Old Drilling Rig Burning

This rig was built as Key Largo for Keydril back in 1978, but have changed name and owner many times since.
I did a lot of rig moves on Key Largo, both before and after the merger with Global Santafe in 1985.

Keydril was owned by Gulf Oil Co. but run with a firm hand by Virile Stone.
All their rigs were painted Parrot Green because Virile thought that was calming and made the crew (most living “south of I-10” in Louisiana) feel more at home.

He also insisted on having a special “VIP Suite” on all their rigs, just in case he should wish to pay a visit. Since he seldom did, I used it when visiting Keydril’s rigs. (when he was not on board)

PS> Still “slotted” by the look of it, which is unusual today. (Or maybe converted to “Slottilever”??)

I’m not too familiar with the technical details of drilling rigs, but I can imagine that it still looks ““slotted”” which is unusual today. My dad only uses drawworks for drilling rigs, but they are pretty new. It’s incredible how much technology and equipment have advanced over the years, and it’s cool to see how things have changed in the industry.
Thanks for sharing this bit of drilling rig history - learning about such stories is always fascinating.

Back in the early 80’s, I worked as a roustabout and crane operator on the Aleutian Key and Key Singapore in the Gulf of Mexico, North Atlantic and off the coast of California. I believe the green color Stone chose was actually patented and called Keydril green – I recall all too well from the constant sandblasting, priming and painting of every inch of those rigs! The idea behind the green color was that it demonstrated a commitment by the company to be environmentally friendly. And to some degree, I think it was.

Re: the Singapore and right before my first hitch on it, the rig was being moved from Nome, Alaska when the towing lines broke in a storm. The crew dropped anchors to try and secure it but no luck, and they ended up being rescued by the Coast Guard and abandoned the rig. (It was found the next day resting on a sand bar with just some relatively minor damage to the hull that the welders were able to repair.)

All in all, it was a great experience working on rigs as a young man, but I’d never do it now!

I did a lot of rig moves on Keydrill rigs in S.E.Asia and West Africa in the 1970s and 80s, both before and after the merger with SantaFe and in 1990-2000s, when they became part of Transocean.

No it wasn’t, it is called “parrot green” and shared with the green used to paint the Bergersen tankers:

(Also rumoured to be patented as “Bergersen Green”)
PS>The “green(ish) grease” used to lubricate the legs when jacking were said to be specially made on request of Virgil Stone. (Don’t think it was patented)

Said to be because it made the crew feel at home, being mostly “farm boys” coming from around Munroe, not more that 10 miles on either side of I-20.

Virgil Stone had many good ideas, like having strict rules for not wearing working cloths in the quarters (Blue coveralls outside, parrot greens and only tennis shoes inside) and only entrance through the Change rooms were a good ideas.
His resistance against having lifeboats (before it was forced on him) and the covered generators to reduce noise in the generator room (difficult for maintenance) was among the bad ideas.
Having an “Owners cabin” on each rig (in case he wanted to pay a visit) I liked, because I used it when on board for rigmove.

No, the crews came from all over Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and had varied backgrounds. One of my friends was a former police officer from Mississippi, another from Dallas and had a sales background, Definitely from all over, but we did have our share of country boys. As for the green color, you may be right about the parrot green, but it was in fact to promote Keydril as being environmentally responsible drilling company in an era where most were not. It had nothing to do with making the crews “feel at home”.

Wish I could find some info about the company – there’s not much out there unfortunately.

As for the grease, I was on several moves for the Singapore and we never used green grease on the legs. It was just straight up brown.

Maybe different when the rigs were working in US water. On the rigs operating overseas the few Americans on the rigs were nearly all from around Munroe La and along I-20 into Mississippi.

I did my first rigmove on the Key Biscayne in 1974 and it was painted grey, not parrot green. She sunk off W.Australia in 1983. Now a popular wreck dive site:

I can’t recall when the colour change was, but the parrot green was kept after merger with Santafe in 1985 and until being absorbed into Transocean in 2007.

The green grease was not a great success and was only used for a short while. (May even on a few rigs only)

I did rigmoves on the former Keydrill rigs when owned by Santafe, Global Santafe and finally Transocean, both in S.E.Asia Australia, India and West Africa, until 2011.

PS> The big change in crew and management style was when Transocean took over.

Sounds like you were about 10 years before me. Who were some of the toolpushers during your time? I remember working with Steve Ganglehoff and Harold Fisher. I think Ganglehoff climbed the ladder into corporate - maybe beyond Keydril. Don’t know what happened to Harold.

Keydril did have a patent on “Keydril Green” paint. It was made special for them only by International Paint. I worked as warehouse foreman for them back in the late 70’s until my offshore connections got me onto the Aleutian Key. I scraped paint for them until a bud got injured - a set of tongs being lowered into a caisson busted loose, landing on the guy at the bottom, splitting his hard hat in two and busting him up pretty bad. Being a Viet Nam vet with serious wound experience and plenty of chopper time, I was elected to take the two hour ride back to shore with him. I was left at base camp where Keydril had sidelined a worker who was claiming he was allergic to the soap they had on the rig and was trying to milk them for it. Trouble was he had a bottle of the stuff that he was rubbing on like lotion every day of the week or two I was stuck there waiting for a crew boat or way back out to the rig. That was just before the Aleutian Key started a long roundabout six month journey to Alaska. Eventually I said to hell with waiting and hitched a ride back to Houston. Didn’t really relish the idea of Alaska. Don’t recall even ever getting my last check. Went on a different very long roundabout to end up here.

I worked on the Key Gibraltar from 1979 to 1986. I went aboard out of Belem, Brazil. She had come from the North Sea on a Sea Camel, legged up in the Para River, and towed to the first drilling location. I went aboard after they started drilling. In all the time I was with Keydril I only met two men from north Louisiana. Both were were from West Monroe.

I I started out with Keydril on the Key Manhattan while it was sill in the Marathon LeTourneau shipyard in Brownsville Texas in the early 80s. I was a Roustabout but after a few months I started training on the cranes. The Tool Pusher was Harold Fisher. Very Tough old school but knew what to do when things went wrong. I was promoted to crane operator while The Key Manhattan was still working in the gulf out of Cameron LA. While I was home on my 2 weeks off in Arkansas I received a call from headquarters in Houston to fly down and they were going to fast track getting my passport to go to Singapore. I was also informed at Harold Fishers request I was promoted to barge foreman on the Key Singapore being finished at the Marathon LeTourneau shipyard in Singapore. Harold Fisher had been picked as the first toolpusher for the Key Singapore. I spent two 28 day tours in the shipyard then I helped load it on Super Servant 1 for its trip across the Pacific to Dutch Harbor Alaska. This is a whole other story in itself involving nearly losing the brand new rig in a storm. I hope I can connect with some of my crew mates from my years with Keydril.

I spent seven years on the Key Gibraltar…Brazil, West Africa, Belize, and Egypt. I was a Senior Electrician. I knew Alex Espinosa who was on the Manhattan. I crossed paths with Harold Fisher at SIS training in Houston. If I ran across you I don’t remember.