Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is an Oil Rig?

With all of the attention the industry has been getting lately due to the Deepwater Horizon Tragedy and subsequent spill, I have been seeing the term "Oil Rig" blazed across the headlines in all of the media outlets. The term has been used as a fast and loose term to describe any offshore oil and gas industry facility.

There is no such thing as an "oil rig"! 


There are drilling rigs and there are platforms. Drilling rigs can not be classified as oil rigs because they do not only drill for oil. a lot of the time they are drilling for gas.

There are the following classifications of offshore facilities:


  • Drilling Rigs
    • Jackups - Stands on "legs" on the sea floor
    • Inland Barge - Used in marshes, swamps, and shallow bays
    • Submersibles - Has traits in common with inland barges and semi-submersibles, but used in deeper waters than inland barges. Sits on the seafloor.
    • Semi-Submersibles - also known as a "Floater" because the rig floats. can be anchored or use thrusters and be dynamically positioned
    • Drillships - An actual ship with a drilling package on it.
    • Platform Rig - This type is a component package that is installed on production platforms to drill development wells in a reservoir.
  • Production Platforms 
    • Fixed Platform - This is the type of platform that you can see from Fourchon or Grand Isle. It is fixed to the sea floor.
    • Floating Platforms - Various configurations that include Tension Leg Platforms and Spar Platforms.

So, in conclusion, please tell all of your friends, newspaper reporters, and TV Anchorpersons, DO NOT use the term "OIL RIG"! It is an inaccurate term.
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