Offshore Platforms

Offshore platforms are a unique structure that can be found offshore. Usually built and installed with the specific task of extracting hydrocarbons (aka oil and gas) from the earths crust. Sometimes they are built in large clusters with many being unmanned or partly manned satellite platforms around a central hub platform (usually manned).
In the earliest platforms developed (concrete leg platforms) were ones which provided storage capacity for tankers to transport ashore. These were superseded by the Steel Jacket platform which, while expensive, could fully exploit a large oil and gas field with pipelines feeding back to the mainland.

Three key features tend to make up an offshore platform:

The Modules – Large, pre-built units that include: accommodation, production and drilling zones.

The Jacket – An intricate ‘spiders web’ of steel piles, beams and trunions combine to provide a formidable foundation which the entire platform sits on. This is the preferred choice for platforms on larger oil fields where the expense justifies the end outcome.

The Derrick – Usually the highest point on the platform (the exception being the helideck). In this area the drilling is carried out.
Also worth mentioning is the helideck which serves as a transportation hub and the flare tower which burns off unusable hydrocarbons.

Plus of course the pipelines, risers and equipment which process and deliver the hydrocarbons ashore.

In the 1960s and 70s it was common for commercial divers to operate from the oil platform using modular diving systems craned in from a vessel. With space being at such a premium platform operators were reluctant for this way to continue, DSVs are now used in nearly all cases of diver operations. Some exceptions are observation-class activities.

A big misnomer about the offshore platforms is the interchangeability of the term ‘oil rig. The correct term is actually oil platform or offshore platform / offshore installation for the structure as a whole. Oil Rig actually means the part of the platform where the drill crew operates from, whereas there’s a lot more to the structure than just the derrick area. (The ‘Rig’ part of the name possibly comes from the fact that on some platforms it can slid about to different areas via hydraulic machinery that performs ‘skidding’ operations.) Indeed some even would consider an offshore platform not be a ‘rig’ at all. This being due to the fact that an offshore platform is usually one that is permenently fixed to the sea bed.

The fiery flare tower and so on can create an industrial city atmosphere, futuristic even especially as darkness falls.

Conversely in bad weather the platforms can resemble sinister hulking behemoths!

The Offshore Platforms

Listed below are some of the offshore platforms that have been visited by our associates. They have been reviewed and their good and bad points are discussed.

North Sea

  • Forties Alpha Platform
  • Alwyn North Platform
  • Armada Platform
  • AUK Platform
  • Beatrice Platform
  • Brent Bravo Platform
  • Brittania Platform
  • Captain Platform
  • Captain FPSO
  • Claymore Platform
  • Clipper Platform
  • Clyde Platform
  • Dunbar Platform
  • Eider Platform
  • Elgan Franklin Platform
  • Fulmar Platform
  • Gannet Platform
  • Montrose Platform
  • Murchison Platform
  • Nelson Platform
  • Ninian Central Platform
  • Ninian North Platform
  • Ninian South Platform
  • North Cormorant
  • Schilion Platform
  • Shearwater Platform
  • Sedco Platform 706
  • Tern Alpha Platform
  • Thistle Platform

Irish Sea Zone

  • Douglas Platforms
  • Irish Sea Pioneer (Jack-Up Barge/Vessel)
  • Morcambe Bay Platforms

The Offshore Platform Review Explained

Platform Size – The Size of the Platform. This can range from small through to v. large.

Platform Location – Where the offshore platform is located

Hydrocarbon Output – The amount of oil produced per day in barrels. Note that this is can be an estimate and/or based on knowlege gleaned from being on location.

Offshore Welfare Facilities – One of the most important areas as far as many oil workers are concerned. An offshore platform may have the latest and greatest in food, telephony, games and internet. Such a platforms workers will typically have a higher morale than a platform with only the most basic facilities. In addition an offshore oil rig may be large, but the accommodation module may only be small and the sleeping quarters cramped and congested.

Work Area Welfare – While not as important as Offshore Welfare Facilities (OWF) the Work Area Welfare (WAW) will list what welfare is available for oil workers at the work areas while away from the Accommodation Module. The use of the phones, smoking / non-smoking areas, problems that may be encountered etc.

Platform Emergency Drills – Will explain whether or not they are carried out and the frequency of them.

Overview – A brief description about the oil / gas platform, its age and some information about who owns and operates it etc.

OPR Rating – This mark out of ten gives an understanding as to how good the quality of life on board the installation is.

Been to an offshore platform recently and want to send in a review? All you need to do is contact Diving Lore with the heading ‘Offshore Platform Review’ along with platform name and details and we’ll take care of the rest. We will only publish a platform if the information is concerning the installation as a whole as opposed to just a name of an undesirable. Contact us by clicking here.