P.O. Box 1988 - Morgan City, Louisiana, 70381
The Short Story
From 1954 to 1986 "Mr. Charlie" drilled hundreds of offshore wells off the coast of Morgan City, Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. He was the first transportable, submersible drilling rig and an industry springboard to the current offshore rig technology.
"Mr. Charlie" was built in 1952 and finished in 1953. In 1954 he went to work for Shell Oil Company, drilling a new field in East Bay, near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Despite skepticism from offshore industry professionals, "Mr. Charlie" performed up to expectations and went on to drill hundreds of wells for every other major oil company operating in the Gulf, with a cumulative depth of 2.3 million feet.
His barge is approximately 220 feet long and 85 feet wide. Under the living quarters pontoons extend the width to 136 feet. The barge is 14 feet deep, with a 4 foot skirt extending below its bottom on both port and starboard sides. The floor of the platform is 60 feet above the barge, supported by the massive legs that serve to connect the barge and platform. These legs also serve as conduit for connecting services such as: electric, water & air lines, elevator access and other services needed to operate an independent facility, out of sight of land.
"Mr. Charlie" could accommodate a crew of 58. Once "Mr. Charlie" was on location, he was an independent island and nearly totally self-sufficient with room to store drinking water, food, and supplies for the crew. He generated his own electricity, disposed of his own waste, provided his own communication system, and contained enough fuel to accomplish these tasks. He also maintained supplies and equipment to perform his job of drilling a well. He also had to be prepared for any emergency with a complete fire fighting system, blow out preventors, and medical supplies and equipment.
"Mr. Charlie" was capable of drilling wells in water depths up to 40 feet and had a prolific career lasting nearly 4 decades. He revolutionized the offshore oil industry in the Gulf and world-wide. He was retired in late 1986 when drilling activity headed into water deeper than his "feet." The offshore industry was born in Morgan City, and "Mr. Charlie" carried it into the Gulf of Mexico and shipped it around the globe. "Mr. Charlie" revolutionized the offshore oil industry and lead to the technology currently being used around the world. This historic and renowned structure now continues in a new role, teaching others about an industry that changed the world; the offshore oil industry.
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