Ocean Star Offshore Drill rig and museum
Born from an idea in 1989, a museum to chronicle the offshore oil and gas industry was created. In 1997 the Ocean Star was moved to Pier 19 in Galveston where it would find its new home and serve as a museum and education center for future explorers to experience what life is like aboard a once working, mobile jack-up drilling rig.
Ocean Star History
The Ocean Star Oil Rig was built in 1969 at Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in Beaumont, Texas. Operating in depths up to 173 feet of water, the Ocean Star was designed to drill wells up to 25,000 feet. The oil rig spent its drilling life in the Gulf of Mexico and after it was retired it was purchased by the Energy Education Foundation after drilling over 200 wells.
As the name implies, these rig types are made to be jacked up, having their legs reach the sea floor, and jacking the rig out of the water by at least 25 feet to protect the rig and its inhabitants from any wave-action. Some can be moved to a new location under their own power while others need to be towed by a tug boat.
Getting to the Rig
Crew can get to the rig by either helicopter or boat for their work shifts, also called a tour. If they arrive by boat they are hoisted up by a personnel basket called a Billy Pugh Personnel Basket (pic) named after the inventor. The crane will hoist them from the boat to the rig’s pipe deck, over 100 feet high. Workers stand on the outside of the Basket in the event the crane cable breaks they can jump off the basket and avoid becoming entangled in the ropes
How Do They Know Where To Drill
Knowing where to drill has been the question since the dawn of the first discovery of oil in 600 B.C. After Colonel Drake discovered oil in Pennsylvania in 1859 and then the Spindletop discovery in Texas on 1901, the question of where to drill has prevailed to this day. Even with all of the new technology and seismological advances Geologists and Geophysicists use to search for the best place to drill, the only way to really know if oil exists is to drill.
Touring The Rig
The Ocean Star Offshore Drill Rig has three floors to explore, as well as two outside areas for exploration. Throughout the interior you will be introduced to many different models showing different types of drilling like Directional Drilling, drilling bits like Roller-Cone and Polycrystalline Diamond Compact bits, or PDC, and a seascape with Jack-up Drilling Rigs, “Bullwinkle” Fixed Platform rigs, Floating Production Storage & Offloading Vessels, Floating Platforms, and Tension-Leg Platform.
As you exit the second floor you will step onto the Pipe Deck (pic) which is used to store drill pipe while not in the well. Equipment like the Christmas Tree, the assembly of control valves, pressure gauges, and chokes located at the top of the well, the Cementing Unit, a high pressure unit used to pump cement into the well after completion to seal the space between the casing and borehole wall, and the Blow Out Preventer, BOP, which can be closed against an increase in pressure.
When you exit the third floor you will walk across the platform the derrick draws your eye (pic). Here you will find the Rotary or Kelly Hose, Kelly Bushing, Traveling Block, Monkey Board, Power Tongs, Drill Bits, and other equipment used in daily drill operations. You will also see the Doghouse or Driller’s Cabin, where the driller operates the drilling and hoisting equipment and monitors the condition of the well and down-hole tools.
Life on the Rig
Rig workers can spend up to 30 days working on the rig, which can take a toll on even the strongest person. While working rigs are loaded with top notch caterers preparing high-quality meals around the clock for the rig workers. Both rig crew and caterers work 12 hour shifts and meals are served every six hours, four times a day.
On the second Saturday of every month from 10:00am to 3:00pm, the Ocean Star celebrates Family Day. Each Family Day focuses on a different theme that relates to the oil and gas industry. The information is presented at a student’s level using hands-on activities or experiments. We encourage parents to bring their children aboard and experience family-learning and quality time at a reduced cost. Children under 18 years of age are admitted FREE with a paying chaperone. Check out our Events Calendar or our Facebook Page to see what this month’s activity will be! Please note: This special discount is designed for individual ticket sales and not meant to be combined with guided group tours or other museum programs.
The Ocean Star Museum provides scouts the unique opportunity to meet some of the requirements for various levels of Scout Energy and Earth Science projects onboard a retired drilling rig. Workshops are available on a case-by-case basis, as requested by scout troops. We require a minimum of 10 scouts per workshop and reservations must be made at least 2 weeks in advance. The cost is $15/Scout and $8/Chaperone. We also provide additional options for Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Come stay the night aboard the rig! We offer our Overnight Program for any type of scout, school, or organized youth group. The base price is $750 and that is for a minimum of 17 people (adults and youth combined). Each additional person after the initial 17 will be $45, with a maximum of up to 25 people. We do require a contract and deposit in advance and at least one month’s advance notice. We reserve the Overnight Program on a Friday or Saturday night, depending on availability. Please note: This program is not a Scout-specific program, and we do not do badge related scout activities during the overnight. The activities are designed for people aged 8 – 14 years old, and no one under the age of 6 is allowed to participate in the overnight program.
This booklet contains sixteen pages of interactive activities and games that relate to various exhibits on and around the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum. It not only provides a record of the child’s visit but engages them to find answers and encourages family communication. These are available to all youth at the museum or click here to download a PDF copy.
Explore the museum on the road or from the comfort of your own home with our STREAM Packets. With hands-on activities and lessons correlated directly to the Museum Guidebook, learn all about the oil and gas industry in this fun and STREAM-oriented way. Our K-5 and Grades 6-8 packets have been curated to focus on objectives and concepts specific to each age group. To purchase a STREAM Packet with Museum Guidebook, please click here.
Add another layer of fun (and competition?) to your tour of the Ocean Star with this Selfie Scavenger Hunt. While exploring the museum, read the clues for some specific items throughout the three indoor levels and two outdoor decks, take a selfie (or group photo) with what you think is the right answer, then check to see how many you got correct! Share your photos on social media using #OceanStarSelfies!
Download the Selfie Scavenger Hunt here.
Download the Answer Key here.