Oil Platform - History

History

Around 1891 the first submerged oil wells were drilled from platforms built on piles in the fresh waters of the Grand Lake St. Marys (a.k.a. Mercer County Reservoir) in Ohio. The wide but shallow reservoir was built from 1837 to 1845 to provide water to the Miami and Erie Canal.

Around 1896 the first submerged oil wells in salt water were drilled in the portion of the Summerland field extending under the Santa Barbara Channel in California. The wells were drilled from piers extending from land out into the channel.

Other notable early submerged drilling activities occurred on the Canadian side of Lake Erie in the 1900s and Caddo Lake in Louisiana in the 1910s. Shortly thereafter, wells were drilled in tidal zones along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. The Goose Creek field near Baytown, Texas is one such example. In the 1920s drilling was done from concrete platforms in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela.

The oldest subsea well recorded in Infield's offshore database is the Bibi Eibat well which came on stream in 1923 in Azerbaijan. Landfill was used to raise shallow portions of the Caspian Sea.

In the early 1930s the Texas Company developed the first mobile steel barges for drilling in the brackish coastal areas of the gulf.

In 1937 Pure Oil Company (now part of Chevron Corporation) and its partner Superior Oil Company (now part of ExxonMobil Corporation) used a fixed platform to develop a field in 14 feet (4.3 m) of water, one mile (1.6 km) offshore of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.

In 1946, Magnolia Petroleum Company (now part of ExxonMobil) erected a drilling platform in 18 ft (5.5 m) of water, 18 miles off the coast of St. Mary Parish, Louisiana.

In early 1947 Superior Oil erected a drilling/production platform in 20 ft (6.1 m) of water some 18 miles off Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. But it was Kerr-McGee Oil Industries (now Anadarko Petroleum Corporation), as operator for partners Phillips Petroleum (ConocoPhillips) and Stanolind Oil & Gas (BP), that completed its historic Ship Shoal Block 32 well in October 1947, months before Superior actually drilled a discovery from their Vermilion platform farther offshore. In any case, that made Kerr-McGee's well the first oil discovery drilled out of sight of land.

The Thames Sea Forts of World War II are considered the direct predecessors of modern offshore platforms. Having been pre-constructed in a very short time, they were then floated to their location and placed on the shallow bottom of the Thames estuary.

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