Bethlehem Beaumont Shipyard To Build Offshore Rig For Houston Offshore International

Houston Offshore International, Inc. has ordered construction of an offshore oil drilling rig from Bethlehem Steel Corporation's Beaumont, Texas shipyard.

Announcement of the contract was made by Jerry E. Chiles, president of Houston Offshore, and Barry Long, acting general manager of the yard.

The new rig, which is the third offshore rig ordered in three years by Houston Offshore, will be a jackup designed to operate in up to 200 feet of water. Work will begin this summer, with delivery scheduled for May 1979.

The unit will be similar to previous deepwater Bethlehem-designed, mat-supported jackup drill rigs but will have a cantilevered drill floor. This feature permits exploratory or developmental drilling from 15 feet to 45 feet aft of the platform while cantilevered over existing wellhead structures. With hook plus setback loads of 1 million pounds and full-size drilling equipment, the rig will be ideally suited for deep-well drilling in water depths ranging from 11 feet to 200 feet.

Mr. Chiles noted that the new rig for his company is only the second of its kind on order. He said, "We believe this unique design will give Houston Offshore the utmost flexibility in serving the needs of our oil company customers in the Gulf Coast area." The drilling unit will provide onboard, air-conditioned living accommodations for 52 employees.

The rig will consist of a buoyant upper platform hull 157 feet long by 132 feet wide supported by a mat foundation 220 feet long by 185 feet wide. Three 11-foot-diameter columns affixed to the mat and passing up through the platform will provide the means for the platform to be jacked above offshore waters to provide sufficient wave clearance.

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