Brutus, Bullwinkle and Mars

A couple of months ago I spent a day travelling around the Gulf of Mexico visiting one small oil production platform (Boxer, or Green Canyon 19) and a compressor station (Ship Shoal 28). This week I spent a few days helping with an audit on a larger production platform and drilling rig (Auger, or Garden Banks 426). The Green Canyon, Ship Shoal, and Garden Banks names define certain geologic formations or oil fields in the Gulf.

The drilling rigs and platforms are also given names that sometimes simply defy explanation (well, any explanation I can find, anyway). Sometimes they make perfect sense. For example, the Noble Jim Thompson is a drill ship owned by the Noble drilling company, apparently named in honor of someone special (as are all the Noble rigs). Some are apparently named for legendary or mythical characters related to the oceans (like Neptune). And then, there are those that simply do not appear to make any sense at all – but they are fun to say. Here’s a quick list of the ones I’ve been considering:

  • Brutus
  • Bullwinkle
  • Mars
  • Ursa
  • Popeye
  • Enchilada
  • Salsa
  • Cougar
  • Cognac
  • Perdido (do you really want to be on a platform that is “lost”?)

And a few pipelines:

  • Serrano
  • Oregano
  • Cardamom
  • Habanero
  • Macaroni

I suspect the engineer(s) responsible for the discovery of a well, or development of the field, or design of the drilling rig/platform have some vote in the name of the development.  If so, I’m glad to know that there are engineers with a sense of fun.

Side Note: A pig, in the oil patch, is a device placed in a pipeline to help clean it out; a pig launcher is the opening in the pipeline where the pig is inserted – or launched – to be sent to the “pig trap” at the other end. And, of course, you know that in this computer age there are “smart pigs” that can inspect the line as it travels to the other end.

Which leads me to tell you that seeing something labeled as the “Macaroni Pig Launcher” is just funny.


About Joe

Writing on the things I'm passionate about: my family, my faith, and my work. View all posts by Joe

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