The first platform out of the sight of land was installed in the
In over five decades since, the industry has grown remarkably. There are now over 4,000 offshore platforms in the world, and the deepest production comes from more than 7,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. Exploration drilling recently raised the world’s record to over 10,000 feet of water depth.
The safe, reliable, profitable production of hydrocarbons from beneath the ocean requires a combination of technologies that have been developed as the industry has moved to ever-deeper water. Meteorology, oceanography, naval architecture, structural dynamics, fatigue, corrosion, communication, instrumentation, development of synthetic structural materials, remotely operated vehicles – these are some of the sciences and technologies that have developed to support the offshore industry. The offshore industry has developed remarkable tools, such as jack-up drilling rigs, semisubmersibles, and dynamically positioned drillships. The public and the news media remain remarkably ignorant of the technical achievements of the industry. The difference between a fixed production platform and a deep water mobile offshore drilling unit often is unrecognized in a news item.