Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Jack Up Rigs and Trends
If one thing is true, the Port of Browsnville is a major area for refurbishing shallow-water jack up rigs. What;s a jack-up rig? Well as the picture above suggests, there are usually three giant legs that are all the way up when pulled out to sea, and then they set the legs down on the sea floor and litterally jack the rig up like 40 feet in the air. Then the workers can set drilling pipe into the ground with that fourth "tree" looking thing, with is called a winch tower or Christmas Tree. Photo credits go to Michael Martin of Canada regarding his pictures here, including the "Nabors 659" being towed out by Crosby Towing Service on March 8, 2007.
Inland jack-up rigs are quite smaller and deepwater rigs (over 1,000 feet of ocean depth) are monsterously huge, costing billions of dollars such as Thunderhorse. These concepts are useful because we've gotten a very strong signal that they're going to turn our area into an oil Boom Town. Here's another photo by Mr. Martin of all the big offshore and puny inshore rigs down by Amfels in Brownsville.
So what's the deal? Today's Houston Chronicle predicts massive increases in marine oil and gas exploration, perhaps because of a rah-rah Bush attitude. Other financial and oil and gas experts are not so quick, including this article that says that many of the oil and gas rigs are disappearing overseas because of lower costs and higher daily lease contracting rates, so there are few rigs to really do anything meaningful as far as "saving" us from imported oil. [Editor's note: the second article can be seen as extremely gloomy - basically, we're screwed, so don't hurt yourself.]
As we roll into hurricane season this June I'll be with you, watching like a hawk.