuel. As we taxied to the refueling point, we passed a long row of Tu-154s that were obviously being used for spare parts. When we got off the plane, we noticed that the tires were almost bald, and this was on one of their most important aircraft.

It was our first indication that the Russian military back before the fall of the USSR was not as strong as we were led to believe.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Yep, what cued us was the rust on the Soviet ships we encountered at sea.