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Historyofoffshoredrillingunits

Offshoredrillingbeganin1897,just38yearsafterCol.EdwinDrakedrilledthefirstwellin1859.H.L.WilliamsiscreditedwithdrillingawelloffawoodenpierintheSanta
BarbaraChannelinCalifornia.Heusedthepiertosupportalandrignexttoanexistingfield.Fiveyearslater,therewere150offshorewellsinthearea.By1921,steelpiers
werebeingusedinRinconandElwood(California)tosupportlandtypedrillingrigs.In1932,asteelpierisland(6090ftwitha25ftairgap)wasbuiltmileoffshorebya
smalloilcompany,IndianPetroleumCorp.,tosupportanotheronshoretyperig.Althoughthewellsweredisappointingandtheislandwasdestroyedin1940byastorm,itwas
theforerunnerofthesteeljacketedplatformsoftoday.[1]

Contents
1Overview
2Thefirstonwaterdrilling
3ThefirstMODU
3.1Thefirstoffshoredrillingunittoimplementsubseawellcontrol
4Offshoredrillingunitdesignevolution
4.1Thetenderassistdrilling(TAD)unit
4.2Thesemisubmersibleunit
4.3Growthofoffshoredrillingunits
4.4Firstgeneraltionsemiunits
4.5Newergenerationsemiunits
4.6Thefixedplatformunits
4.7Theshipandbargeshapedunits
4.8TechnologicaldevelopmentoftheMODU
5Thefutureofoffshoredrilling
6References
7Seealso
8NoteworthypapersinOnePetro
9Externallinks

Overview
In1938,afieldwasdiscoveredoffshoreTexas.Subsequently,a9,000ftwellwasdrilledin1941infashionsimilartotheCaliforniawellsbyuseofawoodenpier.Withthe
startofWorldWarII,however,alloffshoredrillingactivitieshalted.AftertheendofWorldWarII,thestateofLouisianaheldanoffshorestatewatersleasesalein1945.This
wasfollowedin1955bythestateofCalifornia(CunninghamShellAct)leasesale,whichallowedexplorationofoilandgassands.[1]Beforethelatteract,coredrillingcouldbe
doneonlyuntilashowofoilandgas.Atthattime,alldrillinghadtostopandthecoreholepluggedwithcement.

Thefirstonwaterdrilling
ThefirstonwaterdrillingwasbornintheswampsofLouisianaintheearly1930swiththeuseofshallowdraftbarges.Thesebargeswererectangularwithanarrowslotin
theaftendofthebargeforthewellconductor.Canalswere,andstillare,dredgedsothattugscanmobilizethebargestolocations.Later,bargeswerepostedonalatticesteel
structureabovethebarge,allowingthemtoworkindeeperwaterdepthsbysubmergingthebargeonthebaybottoms.Thesebargesusuallyrequiredpilingsaroundthemtokeep
themfrombeingmovedofflocationbywindsandwaves.Thefirstoffshorewell,definedas,outofsightofland,wasstartedon9September,1947byatenderassist
drilling(TAD)unitownedbyKerrMcGeein15ftofwaterintheGulfofMexico(GOM).AnexWorldWarII26048ftbargeservicedthedrillingequipmentset(DES),
whichconsistedofthedrawworks,derrick,andhoistingequipmentlocatedonawoodenpileplatform.[2]
TheBretonRig20(Fig.1),designedbyJohnT.Hayward(whowaswithBarnsdallRefiningCo.atthetime),wasalargepostedsubmersiblebargecreditedin1949with
drillingsomeofthefirstwellsintheopenwatersofLouisiana.ItwasdifferentfromtheKerrMcGeebargeinthatallthedrillingequipmentwasononebarge,anditcouldbe
towedasacompleteunit.Theunit,whichwasaconversionfromaninlanddrillingbarge,hadtwostabilitypontoons,oneoneachsideofthebarge,thathydraulicallyjackedup
anddownasthebargewassubmergedandpumpedout.Thesepontoonsprovidedthenecessarystabilityforthisoperation.TheBretonRig20,laterknownastheTransworld
Rig40,wasamajorstepforwardbecauseiteliminatedthecostandtimerequiredtobuildawoodenplatformtosupportallorsomeoftheoffshoretyperig.Althoughitdrilled
onlyinpredominantlyprotectedbaysinshallowwater(lessthan20ft),theBretonRig20maybeabletolayaqualifiedclaimasbeingthefirstmobileoffshoredrillingunit
(MODU).[3][4]

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_591_Image_0001.png)
Fig.1BretonRig20,aconvertedposted
swampdrillingbargecapableofdrillinginopen
Louisianawaterdepthsupto20ftin1949.
Retiredin1962.

ThefirstMODU
ThefirsttrulyoffshoreMODUwastheMr.Charlie,designedandconstructedfromscratchbyOceanDrillingandExplorationCo.(ODECO),headedbyitsinventorand
president,DocAldenJ.Laborde.TheMr.Charlie(Fig.2)wasapurposebuiltsubmersiblebargebuiltspecificallytofloatonitslowerhulltolocationand,inasequenceof
floodingthesterndown,endeduprestingonthebottomtobegindrillingoperations.WhentheMr.CharliewenttoitsfirstlocationinJune1954,Lifemagazinewroteaboutthe

novelnewideatoexploreforoilandgasoffshore.[5]TheMr.Charlie,ratedfor40ftwaterdepth,setthetoneforhowmostMODUswerebuiltintheGulfofMexico(GOM).
Usually,aninventorsecuredinvestors,inthiscaseMurphyOil,andthenfoundacustomerwithacontracttodrillfor,inthiscaseShellOil,allowingbankloanstobeobtained
tobuildtheunit.

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_592_Image_0001.png)
Fig.2Mr.Charlie,thefirstpurposebuilt(June
1954)openwaterMODUratedfor40ftwater
depth.Retiredinlate1986andnowamuseum
andtrainingriginMorganCity,Louisiana.

Becausetheshelfdroppedoffquickly,andwaterdepthsincreasedrapidlyofftheshoreofCalifornia,theapproachtherewasentirelydifferentfromthatintheGOM.Rigswere
installedonsurplusWorldWarIIshiphullsmodifiedtodrillinafloatingpositioncomparedwithsittingasubmersiblebargeontheoceanbottom,asdoneintheGOM.Oil
companiesformedpartnershipsorproceededindependently,butMODUswerenotdesignedandconstructedbycontractdrillingcompaniesinCalifornia.Alldesignand
constructionwasdoneinahighlysecretivemannerwithlittlesharingofknowledge,becausetechnologywasthoughttogiveanedgeinbiddingforstateoilandgasleases.
Beforetheleasingofoilandgasrightsin1955,oilcompaniescoredwithsmallrigscantileveredoverthesidemidshipofoldWorldWarIIbarges.Thesebargesdidnothave
wellcontrolequipmentortheabilitytorunacasingprogram.Theycouldonlydrilltoadesignatedcoredepthwiththeunderstandingthatiftheydrilledintoanyoiland/orgas
sands,theywouldstop,setacementplug,andpulloutofthecorehole.Thesecorevesselswerehighlysusceptibletowaveaction,resultinginsignificantroll,heave,andpitch,
whichmadethemdifficulttooperate.

Thefirstoffshoredrillingunittoimplementsubseawellcontrol
WithleasingfromthestateofCaliforniatoexploreandproduceoilandgas,wellcontrolandtheabilitytorunmultiplestringsofcasingbecamemandatoryandrequireda
totallynew,unproventechnology.ThefirstfloatingdrillingrigtousesubseawellcontrolwastheWesternExplorer(Fig.3)ownedbyChevron,whichspuddeditsfirstwellin
1955intheSantaBarbaraChannel.Othersfollowedquickly,withallofthemconcernedaboutthemarineenvironmentandtechnologytoallowdrillinginroughweather.In
1956,theCUSS1wasbuiltfromanotherWorldWarIIbarge.Theunit,builtbytheCUSSgroup(Continental,Union,Shell,andSuperiorOil),was260ftlongandhada48ft
beam.TheCUSSgroupeventuallyevolvedintowhatisnowGlobalSantaFe.

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_593_Image_0001.png)
Fig.3WesternExplorer,thefirst(1955)
floatingoilandgasdrillingMODUthatused
subseawellcontrol.Retiredin1972.

Theoriginaldesignershadnoexamplesorexperiencestogoby,sonoveltyandinnovationwerethecourseoftheday:
Torqueconvertersonthedrawworkswereusedasheavemotioncompensators
Rotariesweregimbaledtocompensateforrollandpitch
Thederrickwasplacedatmidshipoveraholeinthevesselcalledamoonpool.
Blowoutpreventers(BOPs)wererunoncasingtotheseafloor
Reentryintothewellwasthroughafunnelabovearotatinghead(riserlessdrillingisnotnew
Mudpitswereplacedinthehullwithmudpumps
Livingquarterswereadded
Itwasanexcitingandamazingtime,consideringthateveryonewasstartingwithablanksheetofpaper.
Fig.4showstheHumbleSM1drillingbarge(2043413ft)builtandownedbyHumbleOilandRefiningCo.(nowExxonMobil)in1957.Fig.5showsthesubsea
equipmentusedtodrillthewells.Notethatithasnomarineriser.TheHumbleSM1drilled65wellsforatotalcostof$11.74/ft,aboutdoublethecostoflanddrillingatthe
time,inanaveragewaterdepthof159ftandwithamaximumwelldepthof5,000ft.Theunitaveraged8.93daysperwellanddrilledanaverageof324ft/D.Unfortunately,the
unitsankinastormin1961whileonloantoanotheroperator.[6]Attheinsistenceofinsuranceunderwriters,theAmericanBureauofShipping(ABS)wroteandimplemented,
in1968,thefirstindependentcodes,guidelines,andregulationsconcerningthedesign,construction,andinspectionsofMODUhulls.

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_594_Image_0001.png)
(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_595_Image_0001.png)
Fig.4HumbleSM1,afloatingMODUdesigned
andoperatedbyHumbleOil&RefiningCo.(now
ExxonMobil)in1957.Oneofanumberoftop
secretdrillingunitsofthemid1950s.Courtesy
ofExxonMobilDevelopmentCo.

Fig.5HumbleOilandRefiningCo.sHumble
SM1subseadrillingsystemusedoffshore
California.CourtesyExxonMobilDevelopment
Co.

Offshoredrillingunitdesignevolution
WiththeMr.Charlie(bottomfounded)andWesternExplorer(floating)asthefirstMODUs,anotherconceptforaMODUshowedupintheformofajackup(/Jackups).This
typeofunitfloatedtolocationonahullwithmultiplelegsstickingoutunderthehull.Onceonlocation,thelegswereelectricallyorhydraulicallyjackeddowntotheocean
bottom,andthenthehullwasjackedupoutofthewater.Withthisapproach,astableplatformwasavailablefromwhichtodrill.InWorldWarII,theDeLongspudcanjacks
wereinstalledonbargesforconstructionand/ordocks.TheDeLongtyperigs(Fig.6)showsanexample,theGusI)werethefirstjackupsbuiltin1954.[7]Althoughjackups
initiallyweredesignedwith6to8legsandthenafewwith4legs,thevastmajorityofunitstodayhave3legs.TheGusIwasconstructedwithindependentlegs.TheLe
TourneauCo.builtforZapataCorp.thefirstlatticelegjackup,theScorpion(Fig.7),whichhadindependentlegswithspudcans.Tothisday,LeTourneaucontinuesto
specializeinlatticelegtypejackupMODUs.

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_596_Image_0001.png)
(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_597_Image_0001.png)
Fig.6WithaDeLongtypejackingsystem,the
GusI,builtin1954andratedfor100ftwater
depth,wastheforerunnerofthemodernjackup.
Initially,twobargesthatwereeventuallyjoined
permanently,buttheunitwaslostinastorm.

Fig.7LeTourneausScorpionbuiltforZapata
(nowDiamondOffshoreDrillingInc.)in1956for
80ftwaterdepthasanindependentlegjackup.
Lostin1969.

Amajorevolutionforthejackupdesignwastheintroductionofthecantilevereddrillfloorsubstructure(Fig.8)inthelate1970sandearly1980s.Asfixedplatformsgotbigger,
theslotjackupscouldnotswalloworsurroundtheplatformwithitsslotcontainingthedrillingequipmenthowever,thecantileverunitscouldskidthecantileveroutoverthe
platformafterjackingupnexttoit.Beforethecantileveredsubstructure,alljackupshadslots,usually50ft.square,locatedintheaftendofthehull.Duringtows,the
substructurewasskiddedtothemetacenterofthehull,butduringdrillingoperations,thesubstructurewasskiddedaftovertheslot.Thederrickand/orcrowncouldbeskidded
port/starboardtoreachwellsoffcenterjustliketodaysunitsdo.
Thewaterdepthrangeformostoftheearlyslotandcantileverdesignswasfrom150tojustover300ft.
Cantileverdrillfloorcentershadareachof40to45ftaftoftheafthulltransom.
variabledeckload(VDL)(/MODU_equipment_and_capabilities)ratingswere3,500to5,000kips.
Inthelate1990s,premiumorenhancedjackupsweredesignedandbuilt:
Theycouldcarrymuchlargerdeckloads(7,000kips)
Theycoulddrillindeepwaterdepths(400ft)
Theyhadmorecapabledrillingmachinery(7,500psihighpressuremudsystemsand750tonhoistingequipment)
Theyhadextendedcantileverreach(atleast70ft.)
Theyhadlargercantileverloadratingsofdoubleormoretheearlierunits(some>2,500,000lbm)

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_598_Image_0001.png)
Fig.8LeTourneaus116Ccantileveredjackup
withdrillfloorcantileveredoverafixedplatform.
Today'sworkhorsedesignofjackups.Courtesy
LeTourneau,Inc.

Thetenderassistdrilling(TAD)unit
TheTAD(/Tender_assist_drilling_(TAD)_units)conceptwasusedtodrillthefirstoffshoreoutofsightoflandwellintheworld.Initiallyusedasanexplorationmethod,it
hasevolvedintoadevelopmenttool.Thefirsttenderswereshapedlikebarges,butsomearenowshapedlikeshipsforbettermobilizationspeeds.
Basically,theDES(DrillingEquipmentSet)consistsofthederrick,hoistingequipment,BOPs,andsomemudcleaningequipment,reducingtherequiredspaceandweighttobe
placedonthefixedplatform.Therestoftherigislocatedonthetenderhullmoorednexttothefixedplatform,including:
Mudpits
Mudpumps
Powergenerators
Tubularsandcasingstorage
Bulkstorage
Accommodations
Fuel
Drillwater
Thisapproachturnedouttobeaverycosteffectivewaytodrillfromsmallfixedplatforms.Unfortunately,inmildandespeciallysevereweather,themooringlinescouldfail,
withthehullfloatingaway,asitoftendidinaGOMnorther.Today,mostTADsoperateinbenignorcalmenvironmentsintheFarEastandWestAfrica.

Thesemisubmersibleunit
In1992,thefirstsemisubmersible(semi)(/Semisubmersibles)SeahawkTAD(Fig.9)wasconvertedfromanoldsemiMODU.Thesemihullofferssuperiorstationkeepingand
vesselmotionscomparedwithshiporbargeshapedhulls:
Inasemihull,thewavetraincanmovethroughthetransparenthullwithoutexcitingittoheave,roll,andpitch,unlikeamonohull
Thelowerhullofthesemiisbelowthewateratadeeperdraft.
Thecolumnsofferareducedareatoexcitethehull
Theworkplatformormaindeckisaboveallwaveaction
TADsareseeingnewuseondeepwaterproductionplatforms,suchasspars,tensionlegplatforms(TLPs)(/Fixed_platform_rigs),anddeepwaterfixedplatforms,whichoperate
beyondjackupwaterdepths.

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_599_Image_0001.png)
Fig.9Worldsfirstpurposebuilt(conversion)
semiTADunitSeahawk.Convertedin1992from
asemiMODU.CourtesyAtwoodOceanics.

Growthofoffshoredrillingunits
Thingswereoffandrunninginthe1950s,withnumerousoperatorsgettingintotherigownershipandoperationbusinessandnewdrillingcontractorsbeingformedeveryyear.
Intheearly1960s,ShellOilsawtheneedtohaveamoremotionfreefloatingdrillingplatforminthedeeper,stormierwatersoftheGOM.Shellnoticedthatsubmersibleslike
theMr.Charlie,nownumberingalmost30units,wereverymotionfreeafloatcomparedwithmonohulls.Theideawastoputanchorsonasubmersible,usesomeofthe
Californiatechnologyforsubseaequipment,andconvertasubmersibletowhatisnowknownasasemisubmersibleorsemi.Thus,in1961,thesubmersibleBluewaterI(Fig.
10)wasconvertedtoasemiamidmuchtechnologicalsecrecy.Infact,inthemid1960s,ShellOilofferedtheindustrythetechnologyinaschoolpricedatU.S.$100,000per
participantandhadlotsoftakers.

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_600_Image_0001.png)
Fig.10WorldsfirstsemiMODU,Bluewater
No.1,convertedin1961/1962byShellOilfroma
submersiblehull.Lostin1964.

ThencametheOceanDriller,thefirstsemibuiltfromthekeelup(Fig.11).TheOceanDriller,designedandownedbyODECO,wenttoworkforTexacoin1963,withthe
mooringandsubseaequipmentownedbytheoperator,aswascommoninthe1960s.Theunitwasdesignedforapproximately300ft.ofwaterdepth,withthemodeltestsofthe
hulldoneinDocLabordesswimmingpool.TheOceanDrillercouldalsositonbottomandactasasubmersible,whichitdidwellintothe1980s.

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_601_Image_0001.png)
Fig.11Worldsfirstpurposebuilt(1963)semi
MODU,OceanDriller.Unitcouldoperateasa
semiorsubmersible.Retiredin1992and
scrapped.CourtesyODECO(nowDiamond
OffshoreInc.).

Firstgeneraltionsemiunits
Mostofthefirstgenerationunitscouldsitonbottomordrillfromthefloatingpositionasahedgeagainstunemployment.Theshapeandsizeofthefirstsemisvariedwidelyas
designersstrivedtooptimizevesselmotioncharacteristics,riglayout,structuralcharacteristics,VDL,andotherconsiderations.Thegenerationdesignationofsemisisavery
loosecombinationofwhentheunitwasbuiltorsignificantlyupgraded,thewaterdepthrating,andthegeneraloveralldrillingcapability.

Newergenerationsemiunits
Intheearly1970s,anew,secondgenerationsemiwasdesignedandbuiltwithnewer,moresophisticatedmooringandsubseaequipment.Thisdesigngenerallywasdesignedfor
600ftwaterdepth,withsomeextendingtogreaterthan1,000ft.TheOceanVictoryclass(Fig.12)wastypicaloftheunitsofthisera,whichconcentratedheavilyonreducing
motionsoftheplatformcomparedwithincreasedupperdeckVDLrating.Manywerebuilt,and,inthemiddletolate1980s,anumberofthirdgenerationsemisweredesigned
andbuiltthatcouldmoorandoperateingreaterthan3,000ftofwaterdepthandmoresevereenvironments.Manyofthethirdgenerationunitswereupgradedinthe1990sto
evendeeperwaterdepthratingswithmorecapabilitiesandbecamefourthgenerationunits.Withafewexceptions,theoperatingdisplacementoftheseunitswentfrom18,000
longtonsinthe1970stomorethan40,000longtonsinthe1980s.

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_602_Image_0001.png)
Fig.12ODECOsmulticolumnsecond
generationsemiOceanVictoryclassofearly
1970s.UnitshownistheOceanVoyager,drilling
intheNorthSeaintheearly1970s.Thisdesign
provedstructurallyveryattractiveforupgrade
tofourthandfifthgenerationunits(seeFig.
14.14).

Inthelate1990s,thefifthgenerationunits,suchastheDeepwaterNautilusshowninFig.13,becameevenlarger(>50,000longtondisplacement)andmorecapable.These
unitscanoperateinextremelyharshenvironmentsandingreaterthan5,000ftwaterdepth.Somesecondandthirdgenerationsemishavebeenconverted,givenlifeextensions
totheirhullsandupgradestotheirdrillingequipmentsoastobeclassedasfourthgenerationunits.Fig.14showsasecondgenerationOceanVictoryclassunit(seeFig.12)

thatwascompletelyupgradedtoafifthgenerationunitcapableofmooringandoperatingin7,000ftwaterdepth.NotetheadditionofcolumnblistersforincreasedVDL,
50%increaseindeckspace,andtheadditionofriserstorageandhandling.Alimitednumberofthird,fourth,andfifthgenerationsemishavedynamicpositioning(DP)assist
orfullDPstationkeepingcomparedwithaspreadmooringsystem.

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_603_Image_0001.png)
(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_604_Image_0001.png)
Fig.13DeepwaterNautilus,oneofthenewly
builtfifthgenerationultradeepwatersemisthat
hasDPassistforitsspreadmooringsystem.Note
spreadcolumnsforincreasedVDLandstability.
CourtesyTransoceanInc.

Fig.14OceanBaroness,oneoftheOcean
Victoryclass(Fig.12)secondgenerationsemis
upgradedtoafifthgenerationunit.Noteblister
additionstocolumn,deckexpansion,andmuch
largerderrick.ThissemialsodidsurfaceBOP
workinMalaysiain2003,alongwithsettingthe
worldsrecordselfcontainedspreadmooring
waterdepth(6,152ft).CourtesyDiamond
OffshoreDrillingInc.

Thefixedplatformunits
Fiftyyearsago,fixedplatforms(/Fixed_platform_rigs)hadlandrigsplacedonthemtodrillandcompletewells.Todaysplatformrigshavebeenrepackagedsothatthey:
Optimizetherigup/loadouttime
Requirelessspace
Arelighter
Havemoredrillingcapabilities
Drillingplatformrigsarestillcommon,buttodaysunitslookfardifferentfromthoseof30or40yearsago.Conventionalplatformrigsareusuallyloadedoutwithaderrick
barge.Somelargeplatformsmayhavetwodrillingunitsonthem.
Toeliminatethecostlyderrickbarge,selferectingmodularrigshavebeenbuiltforlightworkoversandfordrillingtomoderatedepths.Largerunitsthathavethecapabilityof
a1millionlbmhookloadhavebeenbuiltthatarelightweight,easiertorigup/loadout,andselferecting.TheadventofsparsandTLPsindeepwater,wherespaceanddeck
loadarecritical,hasgeneratedevenamoresophisticatedmodulardeepwaterplatformrig,whichishighlyspecializedtothestructureonwhichitsits(Fig.15).Theseplatform
rigs:
Arenotselferecting
Areuniquetothestructuretheyareplacedon
Aregenerallyverylight
Usuallyhavelimiteddrillingequipmentcapabilities

(/File%3ADevol2_1102final_Page_605_Image_0001.png)
Fig.15Exampleofhighlyspecializedandsite
specificmodularfixedplatformrigsusedon
spars,deepwaterfixedplatforms,andTLPs.This
unitisonaTLPintheGOM.CourtesyHelmerich
&PayneIntl.DrillingCo.

Bythemid1960s,thejackupdesignedrigsweredisplacingsubmersiblesinincreasingnumbers.Jackupshadmorewaterdepthcapabilitythaneventhelargestsubmersibles
(somecouldoperatein175ftwaterdepth),[7]andtheydidnotslideofflocationinsevereweather.Fromthispointon,jackupandsemidesignswererefinedandmadelarger
andmorecapablefromadrillingandenvironmentalstandpoint.

Theshipandbargeshapedunits
ShipandbargeshapedfloatingMODUs(/Conventional_ship_and_bargeshaped_rigs),initiallyattractivebecauseoftheirtransitspeedandeaseinmobilizations,decreasedin
numberassemisandjackupsbecamemorepopular.OneexceptionwastheDPdrillship,whichheldlocationoverthewellborebyuseofthrustersandmainscrewpropulsion
ratherthanaspreadmooringsystem.
Thefirstunitdevelopedinthemid1960s,althoughnotanoilandgasexplorationunit,wastheGlomarChallenger,whichwasdesignedandownedbyGlobalMarine
(nowGlobalSantaFe),andcontractedbytheNationalScienceFoundationfordeepseacoringaroundtheworld.Thisvesselconfirmedthetheoryofshiftingcontinental
plates
FollowingtheGlomarChallengerinthelate1960stoearly1970swereanumberoffirstgenerationDPoilandgasdrillships,suchastheSedco445
Subsequently,inthemiddletolate1970s,thesecondgenerationDPunitsweredeveloped,suchastheBenOceanLancer.TheBenOceanLancerwasanIHCHolland

Dutchdesign,whichalsoincludedtheFrenchrigsPelerinandPelican,whichwereownedbytheFrenchcompanyForamer(nowPride).Theseunitscoulddrillinupto
2,000to3,000ftwaterdepth,hadbetterstationkeepingabilityinmoderatemetoceanconditions,andhadbetteroveralldrillingcapabilities
DPshipsofthelate1990sandearly2000scanoperateingreaterthan10,000ftwaterdepthandaretwotothreetimeslargerthantheearlierDPships,withextremely
complexstationkeepinganddualactivitydrillingsystems
Dualdrillingconsistsbasicallyofsomedegreeoftwocompletederricksanddrillingsystemsononehull,sothatsimultaneousoperations,suchasrunningcasingwhiledrilling
withtheotherderrick,canbeperformed.Theseunitsareveryexpensivetobuildandoperate,butcanovercometheircostwithsupposedlyhigherefficiency.Theyshouldbe
reviewedforpossibleuse,undertherightconditions,asanalternativetostandardsingleoperationunits.Examplesofsuchconditionsinclude:
Batchdrillingasubseatemplate
Largedevelopmentprojectsoveratemplate
Deepwatershortwells
Wellsituationsinwhichmorethanoneoperationcanbenefittheoverallplan

TechnologicaldevelopmentoftheMODU
Theoffshoredrillingindustryhashadspurtsofconstructionanddesignimprovementsoverits50yearhistory.ThefirstwastheconceptionoftheMODUsinthemid1950s,
followedbyamildbuildingperiodinthemid1960s.Intheearly1970s,thereweresignificantnumbersofjackupsandsemisubmersiblesbuilt.However,themajorboomofthe
late1970sandearly1980shasbeenunmatchedinnumbersofrigsbuilt.Startinginthelate1980s,anumberofdrillingcontractorsupgradedrigsbuiltinthe1970sandearly
1980stodeepwaterdepths,moresevereenvironmentalratings,andbetterdrillingabilitiesratherthanbuildingnewunits.Theconceptwasthatdeliveryandcostcouldbecutin
halfcomparedwithanewbuild.Somedrillingcontractorshavesuccessfullybuilttheirentirebusinessplanaroundconversioninsteadofnewbuild.
Sincetheoilandgasbustofthemid1980s,therehasonlybeenonespurtofnewbuilding,andthatwasinthelate1990s.Mergersandbuyoutsofdrillingcontractorsandrigs
dominatedtheindustryfromthemid1980stothemid1990s.Onedrillingcontractor,GlobalSantaFe,monthlypublishesapercentagenumberrelatedtodayrateandcostof
buildinganewunit.A100%ratingmeansnewunitscanbebuiltprofitablyhowever,thepercentagenumberhaslingeredinthe40to60%rangeoverthelast15yearsorso,
withspurtsinto80%.Byitsnature,thedrillingbusinessisbuiltonoptimismforthefuturethatmaynotalwaysshowproperreturnsoninvestmentintermsofnewbuildsor
conversions.Highonhopeandthefuture,thecontractdrillingbusinesshashistoricallynotbeenconservativeandhasnotfollowedgenerallyacceptedrulesofinvestment.
Intheearly2000s,theaverageageofthefleetwasmorethan20years,withsomeunitsmorethan30yearsold.Fewarelessthan5yearsold.Somehavebeenupgradedand
havehadlifeextensions,whichmeansthat,withgoodcareandmaintenance,thebasichull,ifitand/ortherigarenotrenderedtechnologicallyobsolete,maylastmorethan40
years,asdounitsinthedredgingbusiness.
Technologicallyobsoletemeansthattheunitneedstohave:
1.Uptodatefeaturessuchas:
Topdrive,
Mudsolidscontrol,
Pipehandlingequipment,etc
2.Enoughpowertorunallthenewequipment
Thefleetin2003stoodatapproximately390jackups,170semis,30ships,and7submersibles.Fixedplatformrigsnumberabout50,andTADsnumberabout25.

Thefutureofoffshoredrilling
Theconsensusisthattheoffshoredrillingbusinesswillcontinuetogrow,withemphasisontechnicalbreakthroughstoreducedrillingcosts.Theindustryhasdemonstratedthat
itcandrillinwaterdepthsuptoandmorethan10,000ft.,andcanoperateinthemostsevereenvironments,butallataveryhighcostthatcanrunintohundredsofthousandsof
dollarsperday.Ultradeepwaterwellscostingmorethan$50millionarecommon,andsomewellshavecostmorethan$100million.Itisverydifficulttojustifywellsthatcost
thismuchgiventherisksinvolvedindrillingtheunknown.Thechallengetotheoffshoreindustryistodrillsafelyandeconomically,whichmeanstechnologyofeconomics,
withsafety,environment,security,andpersonnelhealthallplayingalargerole.

References
1. 1.01.1Silcox,W.H.,etal.1987.OffshoreOperations.InPetroleumEngineeringHandbook,secondedition.Richardson,Texas:SPE,Chapter18.
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3. MobileRigRegister,eighthedition.2002.Houston,Texas:ODSPetrodata.
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6. Harris,L.M.1957.HumbleSM1OffshoreExplorationVessel,PetroleumEngineeringProjectReport.LosAngeles,California:HumbleOilandRefiningCo.,
ProductionDepartmentCaliforniaArea.
7. 7.07.1Howe,R.J.1986.EvolutionofOffshoreDrillingandProductionTechnology.PresentedattheOffshoreTechnologyConference,Houston,Texas,58May.OTC
5354MS.http://dx.doi.org/10.4043/5354MS(http://dx.doi.org/10.4043/5354MS).

Seealso
PEH:OffshoreDrillingUnits(/PEH%3AOffshore_Drilling_Units)
Tenderassistdrilling(TAD)units(/Tender_assist_drilling_(TAD)_units)
Semisubmersibles(/Semisubmersibles)

NoteworthypapersinOnePetro
T.F.MarucciandD.E.McDaniel1970.SafetyofMobileOffshoreDrillingUnits,OffshoreTechnologyConference,2224April.1321MS.http://dx.doi.org/10.4043/1321MS
(http://dx.doi.org/10.4043/1321MS)

Externallinks
AmericanBureauofShipping(ABS)(http://www.eagle.org/)

(https://www.onepetro.org/search?q=Historyofoffshoredrillingunits)

(http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=Historyofoffshoredrillingunits)

(http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=Historyofoffshoredrillingunits)

(http://wiki.seg.org/index.php?

title=Special%3ASearch&redirs=1&fulltext=Search&ns0=1&ns4=1&ns500=1&redirs=1&title=Special%3ASearch&advanced=1&fulltext=Advanced+search&search=History
ofoffshoredrillingunits)

(http://wiki.aapg.org/index.php?

title=Special%3ASearch&profile=advanced&fulltext=Search&ns0=1&ns4=1&ns102=1&ns104=1&ns106=1&ns108=1&ns420=1&ns828=1&redirs=1&profile=advanced&search=H
ofoffshoredrillingunits)