Types of Oil Rigs for Offshore Drilling

Offshore drilling rigs come in many different forms, designs, and sizes. Each types is designed to operate under certain conditions and circumstances. You’ll find rigs that are intended for very deep waters while others are for shallow waters. There are also rigs that are designed specifically for some parts of the world with highly unpredictable and extreme weather. An oilrig is typically built or hauled on the spot where the exact location of the oil source is.

The main types of offshore drilling machines that you can find in the industry are as follows:



For shallow bodies of water, which are normally less than 80 ft., you need to use the submersible drilling rigs that are highly mobile and versatile machines. You transport a submersible rig platform to the exact drilling location by towing it. Then you sink it until it reaches the bottom most part of the ocean floor. The rig is kept in place because of the weight of the structure. However, heavy-duty anchors might be necessary in certain areas to secure the platform in place.


Drill ship

Drill ships in essence, are self-powered drilling rigs that are made as either a newly built or a remodeling of an old vessel. These modern ships depend on the latest advance automated technology and control systems for them to remain in place over the drill location, which makes these refurbished vessels more reliant on regular anchor systems. Because drill ships are fully equipped with the modern technology responsible in keeping their position, they are highly efficient for use in the waters wherein other types of rigs might not be able to operate.



A jack-up drilling rig is ideal for deep-water operations because it is equipped with specialized legs that are able to submerge deep below the surface. Once the platform is positioned over the drill location, its legs go under water to stabilize the machine. These rigs are hauled and set up fully into position. They can operate in very deep waters, mostly in areas as deep as 650 ft. or more. Upon reaching the ocean surface, the rigs will continue to jack-down until it reaches a sufficient distance above the ocean surface, which is usually in the area of 50 ft.


Production platform

Production platforms are part of permanent structures. They are made on sites that have been confirmed to offer substantial amounts of gas or oil deposits. Once these rig platforms are constructed on the drilling location, they become immobile structures. These machines cannot be relocated to a new site. This type of drilling rig is built and used only for areas that are identified as abundant with the resource.



Operating oil rigs require sufficient knowledge and skills for the trade, and being familiar with the types of machines used is the first step in doing it right. Understanding the different types and designs of offshore rigs can help you do your work better, and help you choose the appropriate equipment for the job.