"Mr. Charlie", the first transportable, submersible rig

26th May 2015 - Facts
From 1954 to 1986 "Mr. Charlie" drilled hundreds of offshore wells off the coast of Morgan City, Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Mr. Charlie" was the first transportable, submersible drilling rig and an industry springboard to the current offshore rig technology. 

The drilling rig was built in 1952 and completed in 1953. In 1954, it went on its first exploration to drill a new field for Shell in East Bay, near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Despite skepticism from offshore industry professionals, the rig performed up to expectations and went on to drill hundreds of wells for every other major oil company operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

The rig’s barge is approximately 220 feet long, 85 feet wide and 14 feet deep, with a four-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 massive legs that serve to connect the barge and platform.

At the time, "Mr. Charlie" was able to accommodate 58 crew members. Once the rig was on location, it was an independent island and nearly totally self-sufficient.

"Mr. Charlie" was capable of drilling wells in water depths up to 40 feet and had a prolific career lasting nearly 4 decades. The rig was retired in late 1986 when drilling activity headed into water deeper than its "feet".

"Mr. Charlie" revolutionized the offshore oil industry and lead to the technology currently being used around the world. Nowadays, the historic and renowned drilling rig continues as rig museum in Morgan City, Louisiana, where it teaches others about the offshore oil industry.

Source: International Petroleum Museum and Exposition

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