Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This Week in Oil and Gas History

Nov 14, 1947. The first offshore oil well drilled out of sight of land was started. A wooden platform in 20 feet of water about 10 miles from shore was built by Brown and Root for Kerr McGee. That area is known today as Ship Shoal 32.

The wooden platform supported the derrick. Support equipment, power and quarters was on a tender barge that was moored to the platform. This barge began life as a Navy utility barge in 1945. It was built at the Boston Naval Shipyard near the end of the war as YFN-893. It was sold to Kerr McGee and renamed "Ker Mac Drilling Tender No. 1", a utilitarian name if there ever was one. In 1978 she was sold to Norman Offshore, an offshore pipeline contractor and named "Pipeliner 8". This is where I first encountered her. I was the Project Engineer for Mobil Oil and had contracted her to lay some pipe.In 1983 she was sold to Global Industries,another offshore contractor, and renamed "Delta 1". At this point in her career she had reached 40 years and was near the end of her useful life. She was eventually sold for scrap.

WW II surplus provided a great deal of equipment to the fledgling offshore oil industry. Submarine diesel engines were used for generator sets on floating drill rigs. Their electric motors were installed in the lower hulls of semi submersible drilling rigs and used to propel them from location to location. Gun tubes were used as piles to support fixed platforms. Liberty ships were converted to drill ships by cutting a moon pool in the hull and adding a derrick. And it all started this week in 1947.


Old NFO said...

We've come a LONG way since then... :-)

mostly cajun said...

Ship Shoals 139 is one of my homes away from home.