Aug 2, 2014

Fantasy Oil Rig


When it comes to Limited Time Properties you never know what your going to get. We have seen everything from a Trippy Trailer to a Crematorium. Some properties are easy to relate to. We all know a thing or two about Pizzerias. The most recent Limited Time Property is the Oil Rig and the updates made to the building process has brought on a little more enthusiasm [1]. We may know what an Oil Rig is but we have an expert on our admin team. Jo Gilliam spent 27 years in the engineering department of an offshore drilling company, working with the rigs and with design teams building new structures. She is sharing some of her knowledge with us in the post shown below. The most entertaining aspect of her post is the difference between real Oil Rigs and a Zynga Oil Rig. As you can imagine the Zynga Oil Rig wouldn’t last very long and the 10-22 days we need to spend upgrading it would be a waste of time!


Fantasy Oil Rig by Jo Gilliam

From the land of make believe and fantasyland where the Starship Enterprise really can actually be launched into space and visit the stars, we get … an “Oil Rig.” California, home of Zynga and offshore drilling moratoriums, is the birthplace of the Zynga Oil Rig. It is understandable that there would not be a lot of familiarity with these structures. There are some tell-tale design flaws. I would suggest, even for an imaginary rig, lowering the cranes, make the derrick higher, raise the helideck so that there are no obstructions -- put it on top of the building. Helicopter rotors break off if they hit things flying in, so nothing is allowed higher than the helideck in the flight path.
The oil rig chosen is a semisubmersible, one of the most intricately designed engineering structures ever built, to drill a hole in the sea floor sometimes almost 2 miles below the surface, turning enormously heavy strings of drill pipe and maintain location floating and withstanding sea currents, waves and weather. It houses around 100-200 crew, provides methods for transporting them on and off the rig, and handles all the resources to do the drilling and support the men. The design, engineering and construction takes years and many millions of dollars. It is supposed to float without falling over in water. That means the part under the water has to not only provide empty chambers to float it, it has to also contain weight that will offset the weight above the water. The fantasy rig really needs larger pontoons below. It will roll over when it leaves the shore. Here’s an idea of one that actually will work. It too is an artist’s concept, but this design does work.
The iron red paint is an indication of where the rig will float in the seas… the white part would be the part that would normally be above the water. Here’s a state of the art, deepwater semi on location, the crane not in use has the boom stored, the supply boat and crane on the other side either finishing or starting an offload. The color of deep water is this color … deep blue.
Depending completely on the contract and location, these rigs rent for hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. The men working on them generally have a 14 day rotation or a 28 day rotation, depending on their location in the world. On a drillship offshore Brazil I met people from Australia, Scotland, all over… they flew by helicopter to the shore dock, by vehicle to Rio’s airport, and by plane home. So, for most international rigs they had 28 day rotations because the travel time is long. In the Gulf of Mexico where there is a close supply of rig personnel, they have a 14 day rotation. For more information on drilling rigs, jobs, equipment, see This picture gives a perspective of the size of a deepwater semi. If you look in the foreground, in the town, you will see a church. It is closer to the camera (and larger in perspective) than the rig in a distance. Seldom do they come close to shore, but when they do you begin to see how enormous they are.
I have to say, of all the things that Zynga did with their Oil Rig, that beautiful woman in a derrick harness is the funniest. And calling her a toolpusher! That derrick harness is only worn by a derrickman. Women are not strong enough for this job. A derrickman climbs to a finger board up in the derrick and clamps that harness to the derrick to save him from falls as he balances to rack the drill pipe coming up being racked in the derrick. That harness keeps you from plummeting to the drillfloor if you lose your balance and fall.
With all the pictures out there of the real thing, I’m not sure why it was important to reinvent these things, but I would like to point out that the derrick on a drillship really should be in the middle, and the deck should be flat, they stack a lot of tubes and equipment on the deck for use downhole. If you look at the drill ship photo you can see the pipe in the derrick.

I really enjoyed talking about this, it was a blast from the past, and although the fantasy oil rig has major design flaws, it’s different and surprising, not more of the same. I loved my job, it required a lot of long hours and hard work, but it was incredible experiences with amazing people in offshore drilling.

1 comment:

  1. beautiful post, love reading on how zinga yet again, screws up.


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