Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ocean Star Drilling Rig Museum

As we spend more and more time here in Dickinson, we are looking around more and more...we're in a very heavily industrial area all around us...oil refineries everywhere..there's no place to ride bikes other than narrow residential roads and we have to drive quite a ways to get anywhere, with the exception of a quick 20 min.  drive to Galveston, which we really do like! We wish in hindsight, that for staying for a month we had checked to see if there were any activities at the park where we are staying...somehow we thought we were staying in a very active community of RVers with lots of activities offered at the park. We must have been looking at a different park. Instead, the park is full of BP workers and shift workers for various industries in the area, and there are no activities to speak of.  However, the campground/park is a lovely park, and the sites are some of the nicer ones in the area. We are enjoying the birds, the parrots, the bayou, and the office staff couldn't be more friendlier. They are working hard under new ownership to "spiff" things up and to try and offer activities in the future...

So-o-o-o, with that being said, we look for things to keep us busy...and we found the Ocean Star Drilling Rig Museum down in Galveston at the waterfront (naturally!)....This is a great place to find out more about how the oil gets from the ocean to the customer...all kinds of rigs are explained, models of the rigs are everywhere, outdoor decks get you up close and personal to the drilling equipment, there is a great children/young people's section that talks about different kinds of intelligences and what kinds of jobs are suited to those intelligences. And, without getting too political, which I am inclined to be rather quiet about when it comes to my personal opinions, there was an interesting section in the museum on the efforts to make drilling and oil recovery as eco friendly as possible. I'm not expressing that very well, but there's a whole side to this oil drilling controversy that is never in the forefront of usual discussions about what this does to the environment.  There are significant efforts being made to reduce the environmental "footprint" of the drilling operations. Such things as continuing improvements in oil reserves recovery--more oil and gas recovered from fewer wells, advances in structural designs of the rigs themselves, smaller more efficient drilling rigs, and new seismic techniques (the way they use sound waves to find oil) are just a few of the ways the oil companies are trying to minimize their impact on ecology. Not to mention all the regulatory agencies that govern every step of the drilling setup and installation. Many think that's not enough, I know....Now if someone would just rein in the "sock it to us" gas prices which are really going to continue hurt the economy's recovery if the oil companies continue to be "untouchable".......

Here's some stuff I found interesting:
5-100 times more fish occupy the area around oil and gas platforms compared to surrounding mud and clay surfaces, offshore platforms offer a hard surface for new habitat for communities of sea life, living reefs attach to the legs of the platform and of the healthiest reef systems is the Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico...this area is surrounded by active offshore operations and is recognized as one of the world's healthiest reef systems with more than 400 wells within a ten  mile radius of the sanctuary. Pipeline routes are installed only after consultation with marine biologists, oystermen, ornithologists (bird experts) and other agencies to have the least impact to marine ecology.

Cutaway view of blowout preventer
personnel transport basket
We saw one of the infamous blow out preventers (BOP), we saw the basket used to transport personnel and their belongings from a ship to the rig, a cool, state of the art driller's chair where the operator controls the drilling, (it looked like a deluxe gamer's chair with dual joysticks) and lots of other interesting things in the museum--a bargain $5.00 senior rate gets you in...we enjoyed it!

driller's chair
Tomorrow, off to see Kerry again on her Spring...looks like we're going shopping again! Sigh! Not being a shopper, I'll be ready to call it quits pretty quickly, but we enjoy each other's company and that's all that matters to me...We'll be yakking up a storm, I'm sure! It's girls' day out, Eldy will stay home and man the fort.....he knows it's great to have just mother and daughter time. That ole ipad is going to get a workout, I'm sure! See you tomorrow!


  1. Very, very, interesting and this for sure is going on our bucket list. Thanks for sharing and explaining some of it.

  2. Thank you for the great comment! It is alwaysnice to get real feedback from preal people.