What Happens to Old Offshore Rigs?

Offshore oil drilling is one of the most popular drilling methods, but what happens to old offshore rigs when the oil wells become depleted. The oil rigs used in offshore drilling are enormous structures floating on the water surface like skyscrapers. When the oil wells beneath the structures deplete, they must be decommissioned and taken down.

Offshore oil rigs are complex structures that float on the water during drilling. More than 12,000 oil rigs are floating on seas and oceans worldwide. When there is no oil beneath an oil rig, it must be removed. The oil wells must also be capped off upon decommissioning. This guide shows you what happens to the oil rigs.

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Now, let’s find out what happens when an offshore rig becomes too old to operate.

Option 1: The Rig is Removed

When oil companies stop drilling in an offshore rig, they can decommission it and seal the oil well. The companies can then remove the entire structure by cutting the sturdy metal legs and anchors submerged in water. The United States Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has decommissioned and removed over 250 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico since the 1980s. A submarine-like vehicle is used to cut the rig legs.

Option 2: Coral Reef Skeleton

Besides removing the oil and gas platforms, oil companies can convert the rigs to reefs by removing only the upper section of the structure floating on water. Reefing is less costly than the entire rig removal process, helping the industry save millions of dollars annually. Besides, artificial reefs offer many environmental benefits. More than 500 defunct rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have been converted to artificial rigs.

What Happens to the Equipment? 

Some of the equipment essential in offshore oil rigs are blowout preventers used to prevent potential blowouts during drilling. So what happens to the BOPs when the oil wells go dry? The pressure control equipment can be removed and reused in other wells rich in oil and gas. You can get reliable blowout preventer products from BOP Products in Texas, including used BOPs, at affordable prices.

BOP Products Can Help With Your Equipment

Now that you know what happens to old offshore rigs, you must choose what works best for your oil company. Whether removing the oil rig or converting it into an artificial reef, you must not forget to remove the blowout preventer for reuse in new wells. You can get new or used BOP equipment from BOP Products at affordable prices.

Contact us to learn how offshore oil and gas rigs work during drilling.