Biggest Oil Platform Rigs in the World as of 2017
As oceans swell around them, some of the world's tallest manmade structures live in water, not on land. There's not a whole lot of variety when it comes to this manmade mammoths of the sea. Most of theses mega-builds draw oil from the depths, the only purpose as yet discovered that's lucrative enough to pay for their out-sized cost and complicated engineering. One more thing they have in common is that they all can wow with impressive size. We look at seven of the most intense and impressive offshore structures across the globe.
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While the Berkut oil platform toils in near anonymity in Russia's Far East, it does so with a heft unlike any other rig. At 200000 tons, the Bekut holds the record for the biggest in the world, above water. It can work under its own power down to minus-47 degrees Fahrenheit, withstand chunks of floating ice up to six feet thick and shake off waves up to 60 feet high.
While Berkut may prove the heftiest above the water, Stones, opened in September 2016 and operated by Shell, goes the deepest of any offshore structure, reaching a staggering 9,500 feet underwater. Located in the Gulf of Mexico, the Stones above-water structure—significantly more boat-like than your average oil rig—was built in Singapore before making the cross-ocean trip to its current location. There, it ties to two wells, with plans to expand to six over time. Stones uses a flexible "steel lazy wave riser" to carry oil and gas to the top, with the bend in the piping absorbing the motion of the structure.
Until Stones opened just months ago, Perdido—also located in the Gulf of Mexico and operated by Shell—was the deepest of all the offshore structures, dropping its roots a dizzying 8000 feet (one and a half miles) underwater. Built in Finland before making its trek to about 200 miles south of Galveston, Texas, the main structure—which sits mostly underwater—stretches about 875 feet, about the same height as the Eiffel Tower.
Olympus, or Mars B
Weighing 120000 tons—more than 300 Boeing 747 jets—the
2014 built Olympus Mars B development in the Gulf of Mexico sits in 3,100 feet
of water. From the base of the hull to the top of the derrick, Olympus is 406
feet tall and has a combined deck area of 342000 square feet, taller and with
more floor area than the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
The 1,548 foot tall Troll A platform off the west coast of
Norway includes 1,210 feet of structure below the water's surface. Along with
impressive height, when the platform moved over land into the North Sea in 1996
in a seven-day process, it became the largest object to ever be moved by man across the earth.
If you're looking for tall oil rigs, look no further than the Gulf of Mexico where you'll find the Chevron-operated Petronius. The platform's piled tower design gives the whole structure a height of 2001 feet, but with only 246 feet visible above water. The
43000 ton structure hovers above the seabed which lays 1754 feet below, and the underwater structure can sway in excess of two percent of its height.
The world's first iceberg-resistant gravity-based structure, the Hibernia platform includes a 41000 ton topside facility mounted on a 660000 ton gravity base
structure, which literally sits on the seabed. The largest offshore platform in Canada, the Hibernia can withstand
a six-million-ton iceberg, and has an iceberg management system that works to detect
the movements of incoming ice and alter its path away from the structure.
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.
Blue Whale One
China’s homemade deep-sea drilling platform. China’s sixth-generation homemade deep-sea semi-submersible drilling platform has successfully completed its deep-sea trial, local media reported, marking a further improvement in China’s capability of manufacturing high-end deep-water drilling rigs. With a length of 104.5 meters, a width of 70.5 meters and a height of 105.8 meters, the platform is able to operate in water depths up to 1500 meters and drill as deep as 9144 meters. It is so far the world’s most advanced drilling platform.