Offshore Rigs and Platforms
ESTABLISHING OPERATIONS ON THE SEA
The First Offshore Oil Rigs in the US
According to US records, in 1897, Henry Williams and fellow associates were inspired to build a 300-ft pier out from the California coastline. Once the pier was constructed, he set up a standard cable-tool rig on the pier out into the Pacific Ocean. This first offshore well successfully began producing oil, and soon enough over twenty more companies soon joined in on the boom. America’s first established offshore oil well site ended up producing for 25 years. In turn, this helped spark significant growth for California’s economy at the turn of the 20th century.
By 1911, another significant historical event took place for offshore US oil rigs. The Gulf Refining Company began doing away with utilizing piers and drilled Ferry Lake No. 1 on Caddo Lake in Louisiana. Because these wells were completed over water without a pier connection to the shoreline, they are considered the US’s first true offshore drilling rigs.
Fortunately, these oil rigs began producing 450 barrels per day. As a result, Gulf Refining began constructing even more platforms on each 10-acre lakebed site.
Modern Day Offshore Drilling Rigs and Platforms
Establishing a modern offshore oil rig or platform is no small task, as it can take years to construct. Thousands of tons of steel and manpower are used to construct these massive platforms and underwater components. Once construction is completed on land, the sections are carefully moved out to sea to the location of the well site. Underwater parts and equipment are installed first to ensure a secure position on the seabed. Then the top portion of the oil rig or platform is constructed.
Modern facilities are made with a host of advanced technology suitable to the location of each site, as well as features that promote safer and more efficient operations. For example, some platforms are able to withstand extremely cold weather conditions, earthquakes, and high-wave tsunamis. At the same time, there are offshore oil rigs making greater use of navigation systems, computer data monitoring, and platform robotics.
Offshore oil production platforms have the potential to produce well over a million barrels of oil per day. Moreover, many facilities can stay in operation for 20 to 30 + years, depending on reservoir size before their production life comes to an end.
There are several different types of offshore drilling rigs and platforms, including semi-submersible, drilling ships, jack-up drilling rigs, tension leg platforms, and spar platforms. Each is constructed with a different purpose and specific function. All of these models are currently in use and active in various locations around the world. However, semi-submersible platforms are currently the most common due to their ability to hold up in rough waters.
With all the modern technological advancements that producers are currently implementing on today’s offshore drilling rigs and platforms, it’s only the beginning of much more to come. The ergonomic features of today’s offshore oil rigs are developed with the purpose of ensuring that each state-of-the-art facility continues to operate with more sophisticated technology and safety measures, better efficiency, and with greater eco-friendly design and functionality.
Essentra Pipe Protection Technologies is among the leading providers of land and offshore pipe protection products and accessory equipment around the world. As an ISO certified provider, we’re proud to serve in the oil and gas industry which so largely serves our economies. Our goal is to continue to manufacture products that help you deliver, all day, every day.