The Ocean Prospector will Return to Operation after 14 years on the Dock
Back in 1971 ODECO designed and built The Ocean Prospector, the first ever semisubmersible drilling rig that was self-propelled, a standard feature with today’s rigs. It operated in warm waters around the world for ODECO and later Diamond Offshore, after their merger in 1992.
In 1998 the rig was towed into Galveston harbour in Texas for inspections and maintenance work when the decision was made to decommission it. It never left Galveston for the next 14 years, and although its ownership has changed several times it still remains there to this day.
The Pasadena based asset recovery company, Plant Recovery Company (PRC), purchased the rig in 2011 with plans to tow the vessel and then destroy it, but upon closer inspection they found that it could actually be upgraded and modernised to today’s standards, and then sent back out to drill oil wells around the world.
With the help of T&T Marine Salvage, Offshore Mechanics Inc., and Versatile Marine Services, PRC managed to tow the rig from its resting place at the Cruise terminal, to the Malin International Ship Repair and Drydock, where it will be prepared for its introduction back into the open sea.
The move lasted four days, during which T&T Marine Salvage helped solve any challenges that arose when the rig was moved, due to the fact that it had remained in one place for so long. Offshore Mechanics Inc. used their expertise to help with engineering and technical support, while Versatile Marine Services provided the original barge captain who towed the rig into port back in 1998.
The modifications will continue until it is ready to be towed back to sea and across the Gulf to work on modern oil fields.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com