When it takes 150,000,000 gallons of water to make something float, you know it is large and in charge, right? Well that was the case in 1974 when welders and fabricators finished their work in building the world’s largest oil rig in 1974, a monster called Graythorpe 1. This video tells the story of finishing the job and floating the thing out to sea. This platform and many others were designed to be used in the massive North Sea oil fields that were discovered by British Petroleum in the early 1970s and were making oil by 1975.
This thing was 300ft tall while laying on its side! The weight is as massive as the overall girth. Watching it get floated out, towed out, and then stood up in the ocean represents an awesome engineering accomplishment as well as the work of a lot of old dudes with slide rules and pencil/paper. Yes, there was some rudimentary computing used here but the reality is that the actual work was done by those guys with pocket protectors, at least in terms of getting the math right.
This is just a neat look at what was a groundbreaking project at the time. We’re not sure if this rig is still parked there in the North Sea, extracting oil, but we are sure that the story of how it was built and placed is a cool one, especially in the context of 1974!