• David Armes

How heavy are offshore oil rigs?

Updated: Sep 17

In photos, oil rigs can sometimes look like a small platform, or maybe even a large building. They’re miles off shore, oftentimes too far to see with the naked eye. If you are able to see a rig in person from the shore, it probably looks like a tiny speck on the horizon. Today we’ll learn a little more about the size of offshore oil rigs, some of which can be more like a small town than the small platform they appear to be.



Image Credit: NPR


Above is a photo of Shell’s Olympus oil rig that operates 130 miles off the coast of New Orleans. At quick glance, it looks like a small rig. Take a closer look, and you might think there are 3 or 4 stories larger than you originally thought. Olympus is actually 40 stories tall, about 406 feet! It weighs over 120,000 tons (more than 300 Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets) and is home to a crew of 192 people. It sits 3100 feet above the sea bed, connected with steel pipes.

With almost 200 people on Olympus, it’s good they have 346,000 square feet of deck space. Crews make a one hour helicopter ride and spend two weeks a time on board. Being away from family and friends can be tough, but it’s like a hotel at sea, with TV’s, games, and a gym. Everyone from galley hand to ballast engineers work together to keep the rig running. Through their efforts, approximately 100,000 barrels of oil per day are pumped up from 18,000 feet below the seafloor, processed, and sent another 82 miles to shore.


Check out the video below of what life is like on Hebron, another of the world’s largest oil rigs!

Video: Life on an Oil Rig: Behind the Scenes | ExxonMobil


We'll dive into life on an oil rig in a future article, until then -

Happy Friday & Stay Safe! Sources:

https://www.npr.org/2014/08/06/335282273/up-close-and-personal-with-a-40-story-oil-rig-in-the-gulf

https://www.shell.us/energy-and-innovation/energy-from-deepwater/shell-deep-water-portfolio-in-the-gulf-of-mexico/mars-b-olympus.html


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