THE LEGEND OF ROWAN – BIRTH AND LIFE OF ROWAN COMPANIES
Rowan Companies grew from the dreams of two Texas brothers, Charles and Archibald Rowan, born in the late 1800’s. They were raised to young manhood at Alvin, Texas, roughnecked for Humble Oil, and learned the sweet scent of oil at Mexia.
Charlie convinced Arch to join him in the fledgling drilling operation in the famous oil fields of Corsicana, in Navarro County, south of downtown Dallas, Texas. When the two brothers had the opportunity to purchase a drilling rig in 1923, they decided to seize the day. They formed the Rowan Drilling Company as a contract drilling business. Operating a small steam rig powered by two 45-horsepower boilers they started drilling in the Powell field near Corsicana.
The company acquired an additional oil rig, purchased for $5,500. With total capital of $30,000, the brothers set the new rig near the town of Wortham. They hit a gusher in November 1924 that reached 200 feet in the air. The event launched Rowan’s business and created an oil boom in the city of Wortham.
In 1927, Arch and Charly established a second company, Rowan Oil Company. The company was based in Fort Worth to sell the oil produced by Rowan Drilling.
Drilling with steam power was state-of-the-art for the 1920s, but by 1935 Rowan was moving ahead of the industry by purchasing its first diesel electric rig. In the late 1930s, the company extended its reach beyond Texas and into the marshland of Louisiana. By the end of 1948, Rowan had 78 wells: 55 in Texas, 12 in New Mexico, and 11 in Louisiana.
1954 was an important milestone for Rowan Drilling. The company undertook its first platform-mounted drilling rig to drill offshore Louisiana.
In 1970 the first jackup was introduced. Rowan’s entry into the jackup market was remarkable and gave birth to an exceptional adventure with the construction of the first cantilever jackup in 1978, the first Gorilla class in 1983 and the first Tarzan in 1983.
In 2011 Rowan entered the ultra-deepwater market with the construction of its first drillship, Rowan Renaissance, a Gusto MSC P10000, built by HHI in Ulsan, South Korea. Rowan Renaissance was delivered in late 2014.
In 2018 Rowan’s fleet included four ultra-deepwater drillships and 23 jack-up rigs, (Renaissance, Resolute, Relentless and Reliance) 17 of which rated high-specification. Additionally, Rowan was a 50% shareholder of ARO Drilling, an offshore drilling joint venture with Saudi Aramco.
At the beginning of October 2018, Ensco acquired Rowan Companies and became the world’s largest offshore drilling operator by the number of rigs.
(Image: Arch and Charles Rowan, Rowan’s and rig in Wortham area, Rowan’s first offshore drilling barge, Rowan Gorilla VI)