In order to search out new oil assets in continuation of the onshore discoveries, drillers had very early the need to enterprise out to sea, within the shallow waters off the coast of the Louisiana. Tender assisted and submersible drilling rigs comparable to Mr. Charlie, went first offshore with encouraging successes. However the necessity for secure, secure and cell platforms for drilling at sea shortly appeared.
Colonel DeLong and J.R. McDermott managed to construct the Offshore Rig 51, the primary self-elevating drilling unit to enter service in 1954. The ten-legged rig was adopted in 1954 by Mr Gus, a self-elevating unit succesful to drill in 100 ft of water.
R.G. LeTourneau one of the crucial creative minds in fashionable America had an thought for a vessel that might safely drill offshore. He was not impressed by the hydraulic and pneumatic jacking programs utilized by DeLong. He got here with novel concepts and completely new ideas.
In 1953 LeTourneau offered three of his crops at which he was efficiently manufacturing large earthmoving gear. After conducting intensive engineering research in oceanography, hurricane winds and tidal waves, he started design the Scorpion, a cell, self-elevating, all-weather offshore drilling platform that might be floated to the drill website then shortly transformed to a stabilized construction and work as a land rig.
LeTourneau walked away from aggressive designs in two respects:
• Captivated by simplicity and economic system he imagined a triangular platform supported by solely Three open-lattice tripod-type help legs to the ocean ground.
• He rejected advanced jacks, grips, pneumatic and hydraulic jacking units to raise the platform in favor of electro-mechanically powered rack and pinion programs granting unprecedented repositioning velocity.
The building of the costly and unproven Scorpion required as much as $Three million which LeTourneau didn’t discover instantly. He proposed the thought to Zapata Off-Shore Company of Houston headed by future United States President, George H W Bush. He would construct the Scorpion at his personal expense. Zapata would advance him $400,000, refundable if the finished rig didn’t work; if it did, he would get an added $550,000 and 38,000 shares of Zapata Off-Shore widespread inventory.
The contract to ship the primary cell offshore platform was signed on November 11, 1954. Construction started in late 1954 close to LeTourneau’s Vicksburg plant on the shores of the Mississippi River.
The Scorpion was a shallow draft barge geared up with three electro-mechanically-operated 140-ft lattice kind metal legs and a derrick slot. The rig was succesful to drill in 80ft of water. Scorpion’s unmatched repositioning velocity was resulting from its capacity to stabilize with just a few ft leg penetration after which shortly elevate.
The platform was handed over to Zapata Off-Shore and formally christened Scorpion on March 20, 1956, in a ceremony the place R G LeTourneau introduced a Three-ft Key to the Gulf to Zapata’s president, George Bush. Scorpion went into service off the coast of Port Aransas, Texas and drilled its first nicely for the Standard Oil Company. The rig then moved to a different location off the coast of Galveston, then into the Gulf of Mexico. In June 1956, the Scorpion set a drilling rig world relocation report by touring roughly one mile underneath tow from one nicely website to a different and commenced drilling a brand new nicely inside eight ½ hours.
Vinagron, a second jack up unit was delivered to Zapata in 1957.
According to the LeTourneau database, the Scorpion sank in a storm whereas it was being towed close to the Canary Islands on November 22, 1969.
Although pushed by an excessive amount of self-confidence, LeTourneau in all probability didn’t think about that his concepts would ceaselessly revolutionize the world of offshore drilling. The Scorpion definitively marked the historical past of the jackups. The identical idea and the identical know-how would stay unchanged over time and probably the most fashionable models…

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