Deep in the bayou country of Louisiana is the town of Morgan City.
Located on the Atchafalaya River, it is located less than 20 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. With the offshore oil industry centered off of Louisiana and Texas, Morgan City is an important industrial town of support companies.
One of the highlights of Morgan City is The Rig Museum. This museum has a nice collection of diving and submersibles that has been used in the industry since it’s inception.
While outside are some retired items.
The highlight though is located outside in the river. It is the world’s first offshore oil drilling platform.
The rig is named Mr Charlie, after the financial backer of the venture when they started up in the 1950s.
While it might be dwarfed by today’s platforms, the main deck is still an impressive 50’+ above the water, offering a great view of the bridges and docks of the river.
Our guide, industry veteran Bryce, was very thorough in explaining the design, and use of the rig. Here he shows us a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) used in the construction of platforms.
Everything is supersized in this industry, including this massive hook.
The drills bits aren’t available at the local Home Depot.
The pipes come in 30′ lengths.
The drill itself – with all of the large equipment, all of it in movement in the ocean, an oil platform is a loud, dirty, dangerous place for the crew to work.
Drilling requires pressure and water.
Drilling mud is also used to carry rock cuttings to the surface, as well as lubricate the drill bit. There is a massive storage for this that at times requires somebody to descend this long ladder into the mud hold.
Oil platform workers work 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. If the weather is poor and a boat can’t come pick you up, or the helicopter can’t land on the helipad atop the rig, you throw your stuff and you into this cage and hang on as they hoist you into the air.
Our time with Bryce at the Rig Museum was insightful. The next time I stopped to fill the car up with gasoline, I thought more about the work that went into getting that product to market.