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Production Technology

Platforms: Piled

The beginning of the offshore oil industry was marked by three piled structures set off the coast of Louisiana in 1947 (out of site of land--about 10 miles offshore). The leases were owned by Kerr-McGee/Phillips/Stanolind, Superior, and Exxon. Prior work offshore involved wooden piles and structures which were generally connected to shore by trestles. The builders of early platforms anticipated that offshore construction work would be both dangerous and slow. Consequently, much thought was given to the possibility of doing some prefabrication onshore, to make the offshore effort easier. One such idea was that of M. B. Willey, Chief Engineer of J. Ray McDermott Co. Willey pioneered the concept of building a steel tubular space frame on land, transporting it to the offshore site, and setting it in position with a crane. The legs of the space frame extended from the sea bottom to above the water's surface. Steel piling could then be driven through the hollow legs to "pin" the structure to the bottom. The bracing that tied the legs together helped to transmit the wave loading to the seabed. The jacket, as this space frame template came to be known, also served as a steel cage protecting the wells. As the industry evolved, the piled jacket became the standard support structure for the offshore industry. Many thousands of such jackets have been fabricated and installed in all parts of the world. As the industry advanced, jackets were designed and built for ever deeper water. Today there are a number of jackets in water depths over 1000 ft.

Recognizing the pioneering efforts of the following people and companies who contributed to the development of this technology:

Francis P. "Pat" Dunn, Arthur L. Guy, Ferdinand R. Hauber, Griff C. Lee, Ralph Thomas "J. Ray" McDermott, Frank Motley, Jay B. Weidler, M. B. Willey
Brown & Root, Exxon (ExxonMobil), J. Ray McDermott Co., Kerr-McGee, Phillips Petroleum, Shell, Stanolind (BP), Superior (ExxonMobil)


2011 Call for Nominations
2011 Industry Pioneer Nomination Form 
2011 Technology Pioneer Nomination Form

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