Call to fly to Off Shore Oil and Gas Platforms

The caller on the phone introduced himself as a Medic from Woodside Energy. He said the operational health and safety regulations required tobacco smoking to be banned on all company off-shore oil and gas facilities, and later at all on-shore oil and gas refineries.


He had done some research and found I had a reputation in the mining industry for success in assisting clients to quit smoking.He was asking me to go out to the offshore rigs and take all smokers through quit smoking my therapy. 

I had been visiting remote mine sites conducting therapies for some years to assist people overcome tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking problems, anxiety, depression and some phobias too.

At a meeting held at the Woodside Petroleum headquarters in Perth they outlined their plan. First, I needed to qualify in an internationally accredited OPITO Tropical Offshore Emergency Training course. Before I could do the course I was required to pass a tough company medical examination.

Then followed an intense two-day course, which was conducted at IFAP in Fremantle Port. There I was trained in the theory and practical skills to deal with emergency situations on a tropical off shore oil and gas facility.

We learnt to undertake first response firefighting and escape from smoke filled buildings while blind folded. I had previously done similar training at the Country Fire Authority Training Facility at Ballan, in Victoria. 

Then I learnt something new, escaping a rig by helicopter winching. Then came escape on totally enclosed motor propelled survival craft, those white and orange-red bubble boats you see on the side of ships sometimes. Then followed escape by an unpowered inflatable life raft.

I found the experience a little physically exhausting while exhilarating fun. But I was worried about the survival of a helicopter crash into the sea training and escaping a sinking helicopter.

Dressed in overalls, we climbed on board a mock helicopter, and experienced a ‘controlled ditching onto the water’. It was actually a pool inside a massive shed with a crane to lower the helicopter into the water, while we sat inside strapped into our seats.

The water rushed in as it sank below the surface and continued to sink. After what seemed an eternity, safety divers signalled us to escape by removing the rubber seals around the windows, pushing out the glass and swimming to the surface.

Then we were told to return to the helicopter and do it all again. This time they made it more difficult. As the helicopter sank into the water again it turned upside down and began to sink even further, while we were strapped into our seats.

The safety divers signalled us again when we could make our escapes out through the windows, and swim to the surface.

Just as I thought we were finished, we would do it again. But this time it would become even more difficult. As the helicopter sank upside down into the water I was to stay in my seat and wait for the person sitting between me and the window to remove the rubber seal around the glass and push it out to facilitate escape from the sinking craft.

The man next to me was a giant. He was massive. As the helicopter sunk the divers signalled us to escape. The giant did nothing. Perhaps he did not see their signal?

I began to think about pushing past him, but he was too big. I looked around for another window to escape through.Everyone else had already escaped and we were the last in the sinking craft.

I looked back to see the giant ripping the rubber surrounding his window. I decided to wait and follow him out. As I was the last to leave it seemed the helicopter was as deep as it could sink into the pool. I was almost out of breath as I broke the water’s surface. The loud sounds of winches and people laughing greeted me. I was so relieved, and yet I felt exhilarated too, maybe because it was all over.

But it was not over. We were then asked to put on blacked out goggles and do the whole thing again ‘blind’. OMG.

I had not expected to go through an OPITO trial of death, just to assist a few oil and gas rig workers to quit smoking.

I received a photo ID which was required to be sighted before I could take a helicopter flight out to the offshore oil and gas platforms operated by Woodside, and registration as a OPITO graduate.

Departure to Off-Shore Oil Rigs

Having successfully completed my OPITO training I was ready to go offshore to the Woodside oil and gas platforms on the northwest shelf, to conduct Quit Smoking therapies.

On the rigs smokers could only smoke in a disgustingly smelly, dingy little room with no windows or adequate ventilation.

The company arranged 8 trips for me from December 2007 to February 2008 in readiness for the planned March 1st total ban on tobacco smoking.They would fly me from Perth to Karratha by Qantas commercial flights. Then I would board a Bristow charter helicopter to the oil and gas rigs around 100 kilometres offshore.

Upon arriving at the Karratha airport Bristow departure lounge I was asked to present my OPITO ID card, which they photocopied. Then all my baggage was searched, and my mobile-cell phone confiscated. No alcohol, drugs (including medications) or electronic devices are allowed unless they get special prior approval. My baggage and I were then weighed.

Then all my fellow helicopter passengers and I were ushered into a lecture room, where we had a pre-flight health and safety briefing, including a video.

Life jackets and earplugs were issued to each of us as we were guided to the helicopter.

This was to become a familiar procedure over the coming weeks and months, before every flight. Even short five-minute flights from one rig to another, within sight of each other were preceded by the same safety briefing.

For me, everything was a new and exciting experience. I watched the bored faces of the other seasoned, yet disinterested passengers who usually did the same flight four times a month. I was focused, and ready for a helicopter accident at any moment.

I had been in helicopters many times before, but this was going to be the longest flight by far. Some passengers closed their eyes as the engines above roared and the helicopter shook.

Then came lift-off. We headed out to sea over scattered islands, with little beach shacks and boats dotted about on some. Beyond the islands was a huge expanse of tropical sea.

After an hour or so, oilrigs appeared on the horizon. I watched as a speck became larger and larger. As we approached I saw a resupply ship nearby. Later I learned it was also waiting on standby as a rescue ship, in the event an oil and gas rig disaster occurred.

In November 2009, the worst Australian oil disaster occurred further up the same coast when the West Atlas blew-up and caught fire.Sixty-nine workers were safely evacuated before the rig was destroyed, and a massive environmental disaster occurred as oil spread across the sea.

From December 2007 to February 2008 I made 8 visits via helicopter, to the oil and gas platforms operated by Woodside Energy on the North-West Shelf of Western Australia.







Since March 2008 employee’s baggage is searched for contraband, including tobacco, before boarding flights to the off-shore facilities.

‘I am delighted to commend Peter Zapfella for the work he has recently undertaken for Woodside’s offshore facilities. We demanded an exceptional output from Peter on very busy operational areas (upon working oil and gas platforms at sea) . He not only met our expectations, he exceeded them. Peter was very professional in his approach and client focused.’

– HSE Coordinator. Woodside Energy.


In March 2011 I returned to work with around 50 staff at the Woodside operated Karratha Gas Plant who wanted to quit smoking. I was then asked to return to Woodside’s Pluto Project in August 2012, to take another 40-50 through stop smoking advanced hypnosis therapy.

Why did they get continue to ask me back? Because I get great results.

I have conducted on-site quit smoking therapies for Rio Tinto’s mines at Tom Price, Cape Lambert, Port Hedland, Dampier in the Pilbara, and Argyle diamond mine in the Kimberley, as staff quit tobacco smoking, alcohol problems, depression, anxiety, phobias, other addictions and work related limiting beliefs (fear of flying, public speaking etc).

I have also visited gold and salt mines, and industrial sites to conduct advanced NLP/hypnosis in regional Western Australia, Northern territory, Darwin, and Perth. I can visit your business – world wide to assist you and your staff achieve a return on investment of up to 1,500 per cent by using NLP and hypnotherapy to quit tobacco smoking.

“It has been quite a number of years since I used Peters services to help me stop smoking. I literally went from a twenty year, two pack a day smoker to completely stopping after just one session. Obviously, I found Peter to be very effective and I would highly recommend his very professional services”. – Randy Van Poecke. Manager at Barbecue Bazaar.

Randy Van Poecke

(C) Copyright 2010-2019 Peter Zapfella

Quit Smoking

“I tried everything to quit tobacco smoking. I tried the nicotine patches. I tried the prescription medication. I tried cold turkey (many, many times), I tried expensive hypnosis (and walked out and lit-up). I tried the lot. Nothing worked. Nothing. Then I heard about Peter Zapfella and went to him as my last hope. I walked out of his office after a couple of hours of mind-blowing discussion, and have not smoked since. The cravings have gone 100%. I know I will never smoke again.” A.M.J. Baldivis. WA

The Circus Show # 1.

The Circus Show # 1.

By Peter Zapfella

It all started in the usual way… an email inquiry. 

An events company was asking me to do a Comedy Hypnosis Show at the iconic Luna Park, diagonally opposite the Opera House on Sydney Harbour. It was to be the annual Christmas Party for one of Australia’s biggest building and construction companies.

(Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images for Paramount International)

My Comedy Hypnosis Shows ( would usually run around 60 – 90 minutes, and occasionally longer. Truth is, my shows would almost always run over time, as the fun and excitement on stage would carry us away.

A second email from the event organizers explained that according to their new schedule for the show I would only have 30 minutes on stage. I was less than happy about the idea, however I really wanted the opportunity to perform at Luna Park so I agreed. In any case, I thought I could somehow squeeze in another 15 or 20 minutes.

They would fly me across the country, from Perth, Western Australia to Sydney and put me up in a top hotel, plus pay me the fee I demanded. It was a good deal for me.

Days before departure I received another email from the organizers to tell me that the entertainment had evolved into a circus. There would be fire-eaters, flying trapeze and other circus acts too. I would get just 10 minutes on stage.

“Ten minutes?” I thought out aloud. “I can’t do a ten minute show. By the time I do a pre-show warm-up and call volunteer performers I will be out of time. This is crazy.”

I phoned them immediately in protest, and quickly realised I was not going to get any extension of time. If I was only going to get 10 minutes on stage I was going to need to find creative ways to speed up the whole process. 

When I worked for Spano, a ledgendary ‘old time’ American stage hypnotist, ( observed he often took up to 40 minutes to do his pre-talk, performer selection and hypnotic trance inductions – only then did the show begin. I had a much faster show, but 10 minutes for the whole show was ridiculous.

Spano’s shows were always ‘honest’. No stooges or actors.

I knew that some ‘old time’ stage hypnotists, such as the late Frankquin, from New Zealand ( had used ‘stooges’; paid actors planted in the audience to ensure a successful show. I knew some stage hypnotists would recruit volunteers before the show and pre-hypnotise them back stage, as an assurance of a successful show.

I had never done that, always preferring to do an honest ‘as you see it’ performance.

I put it to the event organisers that I could do a 10 minute show …. IF they could recruit a dozen volunteer performers who wanted to be a part of the show on stage. I would take them back stage and do the pre-talk and hypnotic induction before the show, then send them back to their seats in the audience. After dinner I would go on stage and call them up, and do the 10 minute show. They liked the idea.

I usually performed my Comedy Hypnosis Shows with a technician who would assist me set up all the lights and sound systems, he would then operate the control console during the show. He knew all the cues for music and sound effects. He was my second pair of eyes, and also the ‘time keeper’. I decided to invest my fee and take him with me to Sydney. It was a brilliant idea, because as it turned out, without him there would never have been a show.

The Circus Show # 2.

By Peter Zapfella

We were to catch an early Saturday morning flight out of Perth, arriving in Sydney in the early afternoon. Suddenly I was woken by a phone call from my technician. He was at my front door, I should have been dressed and ready to drive to the airport. My alarm had failed.

I leaped out of bed, grabbing my bags and clothes. I dressed in the car, as he sped down the deserted freeway toward the airport. We were running late, perhaps too late to catch our flight. If we missed this flight we would not get to Sydney in time for tonight’s show.

At the airport there was a mad scramble as we sprinted into the departure lounge. While it was deserted outside, there were hundreds of people inside. As my technician took up a position at the end of a long queue of people, I heard a ‘final announcement’ for our flight. We rushed to the ‘late desk’ and managed to slip through the door as it was closing.

Sydney street performers

Around six hours later we were wandering along Sydney’s colorful Circular Quay, watching street performers, while looking for our hotel. We found it, but the room was not ready. 

A quick check of emails revealed another problem. The event organisers informed me that New South Wales government regulations required me to hold a special insurance policy for my performance. It was already Saturday afternoon, and the event was just a few hours away. The insurance offices were closed for the weekend. Checkmate?

The event organisers put me in touch with an insurance agent over the phone who could give me an immediate ‘cover note’, however the insurance fee was to be ten times more than the fee I was to be paid for the event! In short, I was required to pay ten times more to the insurance company, than I was to be paid for the performance.

That was the local law, and I was already there…. ready to perform in a few short hours.

The insurance agent then told me that even if I agreed, I had to pay the insurance policy before the evening’s performance, and he had no facility to accept payment from me. 

As we waited for the hotel room to be made available, I was stuck in an impossible dilemma. I am ready to perform tonight as agreed, yet I am suddenly informed I cannot perform without the required insurance policy, which must be paid before the performance, but cannot be paid because the office is closed.

I called the event organizer to explain the dilemma, who called the insurance agent, who agreed to accept payment if I paid the event organizer. I had to pay the event organizer so I could do the performance… crazy!

The Circus Show # 3.

By Peter Zapfella

We checked into our room, and then immediately went to Luna Park, across Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Luna Park, Sydney Harbour

I met the event organisers and paid them my insurance fee as arranged.

Upon entering the venue I was shocked to see an elevated round platform in the middle of a massive tent like building, filled with lavish dinning settings. A round stage?

Comedy Hypnosis Shows are performed on a traditional theatre stage. It has a front, a back and sides – left and right. We stand on a stage and face the audience…. there is a front.

On a standard theatre stage I can make sure my volunteer performers stay well away from the edge of the stage during the performance. How can I watch a dozen people on a round stage?

If I face in any particular direction I am only playing to around one third of the audience, while the other two thirds are behind me somewhere.

The event organisers did not tell me it would be a round stage, and to make matters even worse, it was particularly high. All the further for my volunteer performers to fall and injure themselves! 

I am aware of only one successful insurance claim against a stage hypnotist, where he returned an unsuccessful performer to the audience by pointing in their general direction, and saying “I cannot hypnotise you. So go back to your seat in the audience.” The person stood up and walked off the front of the stage, over the edge, breaking their leg. The court found the stage hypnotist was negligent because he did not direct the person to use the stairs.

As fire eaters and flying trapeze performers were doing their thing, I had to get creative and come up with some quick workable strategies. 

I decided to arrange a dozen chairs in a circle, in the middle of the round stage. I would stand in the center of the circle, behind my performers, who would all be facing some of the audience, in every direction. In that way we would have a 360-degree front, with no back.

We did some sound checks with the radio microphones, and located the back room where I would pre-hypnotise my volunteer performers. Then back to the hotel near the Sydney Opera House to shower and dress for the evening performance.

The Circus Show # 4.

By Peter Zapfella

We had used the train as the quickest and most direct route back and forth across the coat hanger. If only the event organisers had booked a hotel room for me near Luna Park, of which there were several, it would have been far more convenient and easier for me.

I was standing on the railway platform at Circular Quay waiting for the train which would take be back across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for my evening performance, when I realised other commuters on the platform were becoming irritable. The train was late…2 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes….too late. The train was not coming.

I do not know why…. but the train did not come at all. We had to wait for the next train, by which time I was running late for my performance.

By the time I got to the venue it was crowded with hundreds of people in elegant evening dress. They were the who’s who of the nations building and construction community, on show in their finest attire.

I was introduced to a group of these people, and then lead to a back room where I proceeded to outline the show and what I expected from them. I also took the time to explain the basics of hypnosis and answer their questions. They were an intelligent and enthusiastic group, and we were all feeling confident.

I proceeded to hypnotise them using my usual stage method. A couple of minutes in, and suddenly the fire alarm went off. Loud bells rung through the building. I decided to use the bells as part of my hypnotic induction, telling my volunteers that the sound of loud bells would increase the effectiveness of the hypnosis.

I noticed the reflection of flashing lights and looked around through the window behind me. Fire Brigade trucks had pulled into the forecourt outside. Firemen were pouring out of the trucks wearing breathing apparatus. No one had told me otherwise, so I continued my hypnotic induction as my volunteers all stood around me – eyes closed.

Suddenly the doors to the room flung open and a group of uniformed men burst into the room. They were firemen wearing full face masks. Just as suddenly they went out again through another door and I never saw them again.

Satisfied with my volunteers I sent them back to their seating in the main venue to enjoy their evening.

I had never tried a pre-hypnotic induction before, and certainly not an induction during an apparent fire emergency false alarm.

Being an eternal optimist I expected an excellent performance, although the day so far had been one problem after another. What could go wrong next?

Look for: The Circus Show # 5. Soon

By Peter Zapfella

© Copyright. 2014 – 2019 Peter Zapfella

Do you want to be an entertainer or shine in business?

Do you want to be an entertainer or shine in business?

Be fascinating, be titillating, be different, be original, be special, be memorable.

When it comes to making friends and creating relationships – it really helps if you are a little different from the crowd.

Even if you are a naturally a shy person, you can still become an interesting person. Just as an actor takes on a part, then rehearses it, practices it well before the first performance – you too can practice the feelings of confidence, attractive personality, and intrigue. Peter Zapfella has a simple NLP technique you can use to perfect these personal qualities before launching them upon your audience.

Once practiced and perfected you can first perform your new quality upon a close friend before diving in to wider social gatherings.

Practice, practice, practice until it becomes natural for you. The method is really ‘faking it’, or acting until making it part of your rapporteur of behaviors.

You can pick your own moments to shine, and those moments when it is better to step into the background. The Kenny Rogers song ‘The Gambler’ say’s 

If you’re gonna play the game, boy

You gotta learn to play it right

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em

Know when to fold ’em”

To be interesting, you don’t have to be the class clown or act like a loud person. All you really need to do is look and feel positive. Feel good about yourself, and other’s will naturally feel good about you too.

Smile naturally. Laugh naturally. Other people are always attracted to those who smile and laugh. Again Peter Zapfella has performance coaching to assist you shine, be it on stage or in business.


666 Weight Loss

A very simple way to start your weight loss program is called 666 Weight Loss. This strategy is used by women who successfully control their weight long-term. It is a simple ‘rule’ they live-by. You can do it too. All it takes is a little self-discipline to get started. if you do not have enough self-discipline the 666 is a good way to learn it. Before you know it 666 Weight Loss will be habitual. 

Between 6.00PM and 6.00AM you do not drink alcohol or eat anything, 6 days a week. That’s it!

You can drink tea and coffee. But NO alcohol or soda drinks.

666, Welcome Enthusiasm to Diet min
666 Weight Loss – Welcome Enthusiasm to Diet

The idea is you eat your evening meal early, long before you go to bed. This gives your digestive system the opportunity to do it’s job before you settle down for the night.

It also makes ‘nocturnal eating’ illegal. Many people have told me they battle with late evening munches, which are the cause of their weight loss challenges.

One day a week, maybe Friday OR Saturday night (but not both) you can eat and drink later into the night.

If someone in your household is a ‘secret’ nocturnal eater, I suggest you balance a spoon on the top of the refrigerator door at 6.00PM. If the door is opened the spoon will fall to the ground and make a loud ‘clang’ noise which will frighten the hell out of them and alert everyone to their night-time antics.

Another trick I have used with great success is to use sticky tape on the side of the refrigerator door to seal it closed. When they try to open the refrigerator door they will find it is stuck closed. In the dim light of night they will become so confused they may give-up. or their swearing will wake-up the whole house-hold.

Read Welcome More Physical Activity

Tobacco smoking v’s Vaping

Tobacco smoking V’s Vaping by Peter Zapfella

Teenagers smoking electronic cigarette in park

A new study by the Queen Mary University of London and published in the New England Journal of Medicine into the effectiveness of Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) such as patches, gum, lozenges and sprays, and E Cigarettes has found;

  • The trial recruited people who were committed to quit tobacco smoking.
  • Participants in the trial also recieved weekly one-on-one behavioural support for the first month of the study.
  • The study participants received free Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) such as patches, gum, lozenges and sprays.
  • Around 90 per cent of NRT users had relapsed back into smoking, within a year.
  • More than 80 per cent of E Cigarette users had relapsed back into smoking tobacco again, within a year.
  • 8 out of 10 e-cigarette users who quit tobacco smoking successfully, and did not relapse, were still vaping at the end of the 12 month trial. They had simply transferred their bad habit, not overcome it.
  • So fewer than 2 in every one hundred people in the study quit tobacco smoking AND vaping. I think that is a very poor outcome, hen ‘cold turkey can get a 5 per cent success rate.
  • These results reflect similar results in other trials.

“It wasn’t, ‘Here’s an e-cigarette, good luck! ‘ — people had behavioural support alongside it,” said Professor McRobbie, a professor of public health interventions at Queen Mary University of London.

“We want to see (tobacco) smokers switch [to vaping], and then ideally get off vaping as well,”  Professor McRobbie went on to say.

“This can be seen as problematic if e-cigarette use for a year signals ongoing long-term use, which may pose as-yet-unknown health risks,” the study authors noted.

There is no evidence to show vaping is safe in the long term. Research keeps finding dangerous chemicals in the vaping liquids.

Simon Chapman, emeritus professor of public health at Sydney University, recently told the media “It will take decades before we know whether or not vaping is less dangerous than smoking, and by how much, if at all.”

At this stage the big question is, which is worse for long term health? Tobacco smoking or vaping? No one knows the answer.

Public health experts have raised concerns about the potential uptake of vaping among young people — and this providing a gateway to tobacco smoking.

“I would encourage people using vaping — even as a way of stopping smoking — to also stop vaping.“said Coral Gartner, who leads the NiAcotine and Tobacco Regulatory Science Research Group at the University of Queensland.

Vaping nicotine is legal in Britain, New Zealand, the US and Canada, however, the sale of liquid nicotine is illegal in Australia — a ban that was upheld by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in 2017.

The E Cigarette patents are owned by tobacco companies. So they profit out of people quitting tobacco to take up the vaping habit long-term.

They also profit from teenagers and young people taking up vaping and perhaps progressing to tobacco.

The ideal health and financial answer is to quit both. See Quit Smoking.