Oil Platforms in the Gulf: How Many and Who Owns Them?

Map from Swordpress detailing depths and locations of oil platforms in Gulf of Mexico

Map from Swordpress detailing depths and locations of oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico

My original intent for this post was to provide a nice infographic detailing by percentage the operators/owners of all the oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.  After spending a few hours on the internet I found out that is not possible with the available data on the internet.  The Mineral Management Service does provide some data.  Looking at active lease holdings for the Gulf of Mexico, not the owners of the rigs themselves, pulls up at least 1,200 uniquely named companies with unique addresses. The extent that these actually represent subsidiaries of one another is a black box of confusing linkages. A list of platforms available for download  contains indecipherable MMS designation codes but contains no information on owners/operators.  If I had all the time in the world I could use RIGZONE and compile the data by hand…maybe.

Locations are provided.  If you are handy with GIS  and so inclined a map can be quickly constructed. I was going to attempt this but realized that Swordpress has done a fine job with a nice map and nifty Youtube video.

Of course, I started off with a simpler question.  How many active platforms are in the Gulf of Mexico?  Manned: 717, 244, 819. Unmanned: 4000 (ref 2).

Perhaps I am off base in assuming that the counts, owners/operators, and locations of offshore oil platforms would be easy to obtain online?  Perhaps I expected way too much when I wanted this information without hours of searching and data manipulation?

Or maybe, just maybe, I am dead on when I expected as a citizen to have ready information about who and the extent of pillaging of the public commons.

A cookie and hat tip to anybody who can provide an infographic or list of owners/operators.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

17 Replies to “Oil Platforms in the Gulf: How Many and Who Owns Them?”

  1. I wondered the same thing, approx 3000 off Louisiana alone, the rest not sure of, way too damn many, that’s for sure, who said it was ok to turn the gulf into an oil feild anyway??

  2. I really want to meet an Oil Magnate, there is so many questions I want to ask.Do they even go on the net?

    Rig Count Continues to Improve

    US drilling activity jumped by 32 rotary rigs to 1,193 units working to week 18th Dec, compared with 1,764 during the same period in 2008, reported by Baker Hughes. Land drilling accounted for all of the gain, up 38 rigs to 1,146 in operation. Inland water activity lost 2 rigs, with 13 still working. Offshore drilling was down by 4 rigs to 33 in the Gulf of Mexico and a total of 34 on the US shelf. Gas drilling increased by 16 rigs to 773. Drilling for oil also increased by 16 units, to 409. There were 11 rigs unclassified. Directional drilling gained 11 rigs to 202 working. Horizontal drilling increased 14 rigs to 572. The Texas rig count was up by 20 to 478 working. Colorado gained 6 to 44. North Dakota and New Mexico increased by 2 rigs each to respective counts of 62 and 50. Oklahoma, Wyoming, California, West Virginia, and Alaska were unchanged at 93, 41, 26, 22, and 9 respectively. Pennsylvania and Arkansas were down 1 rig each to respective totals of 62 and 37. Louisiana lost 4 to 177 working. Canadians weekly rig count increased by 14 to 368, compared with 369 rigs working a year ago

    RIG COUNT TICKER NOW ONLINE at http://www.offshore-oil-rig-jobs.com/drilling-rig-jobs.html

  4. I did actually wonder- how many oil platforms are there is the world? Has anyone seen a map of where they are? (Its probably top secret information…)

  5. also i’m currently working on a kml file for google earth (research led me here) i’ll send it to you when complete

  6. Duncan O’Niel’s post said there are currently 33 offshore oil rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico. I am curious as to how many rigs are located off Louisiana in the Mississippi Delta area and how many are in the hypoxic “dead zone”? One always sees pictures of oil rigs with huge “burnoff” flaming into the atmosphere; why not get the OIL COMPANIES to use that wasted energy to run a turbine to pump air (oxygen) down to the seabed in simple pipes and let the oxygen do it’s thing as it bubbles back up to the surface …. cleaning up the Gulf. Simple, cheap, natural.

  7. Hello Dr. M,

    You mentioned in your post:

    “A cookie and hat tip to anybody who can provide an infographic or list of owners/operators”

    I have just released an application for iPad (iPhone version coming soon) called the Petroleum Global Well Map in which users can dynamically post or navigate and browse wells and/or rigs on a global map. Some people have been posting rigs and the owners/operators in the Gulf coast which may be of interest to you.

    App link: http://itunes.apple.com/app/petroleum-global-well-map-xl/id533992276?mt=8

  8. im trying to get on a oil rig and all they are asking for is money and if us people dont have a job then why do they think we can pay for their cd’s i think it is bs cause if they need help that bad then they should tell everyone how to apply with out buying stuff.

  9. I was trying to find out how many oil rigs are the gulf of alaska & Chukchi sea. I check that one website from 11 14 11, but had no luck. As for that cookie an a hat trick, I can’t dance so i guess were both even.

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