27 thoughts on “Staflo Oil Drilling Rig

  1. I just discovered in the credits in his book “Northstar” that Hammond Innes, already a bestselling author of “Campbell’s Kingdom”, was on the Staflo during the tow from the Brent appraisal to Auk appraisal.

    This must have been in September 1971. No wonder that the story in the novel “Northstar” reads in parts very realistic, the fictional rig Northstar itself could have been the Staflo.

    Does anyone have recollections of this rig move?

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  2. I was the Shell UK Expro wellsite petroleum engineer (and subsequently Aberdeen Base Senior Operations Engineer) who discovered the Auk Field (Block 30/16) on 28th November 1970. After a sequence of “dry-hole” exploration wells with the rig on the UKCS, 30/16-1 was spudded in the Summer of 1970. I was re-assigned from well-site petroleum engineering responsibilities on deep gasfield development wells in the Southern North Sea, to provide geological interpretation, mud-engineering, mud-log and electric-log interpretation, casing and cementing and general scientific oversight. The lads doing the heavy work included Sandy Buchanan, Senior Driller, Mike Freeman and not to forget Art Van Donk, the Toolpusher I shared the “10 days ON, 4 days OFF” shifts that Autumn and Winter.

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  3. 50 years ago this week Staflo moored up on its first location. I was on the first crew change on the Wednesday before Christmas. We flew from what is now Dyce International Airport, but was in 1967 just two old WW2 hangers, where BA has set up to provide an S 61N chopper for Shell.
    Spent the next three years on her until April 1971.
    Awesome days!!

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    • Hello Tom, I worked with you on the Chris Chenery so must have been 1975-1977. Interesting post. I did not know you were one of the original pioneers. There is a Facebook group Shell Aberdeen Past & Present but it is mostly office girls.

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  4. I find these reports on the Staflo very interesting. I was on the Staflo from late 1970 to end of 1974 working for Core Lab (mud logging engineer) during the discoveries of Auk, Brent, Cormorant and Dunlin fields.

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      • Hi Tom, Yes I worked with Bill Glidden but came just after Snell.
        I was a very young South African and eventually took over from Bill as Crew Chief when he took over our office in Dyce.

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    • Hi Andries, I was the Shell wellsite petroleum engineer who recovered 10ft of oil-bearing Zechstein dolomite/sandstone core on the 29th November 1970, which proved to be the founding of Shell’s success on the UKCS. I am fairly sure that it was your opposite number (mud-logger) who was on board for that event, but cannot remember his name – he was an Engelsman, I think. Many years later I coincidentally was employed as the Director of Reservoir Engineering Services for CoreLab, Houston. I’d be interested to know that you have had a successful and eventful career after those early days. Tot ziens! Paul Wood

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      • Gents,
        Just to inform you that an ex Staflo a/d has just died. Dick Loose. Did of you know him.?
        One of lifes great characters.
        RIP

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      • Hi Paul, I think it was Hatterley at that time-we worked long with Bill Glidden. I came back to SA end 1974 ans had a time with Siemens (10years) and with The Development Bank of SA An Infrastucture Bank like the World Bank.
        I am now retired in Pretoria.

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  5. Hello to all fellow crew members. Yes she was a great rig to work on. Shell sold it to Nautilus Ventures in 1975. I joined it on its last location in the North Sea and worked 3x 14/14 schedules with the Shell crews that did not go to work on its replacement rig (Stadrill), being built in Halifax NS. This was my first contract and all the local crew made me feel very welcome. The rig worked for 20 months out of San Carlos, Spain before Shell liquidated NV and paid us all off. The journey from 1975 till 2015 was hell of a ride. I feel blessed that I had the chance to experiencing these times. How things have changed!!!.
    The rig was towed to Malta in 1977 and sold to Sedco. I like to think that the best times spent on this old girl was during pre 77. Crews make good memories, rigs just compliment the experiences.
    I would love to hear from any 75/77 crew members reading this. They were good times.
    Norm Hodder (Chief Elec 75/77).

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    • Hi Norman I believe this was one of the rigs we did M/E refit on in Algeciras. I was working for company called Gomer Offshore. Was there another elec. eng. as well called john Zamit Moore from Malta? Regards john k

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    • Norm,
      I know that after leaving the North Sea, the Staflo did some innovative work offshore Spain drilling the Castelllon B-5 well and preparing it for the first FPSO in the world. I read that the Staflo also run the riser for this subsea well. Do you remember anything about this operation and would you have photos?

      Helge (retired geologist)

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  6. Staflo was ordered 1966 from Furness Shipbuilding (Tyne) and delivered in Dec 1967. Costs around GBP 3 mill and capable to drill in up to 600 ft waterdepth – but only euqipped with a bumpersub (no real heave compensator) and therefore limited to calm weather.

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    • I worked on Staflo as a Driller from 1973 to 1975, we were the last Shell crew to leave the rig after handing it over to Nautilus, bound for Spain.
      Used to drill with two bumper subs and there was a crude deck-mounted heave compensator for hanging off in bad weather. I had to operate it a couple of times which was a hairy experience.
      Regarding oilfield names, we had just cored a new discovery and were wondering what Shell would call it, they already had Auk, Brent, Cormorant and Dunlin. Someone guessed it would be Eider but we were surprised when they called it Tern. I think Fulmar came later?

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      • Roger, the 30/16-6 (Fulmar) well was rushed into the drilling sequence because the Staflo finished the previous well early and there was still time for another well prior to the rig being handed over. The discovery was declared Dec 1975.

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  7. I worked on Staflo briefly in 1974 as wellsite petroleum engineer. Well was 30/19-2, chalk reservoir, lost circulation, gas kicks, 2 stage cement jobs. Now on production as Affleck Field (Maersk). I remember Christmas Day 1974 as a seaman was washed overboard from MV Wassertor, while attempting a snatch lift. He was recovered but succumbed to hypothermia.

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    • Wasn’t that when the Fulmar field was discovered? The rig was already sold, but had time for one more well. So the Fulmar well was put on the sequence, and the result was a real positive surprise!

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    • Hi there Davie, I worked Staflo for KD Marine as a Sat Diver in 76 when it was blown off location and rescued by the Tug Zirder Zea and towed to Holland for repair, di you hear about that?
      As for SSOS whats that question as I have some contacts
      Regs Dave Hilton Sat Supv

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  8. Staflo was built by Shell UK to drill on the UKCS.Among its discoveries was Shell”s Brent field in 1971, on the North Sea”s largest and still producing in 2007.

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