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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 47 (1963)

Issue: 2. (February)

First Page: 362

Last Page: 362

Title: Floating Drilling Methods Open Areas for Oil Exploration: ABSTRACT

Author(s): S. H. Lloyd

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Until recent years, prospecting for oil has been limited to land areas. While marine drilling methods date back as far as the early 1900s, the most concerted effort to develop inundated properties began in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana Coast in 1947. First attempts to drill in open water utilized the platform-tender method, still in use today. It appeared obvious that cheaper methods of wildcatting were required, as the expense of installing the platform was prohibitive in the event of a dry hole. The solution was found in the submersible drilling barge, a mobile platform for exploratory work.

Approximately 50 submersible barges were constructed for use in the Gulf of Mexico. Existing leases were in water depths of 100 feet and less. Enormous reserves were discovered in this area and it was assumed that substantial reserves should likewise be found on all of the Continental Shelf. Immediately, water-depth limitations for available equipment were reached and again it became necessary to search for new solutions to the inherent problems.

The drilling equipment for this new project would necessarily be required to operate in open water of depths as great as 600 feet and be capable of drilling to 15,000 feet with a minimum of risk and shut-down time due to weather. This paper discusses the evolution of one such piece of equipment, the problem involved in its design and the results of operation in deep water. In this way, new areas have been opened to oil exploration.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists