The first offshore well in the North Sea was drilled in 1964 by the jackup Mr Louie.
Commercial extraction of oil on the shores of the North Sea dates back to 1851, when James Young reported oil from torbanite mined in the Midland Valley of Scotland. In 1910 gas was found near Hamburg in Germany, much later in 1943, under the village of Schoonebeek in the Netherlands. The first offshore hole in the North Sea had been sunk by the drilling platform Mr Louie in May 1964, 33 miles north of the island of Juist in the German sector. Mr Louie was designed by Emile Brinkmann in 1956. The drilling barge was built by Universal Drilling Co. It was launched in 1958 and delivered in 1959. Mr Louie first drilled about 40 wells in the Gulf of Mexico, and later was transferred to the North Sea. The 6,200 ton barge was able to operate in 130 ft of water by means of 12 cylindrical legs. Mr Louie continued to drill in the UK North Sea for Amoco. After the North Sea, Mr. Louie was moved to West Africa. Between 1977 and 1978 it drilled six appraisal wells at the Saltpond Oil Field in offshore Ghana. After completing the drilling in 1978, Mr. Louie was converted into an oil platform at this field. It was officially renamed APG-1.
The first well of the UK North Sea was drilled in December 1964 by the jackup Mr Cap. In September 1965, the jackup Sea Gem was the first rig ever to find hydrocarbons in the British North Sea sector, 42 miles off the Mouth of the River Humber.