Different Types of Oil Platforms in Offshore Drilling
Offshore drilling is much more costly as compared to land based drilling. This is because the oil platforms and their configuration that are set up are prepared specifically to fit into their current location of the sea. You could just imagine these enormous structures built especially for a certain drilling site. These oil platforms can vary greatly according to its location and capacity, and some of which are the largest mobile artificial construction in the world.
Fixed Oil Platforms
Fixed platforms are made of concrete with steel legs that are anchored directly with the ocean floor. It is gigantic and sturdy enough to support a deck for crew quarters, drilling rigs, and space for the production facilities. They are designed for long-term use. These platforms have various types including steel jacket, floating steel, concrete, and concrete caisson.
Fixed platforms are economical and practical. They are usually installed in about 1,700 feet (520 m) deep into the sea. Under the surface of the sea or ocean are storage tanks that are installed for the oil collection, which are oftentimes uses as a floatation capability. These storage tanks are typically built close to the shore near the coastline.
Semi-Submersible Oil Platforms
This type of oil platform consist of columns and pontoons with adequate buoyancy. This feature enables the platform to float, but at the same time able to carry the weight to maintain the structure up right. Semi-submersible platforms are mobile and can be ballasted up and down. Typically, they are anchored in place at a drill site with chain, wire rope, and polyester rope while drilling is done. This platform can be installed as deep as 200 to 10,000 feet (60 to 3,050 m).
These oil platforms are maritime vessels that are equipped with drilling equipment. Drill ships are typically used for deep-sea exploratory drilling of new oil and gas wells. These ships have extraordinary technology that uses a dynamic positioning system, allowing the platform to maintain its position over the drilling site. You can use this platform for up to 12.000 feet (3,660 m) deep.
Jack-up Oil Platform
These platforms can be moved from one location to another. The jack-up platform can anchor itself on the seabed by deploying its legs, which have racks and pinion gears. It can be used for 400 feet (120 meters) to 550 feet (170 meters) depths.
Tension Leg Oil Platforms (TLPs)
These are floating platforms, are used for about 6,000 feet (2,000 m). They are connected to the bottom of the sea, eliminating most vertical motion of the structure. Conventional TLPs with a 4-column design, similar to the semisubmersible, are used up to 600 and 4,300 feet (200 meters and 1,300 m) deep.
These platforms consist of thin and flexible towers with a foundation that supports a deck for the production and drilling facility. Compliance towers can be used for 1,500 to 3,000 feet (450 to 900 m) depths, and are designed to maintain major lateral deflections and forces.