Saturday, July 23, 2005

Trident 1

The Trident 1 is a jack-up rig. The legs are raised high for towing by tug boats to location where the 3 anchors from each corner keep it on location until the steel legs are lowered to the sea bed. The vessel is raised slowly above the water to an air gap of 25 feet. Normal drilling position is as shown here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


The Sedco A is a semi submersible oil rig which is used by Shell mainly for exploration drilling. It is mobile and is towed to location by huge Smit Lloyd tug boats. Three huge anchors from each corner keeps it on location during the drilling phase. This was the largest rig used by Shell. During the peak drilling years we had 8 rigs working on the continental shelf, offshore Sarawak and Sabah.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Platform rigs

Platform rigs are less common because of higher drilling costs due to larger size platform required. Shown here is a supply vessel being unloaded.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Tender assisted rigs

The Jumbo is a barge or tender used as drilling crew accommodations. On board there is space for pipe storage, a helipad, mud pumps, tanks, 2 cranes and chemical stores complete with a folk lift. A flying fox is used to pick up pipes from the barge to the drilling platform.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


An oil well in Brunei. It produces very little crude, maybe 50 to 100 barrels/day? The well is shallow and probably drilled more than 50 years ago. Since oil was discovered off-shore, not many new production wells were drilled on land after 1970. An off-shore well will flow without pumping, probably for 10 years or more; producing as much as 1000 barrels/day! There are about 800 wells out there in the South China Sea off-shore Brunei, Sarawak and Sabah. Some of these are gas wells producing natural gas.

After about 10 years the well pressure slowly declines. Other methods (eg. gas lifting) are used to enable the old wells to continue production for a few more years. Finally, a pump (donkey) will be installed to continue extraction of crude for another 20 years or more. Well No: 1 a shallow well on the Canada Hill in Miri produced oil for over 50 years. Some wells in the Seria land fields near Anduki have been producing even longer.


Just look at the size of this artificial island. There are 10 separate platforms connected by walkways. Each platform is constructed on top of piles driven individually into the seabed. Only the rich sultan of Brunei can afford to spend money like this.

Drilling platform

An off-shore oil rig on a production/drilling platform (artificial island fabricated from steel). It is shown here without the drilling tender which will be positioned just under the window maker which is shown here at extreme right, hanging at an angle of 45 degrees. Another option is to install every thing on the drilling platform without using a tender. For that you will need a larger platform with subsequent increase in costs. The crane barge CB2 is shown in the background. It has just installed the derrick set on to the drilling platform.


This photo was taken during well test on the semi-sub Margie in 1976. I was working as a wireline operator. Bob Carrol was my completions supervisor. Behind me is a Sikorsky helicopter on a regular crew change flight.

Crew change

Crew change on the drill ship Danwood Ice. This is a Puma helicopter as contracted by Britow Helicopters. Previously Shell used their company owned Sikorsky which are much larger. A drill ship has its own propeller. Some modern drill ships can remain on location during drilling operations by using a computer controlled device which activates the powerful side thrusters. The Danwood Ice used anchors. The moon pool is located in the centre. This drill ship has a sauna with a small swimming pool on board! The accommodations were luxurious and the food was good. It has a free Coke dispenser and an ice-cream machine in the galley!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Smit-Lloyd 105

Powerful tug boats like this one are used to move oil rigs like a semi-sub, jack-up or tender.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Heavy land rig

The Deutag D-10 heavy land rig at Tudan, near Pujut 8. If your house is located near the river bank, be very careful. There might be an oil well under your bedroom! Two other wells were drilled near the artificial lake at Pujut Corner. Some times, joggers at the lake can see bubbles coming up! Apparently when the wells were abandoned, the cement plugs set by Dowel Schlumberger and supervised by trainee drillers were not the best. I would not buy a house near the lake, if I were you.