Fuel for Thought
6 Biggest Oil Rigs in the World
Nov 06 2014
Asked to name the world’s tallest structures, you’d be expected to include the likes of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper and the Tokyo Sky Tree in your list. But what about an oil rig?
These vast offshore platforms are home to thousands of rig workers across the globe - from the bracing North Sea to the Gulf of Mexico. They come in all shapes and sizes: some oil rigs are fixed to the bottom of the ocean, while others are anchored and float on the surface. In all, there are ten different types of oil rig - each one an incredible structure in its own right.
When it comes to size, some oil rigs are a little more awe-inspiring than others. Here’s a whistle-stop tour of six of the biggest oil rigs.
This 200,000 ton rig is situated off the Russian Pacific coast. While other oil rigs are larger beneath the surface, Berkut boasts the biggest upper part in the world. Translated as ‘Golden Eagle’, Berkut is built to withstand subarctic conditions: including 60 foot waves, and temperatures of up to minus 44 degrees celsius. It is due to begin extracting oil in December 2014.
Operated by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico, Perdido (see image above) is the world’s deepest oil rig at 2.450 metres. It is a floating spar platform - meaning it stands on a long, weighted column for stability. To truly appreciate the scale of Perdido, this National Geographic video makes for fascinating viewing.
Like Perdido, the Petronius oil platform is in the Gulf of Mexico. At 2,001 feet, it is one of the tallest free-standing structures in the entire world. But to look at Petronius, you would not guess at its scale: just 75 metres protrude from the water’s surface.
With the capacity to hold 1.2 million barrels of crude oil, the enormous Hibernia oil rig has its home east of the Canadian coast in the North Atlantic. During the peak of its construction, an impressive 5,800 people were employed. Hibernia became operational in November 1997.
Otherwise known as ‘Mars B’, Olympus is owned by Shell and is the company’s largest floating deep-water platform. The hull was built in South Korea, and became operational in February 2014. This infographic sums up the impressive facts and figures.
Located off the coast of Louisiana, Baldplate was the first ever free-standing offshore compliant tower. Designed by Hudson Engineering in Houston, Texas, Baldplate stands in an impressive 1,650 feet of water. Its production peak was reached in 1999.
Today there are millions of commercial oil wells peppered across the globe, each one generating a huge amount of cash. But where did this worldwide phenomenon begin? To shed some light on the history of oil, we’ve scoured global records and come up with a list of what claim to be the world’s first ever oil wells.
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