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Drilling Equipment

Mobile Drilling Units: Submersible Rigs

In 1928 Louis Giliasso filed a patent for a submersible drilling barge based on his experiences in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. The first submersible went to work for The Texas Company on November 17, 1933 at State-Pelto No. 10, Louisiana. It was equipped to drill to 6,000 ft and operate in 15 ft of water. John Hayward saw the opportunity to combine a barge and a piled platform, so that the rig's working decks were above the water and only the columns connecting to the submerged barge were exposed to wave forces. He developed a method for ballasting the barge to the seafloor without it becoming unstable and overturning. The Breton Rig 20 was conceived by Hayward and built for Barnsdall Oil & Refining Co. getting into operation in 1949. It drilled 19 wells before being sold to Kerr-McGee in 1950. An improved version of the submersible was developed by Alden J. "Doc" Laborde, a young Naval engineer, who founded Ocean Drilling and Exploration Co. (ODECO) in 1953. The rig was built in Alexander Shipyard in New Orleans, and was named Mr. Charlie after Charles Murphy, President of Murphy Oil. Its first well was drilled for Shell in the East Bay Field, near the mouth of the Mississippi in 1954. Water would be pumped into the barge to sink it. When resting on the bottom, it formed a stable platform from which to drill. When the drilling was finished, the submersible could be refloated and towed to the next location. Mr. Charlie is now a museum in Morgan City, Louisiana.

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

Emile J. Brinkmann, Jr., Louis Giliasso, Jerome L. Goldman, John Hayward, Alden J. "Doc" Laborde, Charles Murphy, Jr., Paul Wolff Barnsdall Oil & Refining Co. (Oryx Energy), Kerr-McGee, Murphy Oil, ODECO (Diamond Offshore), Shell, The Texas Company (ChevronTexaco)

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

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