1949 – JOHN T. HAYWARD AND THE BRETON RIG 20
John T. Hayward was born in Liverpool, England in 1890. He graduated from Seafield Park Engineering College and received a diploma in Marine Engineering from Liverpool University. In 1909, he was apprenticed to a Belfast shipyard. In 1911, he went to Romania to superintend construction of a pipeline pumping station and, in 1914, he became drilling and production superintendent for the Rumania Consolidated Fields Co.’s Bana Moreni field.
During the civil war he was trapped in Bessarabia (today Moldova), but managed to work his way across Russia and escape through Murmansk.
He returned to Romania in 1919 as Chief Engineer for Phoenix Oil and Transport Co. who, in 1927, sent him to the United States to purchase production and refining equipment. This visit decided Mr. Hayward to immigrate to this country and he became a citizen in 1931. From then to 1942, he was Chief Engineer for Barnsdall Oil Co. based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Hayward joined the Navy Department in 1941 as Chief Scientist at the underwater warfare test station in Solomons.
He returned to Barnsdall Oil Co. in 1945. In 1947 he was asked to bring the company, which held some leases in Breton Sound off the Mississippi coast, into the offshore industry. They needed a technology advancement to do so. Hayward in time came to believe the company should build its own mobile offshore drilling unit – a revolutionary one. To produce such a rig, Hayward envisioned combining the best features of inland barges with those of piled platforms to create a single, portable, and stable unit, which eventually was dubbed the submersible rig.
“Hayward’s design was, in fact, a barge hull connected to a separate drilling deck by a series of supporting columns. Even when submerged, the height provided by the posts left the drilling deck high and dry. This eliminated the rocking effect caused by storm-amplified waves, since much of their force passed harmlessly through the space between the barge and the drilling deck. Workers could empty the buoyancy tanks and re-float the barge hull, making it a truly mobile drilling unit.”
The rig, christened Breton Rig 20, went to work on the Breton Sound prospects immediately after construction at a coastal shipyard. Its successful drilling in up to 20 ft of water put the rig in high demand by other operators. However, the rig’s official name didn’t stick, and it came to be referred to as the Hayward-Barnsdall Rig, even after Kerr-McGee bought it in 1951 and named it Transworld Rig 40. The rig worked steadily until it was retired from the fleet in 1968 and scrapped. The Breton Rig 20 can lay a claim that it was the premier Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) though it often drilled in shallow water which was less than 20 feet. (Source AIME, Offshore Energy Center)
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