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History of Automation: First Offshore Oil Rig

March 24, 1955

In the wake of WWII and war in Korea, the importance of meeting demands for oil supply was abundantly clear. As a response to this demand, the first seagoing oil drill rig was launched in 1955. The rig was backed by US company C.G. Glasscock Drilling Co. and was built by Bethlehem Steel. This rig, designed for drilling in water over 100 feet deep, could drive piles with a force of 827 tons, and pull a pile with the force of 942 tons.

Today, there are approximately 3400 deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico that reach depths of over 1500 meters. There are many different varieties of offshore wells, including fixed and floating platforms, jack-up rigs, tower rigs, subsea platforms, and spar platforms.

The 2010 Gulf Oil Rig disaster brought additional scrutiny and regulation to the industry, forcing many offshore drilling operations to make changes to better ensure the safety of rig operations and prevent future catastrophes.  With the aid of improved SCADA/HMI software it’s now possible to get much better information from offshore and remote well locations and see and respond to alarms either on-location or remotely. Better business analytics can help improve profit margins for drilling operations, and better reporting can make it easier to respond to government safety and environmental regulations.

 

Geisum Oil Company

The Geisum offshore platform in the Gulf of Suez is a four-pile structure sitting in 120 meters of water. Supported by a floating production, strong and offloading (FPSO) tanker, it extracts approximately 16,300 barrels of crude oil per day. Geisum Oil Company, the owner of the platform, is one of the largest Egyptian oil companies.

 

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