The first truly offshore rigwas Mr. Charlie, designed and constructed from scratch by Ocean Drilling and Exploration Co.,headed by its inventor and president, "Doc" Alden J. Laborde. Its machinery were installed on a 220-foot floating barge, which allowed itto tow from one location to another in the search for reserves in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf. Once Mr. Charlie was situated over a drill site in depths averaging 40 feet, the giant pontoons were flooded with seawater to enable the vessel to rest on the sand for safe drilling.
Featuring a 500-ton hoist and durable welded construction, Mr. Charlie advanced the practice of coastal oil exploration from the stationary caisson structures used in the early 1950s to a revolutionary movable rig that allowed an entire field to be drilled.The rig became obsolete when the industry began to perform offshore Gulf Coast oil exploration in waters deeper than 40 feet. Mr. Charlie today is used as a museum exhibit and training facility.
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