Offshore rigs are vessels unlike
any the world has ever known. To be able to build these behemoths
and make them seaworthy requires unusual vision, determination and
ingenuity. A few shipyards rose to the challenge. Alexander
Shipyard, of New Orleans, built the first self-contained, mobile
offshore drilling unit (MODU), the Breton Rig 20 in 1949, following
an idea developed by John Hayward.
Requiring considerable coordination
between the shipbuilders and the drilling contractors, various
designs were built in yards along the Gulf Coast. However, the work
required the shipyards to make considerable modifications to their
engineering and construction practices. Only a few were successful.
By 1972, six Gulf Coast yards, Alexander and Avondale, of New
Orleans, LA; Bethlehem, of Beaumont, TX; Ingalls, in Pascagoula, MS;
LeTourneau, of Vicksburg, MS; and Levingston, in Orange, TX, had
built a total of 104 MODUs, a remarkable achievement. Bethlehem
developed a unique jackup design that includes our own Ocean Star
Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum.
Letourneau is still producing jackup rigs of its own design today.
Two Singapore shipyards, Keppel
FELS and PPL, started building offshore rigs in the early 70s.
Today, they have emerged as modern pioneers, leaders in researching
and designing rigs for deeper waters and severe operational
pioneering efforts of the following individuals and companies who
contributed to the development of this technology:
Alexander Shipyard (now Bollinger
Gulf Repair), Avondale Shipyard (now Northrup Grumman Ship Systems),
Bethlehem Shipyard, Ingalls Shipbuilding (now Northrup Grumman Ship
Systems), Keppel Offshore & Marine, LeTourneau Inc. (now LeTourneau
Technologies, Inc.), Levingston Shipbuilding Company, PPL Shipyard