Oil rig – Big, Bigger, Biggest – National Geographic [w/ subs]

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00:00:01 – on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico
00:00:04 – engineers are building a technological
00:00:07 – masterpiece called perdido 45,000 tons
00:00:14 – of steel will be transformed into the
00:00:16 – most advanced oil rig in the world this
00:00:21 – rig will plunge it's drills nearly three
00:00:23 – kilometres down to the seafloor a giant
00:00:28 – in the extreme world of offshore
00:00:30 – engineering
00:00:32 – the deed allows its success to five
00:00:35 – landmark oil platforms at the heart of
00:00:40 – each lies a major technological
00:00:42 – innovation that allowed engineers to
00:00:47 – extract oil from ever deeper waters
00:00:52 – one-by-one traveling up the scale will
00:00:57 – reveal the triumph the tragedies and the
00:01:00 – inventions that drove the quest for oil
00:01:02 – ever deeper six ingenious leaps forward
00:01:10 – from big it's a bigger
00:01:15 – into the world biggest
00:01:19 – [Music]
00:01:34 – [Music]
00:01:45 – 8th of August 2008
00:01:50 – today is a big day for the builders of
00:01:53 – pedido they are moving the bottom half
00:01:58 – of their oil rig from the construction
00:02:00 – dock in Texas out into the ocean 18,000
00:02:07 – tons of metal will travel 300 kilometres
00:02:10 – into the Gulf of Mexico here it will
00:02:16 – form the base for a state-of-the-art
00:02:18 – floating oil rig that will tap into
00:02:20 – three newly discovered oil fields
00:02:24 – [Music]
00:02:27 – Perdido is expected to produce enough
00:02:30 – oil every day to fill up a hundred and
00:02:32 – fifty thousand cars with when it comes
00:02:37 – online it will reach deeper into this
00:02:39 – scene than any other oil rig on the
00:02:41 – planet
00:02:48 – [Music]
00:02:50 – to understand how pedido can reach too
00:02:53 – far into the ocean we need to travel
00:02:55 – back to 19th century America
00:03:02 – the story of offshore oil the game's not
00:03:05 – at sea but on a shallow lake in Ohio
00:03:08 – [Music]
00:03:12 – to reach the oil buried beneath Grand
00:03:15 – Lake Engineers must invent away a
00:03:18 – drilling through water oil has been the
00:03:27 – engine of the world economy for over a
00:03:29 – century but hardly ever without an
00:03:31 – impact on the environment in 1884 the
00:03:36 – great American oil rush profoundly
00:03:38 – alters the sleepy town of some Mary's in
00:03:41 – our hire the lure of a quick fortune
00:03:46 – brings in a flood of would-be
00:03:48 – Rockefellers within a few months they
00:03:55 – completely transform the landscape
00:04:01 – oil rigs spread across the plains to
00:04:04 – extract the black gold from an oil field
00:04:06 – over 300 metres below
00:04:13 – but one day there'll endless March comes
00:04:16 – to a grinding halt at the shores of
00:04:19 – Grand Lake it is only three meters deep
00:04:24 – but it becomes a big obstacle for the
00:04:26 – drilling crews engineer Edie McCann
00:04:32 – demonstrates why it's curious but
00:04:37 – drillings in the olden days didn't
00:04:39 – actually involve drills that we imagine
00:04:41 – spinning around they use percussive
00:04:43 – techniques of banging and if we have a
00:04:47 – look at this here you'll see that all
00:04:49 – they really did to drill was they lifted
00:04:51 – a way up with a point on it and let it
00:04:53 – fall onto the rock and you do it again
00:04:58 – and if we look closely at this what we
00:05:02 – can see is that we're making a tiny
00:05:03 – little chip every time so you have to do
00:05:05 – this a lot but once you've got this
00:05:06 – mechanized you can do up to ten meters a
00:05:08 – day like this which was plenty and
00:05:10 – adequate now once they move this sort of
00:05:13 – operation out over water and they
00:05:15 – started looking for stuff that was
00:05:16 – underneath water they found themselves
00:05:18 – in a whole new ballpark
00:05:28 – so here we've got our tank of water and
00:05:31 – we're going to give our percussion
00:05:32 – drilling another try I lift up the pile
00:05:35 – hammer and I drop it and you can see
00:05:37 – immediately it's not going nearly as
00:05:39 – fast through the water the other thing
00:05:43 – that's happening is it doesn't go down
00:05:44 – straight it tends to deviate off and
00:05:47 – this is essentially because the water
00:05:48 – provides more resistance to the falling
00:05:50 – pile hammer than air and frankly I could
00:05:53 – carry on doing this for the rest of time
00:05:55 – and I wouldn't dig a very big hole
00:05:57 – fortunately there is a solution and it's
00:06:00 – this so the way that this works is the
00:06:03 – tube is basically pushed down into the
00:06:06 – soil so it forms a reasonable seal there
00:06:08 – and you pump the water out and the pile
00:06:11 – hammer is then able to active if it was
00:06:13 – in dry air so let's see what happens
00:06:15 – I've got my tube here and we can see
00:06:17 – pretty much straightaway the in fact
00:06:19 – towards the full velocities that we had
00:06:22 – when it was in open air and what's more
00:06:24 – it's hitting right on the spot
00:06:29 – this simple juice gets the oil men
00:06:32 – passed the watery barrier
00:06:34 – they build wooden platforms for their
00:06:37 – drilling equipment and drilled down into
00:06:39 – the bed of the lake steadily they chip
00:06:43 – away at the rock until they finally
00:06:47 – break through to the oil
00:06:50 – within just a few years hundreds of rigs
00:06:54 – spring up on Grand Lake which becomes
00:06:56 – the birthplace of the offshore oil rig
00:07:04 – while the base of the perdido rig is
00:07:06 – still on its way to the oil field an
00:07:09 – exploratory drilling rig the Clyde
00:07:11 – Boudreaux is preparing the ground at the
00:07:14 – site
00:07:22 – Perdido will tap into 35 different Wells
00:07:25 – and the man on the Clyde Boudreau are
00:07:28 – pre-drilling 22 of them we want to have
00:07:33 – some wells drilled and ready to go so
00:07:35 – that when the platform is installed and
00:07:37 – ready to operate that we can actually
00:07:39 – turn it on immediately and start
00:07:41 – producing some oil and gas and then
00:07:43 – we'll continue drilling a more wells
00:07:45 – from the platform that will actually be
00:07:47 – on the burrito self drilling technology
00:07:51 – has moved on from the early days at the
00:07:53 – Grand Lake but so have the technical
00:07:56 – challenges typically when you find a
00:07:59 – reservoir that has oil and gas in it
00:08:01 – it's usually several miles across and
00:08:03 – onshore when you drill wells
00:08:06 – you just put wells at various locations
00:08:08 – over those several mile area but when
00:08:10 – you're offshore we have a platform
00:08:12 – that's in one location and we still have
00:08:14 – to get the Wells out span many miles
00:08:17 – through that reservoir and the way we do
00:08:19 – that is directional drilling
00:08:24 – the Clyde Boudreaux has a drill with a
00:08:26 – twist in its tail as it plows through
00:08:32 – the rock under the rig there comes a
00:08:34 – point where it needs to change course
00:08:39 – operated on the surface remotely
00:08:41 – activate a motor in the drill pipe which
00:08:44 – bends it sideways and pushes it out for
00:08:47 – his on to make this way the Clyde
00:08:55 – Boudreaux builds a web of oil wells that
00:08:57 – extends to the farthest reaches of the
00:08:59 – oil fields 20 kilometres across
00:09:02 – I think it's quite amazing to me is that
00:09:07 – we're drilling a hole just about this
00:09:09 – big around
00:09:10 – all the way three miles away and yet we
00:09:12 – can accurately control where the bid is
00:09:14 – going we know where the oil and gas is
00:09:17 – we can place these the well exactly
00:09:19 – where we want it to be and then we can
00:09:21 – control it and put all this equipment
00:09:22 – down there and control from three miles
00:09:24 – away
00:09:31 – the Clyde boudreaux's drilling crew can
00:09:34 – drive through over 300 metres of rock
00:09:37 – every day since the rig started work its
00:09:43 – drills have been turning 24 hours a day
00:09:46 – seven days a week
00:09:49 – [Music]
00:09:53 – back in 1891 engineers at Grand Lake
00:09:56 – found a way to tap isle through water
00:10:03 – now they could finally take their drills
00:10:06 – out to sea but to build the Grand Isle
00:10:09 – platform in 14 metres of water they
00:10:12 – needed a new way of anchoring it to the
00:10:14 – seafloor
00:10:18 – [Music]
00:10:21 – in the 1930s oil prospectors start
00:10:25 – scouring the ceasefire they discover a
00:10:29 – huge oil field in the Gulf of Mexico and
00:10:32 – name it Grand Isle but it lies six miles
00:10:38 – out at sea in deep water building an oil
00:10:43 – platform out here will push the old
00:10:45 – construction methods to the limit
00:10:54 – building in shallow waters is a simple
00:10:57 – operation workers drive wooden piles
00:11:00 – into the seafloor to support the
00:11:02 – platform thick that carries the drilling
00:11:04 – equipment
00:11:07 – but driving piles of deep water is much
00:11:11 – more challenging sinking them accurately
00:11:18 – into position while bobbing around on
00:11:20 – the open seas becomes a game of hit and
00:11:23 – miss mostly miss
00:11:34 – to build the Grand Isle platform
00:11:37 – engineers turn from wood to a new
00:11:39 – building material steel and they use it
00:11:43 – in a clever way the solution at Grand
00:11:47 – Isle 18 that they came up with was to
00:11:49 – build these large steel frame structures
00:11:51 – about 72 feet high 10 foot square with
00:11:56 – hollow legs that they brought out to the
00:11:59 – site and these hollow legs were used as
00:12:02 – a very accurate guide for driving these
00:12:05 – steel piles into the soft soils
00:12:15 – the builders of Grand Isle assembled 25
00:12:18 – of these guide frames and tow them out
00:12:21 – to see
00:12:29 – once they're in the right position crews
00:12:32 – hammer 80 meter long piles through the
00:12:35 – hollow legs to pin them to the seafloor
00:12:41 – the guide frames guarantee that all 100
00:12:45 – piles are perfectly vertical so the
00:12:49 – platform on top is perfectly horizontal
00:12:57 – in 1948 Grand Isle becomes the biggest
00:13:01 – oil platform in the world the steel
00:13:06 – technology used to build it gives birth
00:13:09 – to the oil rig as we know it today
00:13:11 – it was a huge structure a giant in the
00:13:15 – Gulf they called it at the turn and they
00:13:17 – they realized that they could put living
00:13:19 – quarters on top the importance of having
00:13:22 – living quarters on the platform is that
00:13:25 – workers could stay out for a week or two
00:13:27 – at a time usually seven days on seven
00:13:29 – days off you didn't have to bring them
00:13:31 – out every day and evacuate them every
00:13:33 – night which allowed you to get more work
00:13:36 – out of your crew and attain greater
00:13:38 – productivity on the platform and so it
00:13:41 – really hoping opened up a whole new
00:13:43 – Vista for the offshore industry after
00:13:48 – three days at sea the base of perdido
00:13:51 – arrives at the oil field now the crew
00:13:54 – get ready for the next stage of the
00:13:55 – operation
00:13:57 – today they will install the bottom half
00:14:00 – of the ring called the spa
00:14:03 – on perdido we decided to build a spar
00:14:06 – because that would give us the stability
00:14:08 – that we needed and the spar is basically
00:14:10 – a can the problem with the can shape is
00:14:12 – that when it floats it wants to
00:14:14 – naturally float in this orientation
00:14:15 – right and we need it to be in this
00:14:18 – orientation the crew faced the mammoth
00:14:21 – task of appending 18,000 tons of steel
00:14:27 – they released the air from the flotation
00:14:29 – sites and then pump seawater into the
00:14:32 – bottom end of the spot
00:14:38 – this Flitz the whole structure into an
00:14:40 – upright position and now they must
00:14:44 – attach it to the ocean floor thousands
00:14:47 – of meters below
00:14:49 – [Music]
00:14:53 – instead of driving impossibly long steel
00:14:56 – piles the engineers at Perdido used
00:14:59 – ropes and chains to hold the rig in
00:15:01 – place
00:15:04 – but they need something to secure the
00:15:06 – rocks on the seabed
00:15:11 – so they attach huge metal cylinders to
00:15:15 – the end of the roads once these
00:15:24 – cylinders called suction anchors reach
00:15:27 – the seafloor the engineers use clever
00:15:29 – physics to drive them into the ground
00:15:33 – [Music]
00:15:38 – this is what's called a spud cam or a
00:15:40 – suction anchor it's used to secure oil
00:15:43 – rigs like the perdido to the ocean floor
00:15:45 – but obviously at about 50 times the size
00:15:47 – butter on this vacuum pump
00:15:51 – you can see it creates a suction so I do
00:15:55 – the same in the water I place it on the
00:15:59 – ocean bed which this represents
00:16:00 – initially it only goes into this depth
00:16:02 – under its own weight so it's hardly
00:16:04 – getting into the ocean floor at all but
00:16:07 – as I pump out the air on the water
00:16:09 – drawers itself down at the ocean bed
00:16:11 – creating a firm Anchorage there it's now
00:16:15 – secure and obviously at about 20 feet
00:16:18 – diameter a group of those will provide
00:16:20 – an extremely firm Anchorage which would
00:16:22 – be almost impossible to pull out
00:16:32 – suction anchors are a perfect solution
00:16:34 – for anchoring deep water platforms like
00:16:37 – perdido
00:16:41 – but activating a suction comfort the
00:16:44 – bone crushing depths below the rig is
00:16:47 – impossible for human divers so the
00:16:51 – engineers use robotic divers called ROV
00:16:54 – x' to do the job
00:16:59 – right now we're at eight thousand forty
00:17:01 – nine feet you'll really learn how to fly
00:17:04 – with your eyes it takes a little time to
00:17:09 – get proficient with one very
00:17:11 – maneuverable an operator four kilometers
00:17:17 – away maneuvered the ROV towards the
00:17:19 – suction anchor and attach the pump this
00:17:24 – removes the water and create a vacuum
00:17:26 – and sucks the anchors down and locks
00:17:29 – perdidos foundations into the seabed
00:17:37 – back in 1948 Grand Isle stood tall and
00:17:41 – deep thanks to its firm foundation the
00:17:44 – de search for untapped resources took
00:17:47 – oil companies into ever more hostile
00:17:50 – waters
00:17:53 – for the hundred and twenty meter deep
00:17:55 – barrel alpha to survive the ravages of
00:17:58 – the North Sea the platform would have to
00:18:00 – be made of sterner stuff than steel in
00:18:08 – February 1982 the ocean Ranger rig
00:18:11 – drilling off the coast of Canada finds
00:18:14 – itself in the middle of a raging storm
00:18:18 – the rig gets hit by a gigantic wave
00:18:21 – which knocks it over all 84 crew parish
00:18:26 – a reminder of the awesome power of the
00:18:29 – sea
00:18:33 – when engineers want to build an oil rig
00:18:35 – in the barrel field of the British coast
00:18:38 – they must find a way to protect it from
00:18:40 – the violent North Sea
00:18:43 – it's foul weather and killer waves are a
00:18:46 – huge problem for oil platform engineers
00:18:52 – they're traditional construction
00:18:53 – materials steel has a big weakness
00:19:00 – in shallow waters a steel platform is
00:19:04 – stout and strong enough to resist the
00:19:06 – pounding of the waves but in the deeper
00:19:11 – waters of the North Sea where its legs
00:19:14 – must be longer it faces a problem the
00:19:18 – steel legs are now so flexible that the
00:19:21 – power of the waves can bend the rig
00:19:23 – backwards and forwards over time it will
00:19:27 – develop weak points and break
00:19:33 – to get round the problem engineers come
00:19:36 – up with a new concept an oil platform
00:19:38 – cast in concrete it will have a massive
00:19:44 – base that locks it in place of the
00:19:46 – seabed and it's concrete legs will be so
00:19:51 – rigid that they won't bend in the waves
00:19:59 – the concrete is a material that needs to
00:20:02 – be cast layer by layer
00:20:04 – day by day which creates a problem as
00:20:07 – material scientists Tony Ryan explains
00:20:13 – so traditionally concrete structures are
00:20:16 – made in molds so imagine this is a whole
00:20:19 – day's work you call a day's worth of
00:20:23 – concrete into the mold and allow it to
00:20:28 – dry and then come back the next day and
00:20:31 – put another layer then the final days
00:20:34 – concrete goes in new concrete on top of
00:20:37 – all each time it's reactive and dried
00:20:43 – and when you remove the mold you end up
00:20:47 – with something like this you can see the
00:20:51 – layers where each day the work is
00:20:55 – finished the concrete dried just like
00:20:58 – strata in rock Tony Ryan applies a
00:21:01 – pressure test that simulates the impact
00:21:03 – of the big wave on an oil platform lay
00:21:13 – so now it's just making contact now
00:21:17 – forces own up and there's your glove so
00:21:23 – the samples broke right on one of those
00:21:25 – layers where the new concrete went on
00:21:32 – the old concrete made in layers is just
00:21:36 – not strong enough for the North Sea but
00:21:42 – engineers find a new way of casting
00:21:44 – concrete structures in a single piece as
00:21:49 – they fill their mold with concrete they
00:21:52 – push it up from below using hydraulic
00:21:54 – jacks
00:22:02 – they don't stop pouring until the
00:22:05 – structure is complete
00:22:07 – a block of concrete without a single
00:22:11 – seat
00:22:17 – in 1973 Norwegian engineers use this
00:22:20 – technique to build an oil rig tough
00:22:23 – enough for the North Sea first they pour
00:22:26 – concrete into molds to form 19 hollow
00:22:29 – chambers
00:22:33 – these will make up the base of the
00:22:35 – platform
00:22:38 – [Music]
00:22:43 – when the chambers reach a height of 15
00:22:46 – meters the builders flood the dock and
00:22:48 – float the whole structure out into deep
00:22:51 – water as they keep pouring concrete into
00:22:57 – the molds the platform sinks ever deeper
00:23:01 – until it reaches its full height
00:23:08 – then they float the platform deck over
00:23:11 – the legs and bolt on
00:23:19 – finally they pump air into hollow
00:23:22 – chambers in the base to float the
00:23:24 – 300,000 tonne monster back up the
00:23:27 – surface
00:23:34 – now the rig christened barrel alpha is
00:23:38 – ready for its maiden voyage
00:23:41 – in July 1975 it begins the trip out to
00:23:45 – the barrel oil fear the tugboats have a
00:23:49 – combined pulling power of 85,000 horses
00:23:54 – barrel alpha becomes the heaviest thing
00:23:57 – mankind has ever dragged across the
00:23:59 – planet when the concrete giant reaches
00:24:04 – its destination it's dropped to the
00:24:06 – bottom of the North Sea where it stands
00:24:09 – to this day
00:24:16 – thanks to the strength of concrete
00:24:19 – barrel alpha has survived the pounding
00:24:22 – of the North Sea for nearly 35 years
00:24:30 – although the Gulf of Mexico is plagued
00:24:33 – by hurricanes there is a more insidious
00:24:35 – danger for pedido lurking under the
00:24:38 – surface
00:24:41 – here in the Gulf we have to be able to
00:24:43 – write what we call loot current which is
00:24:46 – a big circular current in the Gulf of
00:24:48 – Mexico where we get very high currents
00:24:50 – on the order of five or six feet per
00:24:52 – second and what that causes is it causes
00:24:55 – the spar in particularly but any
00:24:58 – cylinder through vibrates in the current
00:25:04 – on the scale of pedido this phenomenon
00:25:08 – could cause happened vortices forming in
00:25:12 – fast currents could make the rig sway
00:25:14 – nearly a hundred meters sideways and
00:25:17 – damage it
00:25:20 – but pedido uses a simple device to deal
00:25:23 – with the cuts a thin strip of steel
00:25:28 – spiraling down its side called a
00:25:31 – straight
00:25:37 – without it the swaying motion of the rig
00:25:40 – would pull on the drill pipe this could
00:25:43 – rupture the pipe and cause a disastrous
00:25:45 – oil spill the strike also stops the crew
00:25:49 – from getting seasick
00:25:57 – back in 1975 barrel alpha survived the
00:26:01 – onslaught of the North Sea
00:26:03 – thanks to concrete
00:26:06 – in the caramel waters of the Gulf of
00:26:08 – Mexico the builders of the cognac
00:26:11 – platform could go back to steel but to
00:26:16 – piece together their 310 meter long
00:26:19 – structure underwater they would have to
00:26:22 – push diving technology to the limit
00:26:30 – in 1975 oil is discovered nearly 200
00:26:34 – kilometers off the coast of New Orleans
00:26:37 – the field is codenamed
00:26:39 – Kanye there's just one problem the Gulf
00:26:43 – of Mexico this far out is over 300
00:26:46 – meters deep building a platform that can
00:26:50 – reach this bed will require a mammoth
00:26:52 – effort
00:26:54 – Cognac was pushing the limits of
00:26:57 – deepwater platform design when the
00:26:59 – owners acquired the drilling rights they
00:27:02 – didn't even have a vessel that could
00:27:04 – drill in those depths there wasn't a
00:27:06 – Construction Yard and the entire Gulf
00:27:08 – Coast that was big enough to assemble it
00:27:10 – in one piece and there wasn't a barge
00:27:11 – big enough
00:27:13 – the engineers cannot pre fabricate the
00:27:16 – platform in one piece because it's so
00:27:18 – enormous they have to build Konya in
00:27:22 – four parts on land ship them to the site
00:27:25 – and then assemble the plaque from the
00:27:28 – sea
00:27:31 – what looks like child's play on dry land
00:27:35 – verges on the impossible in the water
00:27:39 – the challenge is getting all the pieces
00:27:42 – to fit together there is no margin for
00:27:46 – error in the installation of these three
00:27:48 – sections they had to be within inches of
00:27:52 – accuracy when they were mating them
00:27:54 – under water and that required space-age
00:27:56 – technology the engine is borrowed
00:28:00 – ducting technology from the Apollo moon
00:28:02 – project to put cognac together
00:28:09 – they suspend each section between two
00:28:12 – crane barges
00:28:19 – as these lower the metal monster into
00:28:22 – the deep transponders on the frame send
00:28:25 – blips of sonar
00:28:26 – towards reference beacons on the
00:28:28 – seafloor these bounce the signal back to
00:28:34 – the barges which adjust their position
00:28:36 – to keep the section on track
00:28:39 – remote-controlled TV cameras monitor the
00:28:42 – final approach to the docking points on
00:28:45 – the base but there are some pieces in
00:28:48 – the puzzle that cannot be fitted by a
00:28:51 – machine
00:28:57 – for all the space technology and
00:29:00 – similarities to the space program the
00:29:03 – engineers on the Cognac realized that
00:29:06 – certain things hat could only be done by
00:29:08 – humans and required a human hand jobs
00:29:12 – like welding or activating hydraulic
00:29:15 – jacks required human judgement and
00:29:17 – dexterity but the extreme depth that
00:29:21 – cognac can turn even the simplest task
00:29:23 – into the most dangerous job in the world
00:29:28 – [Music]
00:29:36 – [Music]
00:29:43 – divers meet years of experience before
00:29:46 – they're ready to work on deep-sea oil
00:29:48 – rigs here to test tank in Texas
00:29:55 – divers are trained to work safely under
00:29:57 – the pressures the deep-sea the danger
00:30:04 – comes with the very air and breathe of
00:30:09 – course consequences of deeper diving is
00:30:11 – that your body is absorbing compressed
00:30:14 – gases into its system the deeper you go
00:30:16 – the more they're compressed your body is
00:30:17 – absorbing those through your lungs and
00:30:19 – into your bloodstream getting down is
00:30:22 – not so bad but the hard part the
00:30:24 – dangerous part of diving is coming up if
00:30:28 – the catastrophic problems happen when
00:30:30 – you come up too quickly
00:30:31 – it's called explosive decompression
00:30:33 – where you come up much faster than it
00:30:35 – planned and these gases come out of
00:30:37 – solution and literally foam in your
00:30:40 – bloodstream to avoid this lethal danger
00:30:44 – divers have to decompress they have to
00:30:47 – come up slowly to let the gas leave
00:30:49 – their system for one minute dive at 300
00:30:55 – meters a diver has to spend 12 hours be
00:30:58 – compressing an immense waste of time ok
00:31:02 – I got you at 15 feet right now but there
00:31:04 – is a simple solution and that is to keep
00:31:07 – divers under pressure even when they're
00:31:09 – on the surface
00:31:17 – [Music]
00:31:20 – the divers working on cognac are sealed
00:31:23 – in a chamber on the diving pouch the air
00:31:27 – pressure is slowly increased until it
00:31:30 – matches the deep-sea pressure the divers
00:31:32 – will be working in a diving bell then
00:31:39 – takes them to the bottom down here they
00:31:43 – work in four-hour shifts to assemble the
00:31:45 – rig before returning to the surface the
00:31:50 – divers live at deep-sea pressure for
00:31:52 – nearly a month
00:31:55 – finally they must wait in the
00:31:57 – decompression chamber for nine days
00:32:00 – whilst the pressure is returned to
00:32:02 – normal it's living in a hostile
00:32:04 – environment that men weren't designed to
00:32:07 – live under but the beauty of it is you
00:32:09 – only decompress one time at the end of
00:32:11 – the job with the divers able to reach
00:32:14 – the extreme depths safely the Assembly
00:32:16 – of cognac goes swimmingly
00:32:19 – [Music]
00:32:22 – within two years all four pieces are
00:32:24 – joined up and cognac becomes a world
00:32:27 – record breaker
00:32:29 – it is the deepest and heaviest platform
00:32:33 – in the world and extracts oil for more
00:32:36 – wealth than any other
00:32:44 – because perdido is a floating rig the
00:32:47 – engineers don't need deep-sea divers to
00:32:49 – put it together but today they are
00:32:52 – facing the mother of all assembly jobs
00:32:55 – they are about to lift the 9,000 tonne
00:32:59 – platform deck called the table signs
00:33:01 – onto its base
00:33:07 – the crane barge doing the decklist is
00:33:09 – the most powerful of its kind in the
00:33:11 – world
00:33:12 – it has lifted many topsides in the Gulf
00:33:15 – but none as big and heavy as the perdido
00:33:19 – deck
00:33:24 – the engineers are confident that the
00:33:26 – barge is up the task
00:33:31 – but they can't be entirely sure
00:33:37 – the worst-case scenario is that we
00:33:40 – dropped the top side it's happened here
00:33:42 – in the Gulf of Mexico a number of years
00:33:44 – ago there was a heavy lift top size who
00:33:46 – had built after several years of
00:33:48 – construction we picked it up and it was
00:33:51 – dropped to the seafloor with a price tag
00:33:54 – of several billion dollars dropping the
00:33:57 – topsides is not an option so everything
00:34:00 – is checked and checked again and then
00:34:04 – once more for good measure
00:34:14 – then the teams hold their breath as the
00:34:17 – operation begins the crane lifts the top
00:34:22 – signs of its barge
00:34:31 – [Music]
00:34:39 – [Music]
00:34:41 – now it has to place the deck precisely
00:34:44 – on to the docking points on the platform
00:34:46 – base
00:35:02 – after 10 hours the topside is finally in
00:35:05 – place
00:35:06 – one of the biggest lists in history
00:35:09 – completed without a hitch back in 1981
00:35:17 – cognac proved that an oil rig could
00:35:19 – happily stand in 300 meters of water but
00:35:24 – to go nearly three times deeper the
00:35:27 – auger rig would have to lose its legs
00:35:30 – and learn how to float in the 1980's the
00:35:44 – oil boom is fading in the Gulf of Mexico
00:35:47 – existing wells bring only diminishing
00:35:50 – returns after 40 years of production in
00:35:54 – the Gulf of Mexico people had started to
00:35:57 – write it off it was played out and it
00:35:59 – was written off the Dead Sea one company
00:36:02 – in particular decided to take a chance
00:36:04 – and risk that there may be potential in
00:36:08 – the so-called deepwater shallow oil
00:36:10 – bought rights to a whole new expanse of
00:36:13 – underwater plots this was a huge gamble
00:36:15 – it was a huge risk for shale they
00:36:18 – probably laid out more than a billion
00:36:21 – dollars before they even knew that there
00:36:24 – was oil then prospectives discovered the
00:36:27 – augur field under almost 900 meters of
00:36:31 – water way beyond what existing oil rig
00:36:34 – technology can reach
00:36:43 – a steel platform at this depth would be
00:36:46 – over twice as tall as the Empire State
00:36:49 – Building
00:36:57 – so engineers come up with a radically
00:37:00 – new design for they abandon the legs and
00:37:05 – replace them with a gigantic hollow
00:37:07 – steel hole
00:37:13 – Olga would stand in the water it will
00:37:17 – float
00:37:23 – in 1993
00:37:25 – Borger is towed out to the oil field it
00:37:29 – is a quantum leap in oil rig technology
00:37:31 – but it has a potential flaw as it moves
00:37:36 – around in the waves
00:37:37 – it could tugs on it's fragile oil pipes
00:37:40 – and rupture them spilling oil into the
00:37:43 – sea a model rig will demonstrate how
00:37:46 – such environmental disasters which have
00:37:48 – happened in the past can be prevented
00:37:51 – please please what we'll see is that the
00:37:55 – model will start to move up and down
00:37:57 – with the surface of the wave as well as
00:37:59 – moving from side to side now a bit of
00:38:03 – side-to-side movement isn't the problem
00:38:05 – but as the model starts to move up and
00:38:07 – down it could break the equipment that's
00:38:09 – attaching it to the seabed the vertical
00:38:12 – motion is clearly unacceptable it's
00:38:14 – going to fracture the pipe it's bad for
00:38:16 – business and even worse for the
00:38:17 – environment so the solution is to
00:38:20 – somehow tether it more securely to the
00:38:22 – ocean floor so we can do that if we
00:38:24 – lower the platform deeper into the water
00:38:28 – we've now got a situation where there's
00:38:31 – an excess of buoyancy in the platform
00:38:33 – itself which is trying to push it up to
00:38:34 – the surface and the lines that are
00:38:36 – tethering the platform down to the
00:38:38 – seabed are now in tension so they're
00:38:39 – struggling against the buoyancy and this
00:38:41 – should show that we've got much more
00:38:44 – control on the platform stopping it from
00:38:46 – moving up and down and all we should
00:38:49 – have instead is a bit of side tightness
00:38:58 – okay subsides as well keeping the
00:39:03 – floating platform under tension is the
00:39:05 – key to keeping Fergus stable in 1994
00:39:10 – auger begins production and expectations
00:39:14 – are high for the deepest oil platform in
00:39:16 – the world when they began the drilling
00:39:20 – they expected to get around six eight
00:39:23 – maybe ten thousand barrels a day out of
00:39:26 – the wells and what they found during
00:39:29 – their first test was that they were
00:39:30 – getting much less than that and the
00:39:33 – question started servicing did we just
00:39:36 – blow a billion dollars but then one of
00:39:39 – the engineers has a hunch he thinks that
00:39:42 – the drilling fluid they use to keep the
00:39:44 – well clean could be the source of the
00:39:47 – problem
00:39:49 – [Music]
00:39:52 – the engineer suspect when they broke
00:39:55 – through to the oil field they may have
00:39:57 – released pockets gas
00:40:00 – the gas could have reacted ripple drill
00:40:02 – fluid and formed a tough limescale flood
00:40:05 – which is now obstructing the oil flow
00:40:13 – so the engineers for hydrochloric acid
00:40:16 – down into the well
00:40:22 – much to their delight the acid dissolves
00:40:26 – the obstruction and releases the oil
00:40:31 – they started to see tremendous flow out
00:40:34 – of the wealth the entire industry was
00:40:36 – abuzz about auger and their whole
00:40:39 – perspective on the potential of
00:40:42 – Deepwater Gulf of Mexico change
00:40:45 – olga proves that floating platforms are
00:40:48 – the best way of exploiting more and more
00:40:51 – extreme deaths
00:40:56 – querido is no exception to the rule but
00:41:00 – floating platforms have one big drawback
00:41:10 – once the bottom half is in the upright
00:41:13 – position it isn't very stable as soon as
00:41:16 – the deck is added the rig gets very
00:41:19 – top-heavy and could easily flip the
00:41:25 – solution is 13,000 tons of pulverized
00:41:28 – iron ore this is pumped into a tank at
00:41:34 – the bottom of the spa which gives
00:41:36 – perdido an extremely low center of
00:41:38 – gravity so it becomes impossible to flip
00:41:42 – well we put that weight in the bottom
00:41:44 – thus far it's inherently stable it's not
00:41:47 – going to flip over or get out of
00:41:49 – alignment other floating structures
00:41:52 – weight and stability is a real issue so
00:41:55 – when you put weight on one side of the
00:41:57 – platform you got to put ballast on the
00:41:58 – other side of platform and make sure it
00:41:59 – doesn't tip over
00:42:00 – but we don't have that problem on as far
00:42:02 – over the last 150 years oil platforms
00:42:07 – have turned from wooden shacks into
00:42:09 – cities in the ocean but despite all the
00:42:13 – modern technology drilling for oil
00:42:15 – remains a dangerous business
00:42:18 – and the worst thing that can happen is
00:42:21 – that this precious resource shows its
00:42:24 – destructive nature
00:42:34 – July the 6th 1988
00:42:39 – – alpha the largest oil platform in the
00:42:42 – North Sea is rocked by a series of
00:42:45 – explosions the platform is destroyed and
00:42:52 – tons of oil spills the sea from a crew
00:42:59 – of 226 only 59 survived the others
00:43:06 – perish and blaze
00:43:09 – Viper alpha is a grim iron for the oil
00:43:13 – industry
00:43:15 – [Music]
00:43:17 – the biggest danger to a steel structure
00:43:21 – is fire because their heat weakens the
00:43:24 – steel so got these two drinks cans
00:43:27 – they're going to be my steel columns one
00:43:29 – of them is painted in regular pen the
00:43:32 – sort of thing you'd find at home but the
00:43:34 – other one has special intumescent pared
00:43:37 – off so let's see how it works
00:43:41 – I'm going to lured the columns as if
00:43:46 – they were part of an oil rig and then
00:43:51 – I'm going to set fire to them
00:43:59 – the intumescent paint react violently to
00:44:02 – the heat it puffs up and begins to
00:44:04 – charge but this is the perfect recipe
00:44:07 – for fire protection the unprotected
00:44:11 – sphere just can't take the heat
00:44:19 – so this color thing is your and this
00:44:25 – column is being protected from the fire
00:44:28 – by the formation of charcoal it has a
00:44:32 – mineral inside that causes the expansion
00:44:35 – and the insulating layer prevents heat
00:44:38 – being conducted to the steel and
00:44:40 – weakening it so this looks like a girl
00:44:43 – for a long time it's certainly long
00:44:46 – enough for people to escape it might
00:44:48 – give you half an hour of fire protection
00:44:52 – Piper Alpha lay a hundred and eighty
00:44:55 – kilometers offshore perdido is nearly
00:44:59 – twice as far from the coast the men are
00:45:02 – over two hours flight time from rescue
00:45:05 – so delaying the destructive effects of a
00:45:07 – fire on the rig is crucial
00:45:11 – Engineers have applied a fireproof
00:45:14 – coating to all the critical parts miss
00:45:16 – field structure this guarantees they
00:45:19 – will survive the heat for longer and to
00:45:24 – protect the workers from explosions
00:45:26 – Engineers have fitted 18 steel panels to
00:45:30 – separate the production side from the
00:45:32 – living quarters
00:45:37 – in the event of a blast these panels
00:45:42 – deform
00:45:44 – and soak up the energy of the shockwave
00:45:46 – without rupturing
00:45:50 – by remaining intact this blast wall
00:45:53 – shield for living horses from fire
00:46:02 – [Music]
00:46:13 – the oil industry have learned it's
00:46:16 – lesson from the Piper Alpha disaster
00:46:19 – pedido uses state-of-the-art technology
00:46:22 – to make sure its workers don't risk
00:46:24 – their lives in pursuit of the black gold
00:46:29 – [Music]
00:46:30 – [Applause]
00:46:32 – perdido reaches deeper into the ocean
00:46:34 – than any oil in the flooring and it uses
00:46:38 – technology to try and reduce the
00:46:40 – environmental impact that oil rigs have
00:46:43 – had in the past
00:46:45 – standing on the shoulders of historic
00:46:47 – engineering giants this really is the
00:46:51 – ultimate oil until someone builds an
00:46:55 – even deeper one
00:46:58 – [Music]
00:47:04 – you
00:47:11 – you

...

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