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Drilling Equipment

Mobile Drilling Units: Tender Rigs

Initial offshore drilling was carried out using small, piled platforms. The equipment, supplies, and personnel were housed on converted LSTs (Landing Ship Tanks) and Y-F (Yard-Fighter) barges, which after 1947, were surplus from World War II. These vessels were known as "tenders" (named after the coal-carrying tenders coupled to steam train engines). R.S. Kerr pioneered the use of tender rigs and is chronicled as the first to strike oil out of sight of land in 1947 in Ship Shoal Block 32. Phillips Petroleum Co. (50%) and Stanolind Oil and Gas Co. (37.5%) were partners in the well. Kerr-McGee acted as driller and operator. The tender was the Frank Phillips. The prototype of the Kerr-McGee tender approach was introduced in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, in 1934 and prior to that similar setups had been used in the marshy areas of the Gulf coast. Oil companies bought LSTs and refitted them for offshore purposes after this first discovery. For the next several years, 90% of the offshore wells were drilled from tender-platform combinations.

The narrow gangplank connecting the heaving tender with the stationary platform was called the "widow-maker" with good reason.

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

Robert S. Kerr, Sr., Frank Phillips Kerr-McGee, Phillips Petroleum, Stanolind (BP)

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

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