Saturday, November 12 – With all the house cleaning chores completed, we picked up Carrie and her friend, Greg, and headed to the Offshore Drilling Museum in Galveston, TX.
It was nice to have Greg along, because he worked on drilling rigs in the past, and he was able to add background information to our visit. The museum is located in downtown Galveston, a short distance up from the cruise ship ports.
There were two ships in port and one sailed while we were there to watch. We were also lucky to see a drilling rig being towed out to sea while at the museum. Amazing!!!
The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig is a retired jack-up drilling platform. A jack-up rig is a mobile offshore drilling unit with three or more long legs that can be jacked down to make contact with the sea floor. When the legs are set jacking continues until the entire hull of the rig is out of the water (usually at least 25 ft.) The Ocean Star was built in 1969 in Beaumont, Texas for the Ocean Drilling and Exploration Company (ODECO) fleet. It had quarters for 49 persons. It operated in up to 173 feet of water and was designed to drill a well to 25,000 feet.
The Museum features three floors of educational and interactive displays illustrating the story of offshore oil and gas exploration. One is able to walk through this production platform and explore the systems used in off-shore drilling. The museum is a self-guided facility. There are numerous models of the different types of off-shore rigs. The size of these huge rigs is staggering.
Shell's Bullwinkle jacket platform is 1,751 feet tall, and sits in 1,353 feet of water off the coast of Louisiana. The platform's legs are 10 feet in diameter, and the base cover 4.5 acres of seafloor. Twenty-eight piles, driven as deep as 400 feet into the seabed. The platform has 38,000 sq. ft. of deck area and a jacket constructed from 77,000 tons of steel.
The cost of these rigs and the servicing equipment needed to keep these rigs in production is unbelievable. It can easily exceed a million dollars per day!
Wearing atmospheric diving suits, divers can safely descend to 2300 ft. and work for extended periods. Powerful manipulator claws and specially built automatic wrenches, cutters and grinders give divers what they need to perform hundreds of deepwater installation and repair tasks.
Pigs are devices that service pipelines. They pass through the pipeline to clean, to repair, or to inspect it. Pigs are entirely soft rubber, or are equipped with soft rubber rings that seal against the inside of the pipe. The seals make a slight oinking sound as they slide along—hence the name "pig."
After a leisurely tour inside the museum, which is located in the “housing” portion of the platform, we walked outside and experienced what is is like to stand on the drill floor of an off-shore rig.
You can visit the pipe deck, work the controls the driller uses to operate the drilling equipment, see the bits and other equipment used in drilling and roam throughout the three story drilling platform.
The traveling block lifts the load of the drill pipe during drilling operations.
An escape capsule, or pod, is the lifeboat of an offshore rig. Twenty-eight crew members could fit inside this escape pod and be lowered over the side of the rig. They are equipped with a two-way radio, safety gear, first aid supplies, water and a cooling system that pumps seawater over the pod until the crew inside can be retrieved.
This is a great museum for only $5 for seniors. We learned so much about offshore drilling. Greg did an excellent job of filling in the gaps. Thanks Greg.
After our three and a half hours in the museum, it was time to treat ourselves to some delicious Galveston Island sea food. We headed over to the popular Strand Blvd. and the famous Black Pearl Oyster Bar.
We chose four dishes to share among the group. Paul was anxious to try Oysters on the half shell; Greg chose Alligator; Carrie selected the Cajun Shrimp; and Marsha the Boudin Balls. What a seafood feast! We all enjoyed sharing the different dishes.
We all had our favorites but the raw oysters were surprising enjoyed by all.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see ya'll back real soon. Have a great day!