Transcript: Ep. 10 -The Perdido Oil Rig | Apr 17, 2019


(music plays)

Fast clips show images of massive modern engineering structures around the world.

The narrator says FROM THE PLANET'S
MOST STUNNING STATE-OF-THE-ART
STRUCTURES...

A bearded man says LOOKING BACK DOWN ON THIS
RIDE, THIS IS DEFINITELY
SOMETHING SPECIAL.

A woman in Antarctica says THEY SUDDENLY APPEAR ON THE
HORIZON AND YOU THINK, "WOW,
I LIVE THERE."

The narrator says TO ITS MIGHTIEST MODERN
MACHINES.

On a boat, a man says AS FAR AS WARSHIP GOES,
I AM SAILING A SHIP THAT'S
UNPRECEDENTED.

The narrator says NONE WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE
WITHOUT THE GROUND-BREAKING
INNOVATORS OF THE PAST.

On a boat, says HERE WE GO.
YES!
IF THESE ENGINES WERE TO CUT
OUT, THIS BOAT WOULD BE IN
SERIOUS TROUBLE.

On a rollercoaster, a man says OH!
WOW, FOR A HUNDRED YEARS OLD,
IT STILL REALLY PACKS A PUNCH!

The narrator says IN THIS EPISODE, THE WORLD'S
DEEPEST PRODUCTION AND DRILLING
PLATFORM.

Ob a boat, a bearded man says WHAT WE DO IS LIKE THE SPACE
PROGRAM IN THE OTHER DIRECTION.

The narrator says PUSHING ENGINEERING FRONTIERS
FURTHER THAN EVER BEFORE.

A man with gray hair says THESE MACHINES COULD EASILY
WORK AT 10,000-FOOT DEPTHS
OR GREATER.

The narrator says AND THE GROUND-BREAKING
INNOVATORS OF THE PAST...

Inside a boat, a man says WHAT ONCE WAS THE WALL HAS
NOW BECOME THE FLOOR.

A man holding two blowing torcher says SO, THE INTUMESCENT PAINT NOW
IS CHARRING DUE TO A CHEMICAL
REACTION.

The narrator says THAT MADE THE IMPOSSIBLE
POSSIBLE.

(music plays)

The title slate appears. It looks like a piece of graphing paper full of equations and sketches of an airplane, skyscraper, and monorail. The title reads "Impossible Engineering."

Clips show images of a drilling platform in the middle of the ocean.

The narrator says SINCE THE 1940S, THE GULF
OF MEXICO HAS PROVIDED A VITAL
SOURCE OF ENERGY FOR THE U.S.
ALMOST TWO MILLION BARRELS OF
LIQUID FUEL ARE PRODUCED THERE
A DAY, AND ALMOST HALF OF THE
COUNTRY'S ENTIRE PETROLEUM
REFINING CAPACITY IS ON THE
GULF COAST.

A caption reads "Donal Rajasingam. General Manager. Shell Deepwater Gulf of Mexico West."

Donal is in his late forties, with short wavy brown hair and a graying beard. He wears glasses, a white shirt and a life jacket.

He says THE IMPORTANCE OF OIL AND
GAS IN THE WORLD ECONOMY IS
PARAMOUNT.
I MEAN, ENERGY MAKES THE WORLD
GO AROUND.
EVER SINCE THE INVENTION OF
FIRE, THAT'S WHAT'S DRIVEN OUR
CIVILIZATION AND OUR ECONOMIES
FORWARD.
YOU KNOW, WE'RE GOING TO
TRANSITION TO WHATEVER THE FUELS
OF THE FUTURE ARE.
BUT IN THE MEANTIME, OIL AND
GAS IS A BRIDGE TO THOSE NEW
TECHNOLOGIES AND KEEPS US MOVING
FORWARD AS A HUMAN RACE.

The narrator says AS THE SEARCH FOR FUEL IN
THE GULF OF MEXICO EXTENDS EVER
FURTHER AND EVER DEEPER,
ENGINEERS FACE THEIR
BIGGEST-EVER TEST.

Donal says THE CHALLENGE OF ACCESSING
DEEP WATER RESERVES GETS HARDER
AND HARDER.
WE'RE EXHAUSTING THE SUPPLY, OR
ACCESS TO THE EASY BARRELS,
AND WITH EVERY NEW DISCOVERY
AND DEVELOPMENT, IT GETS MORE
CHALLENGING AND IT GETS DEEPER.
THAT'S WHAT CAUSES US TO PUSH
THE FRONTIERS OF TECHNOLOGY.

The narrator says 300 KILOMETRES FROM SHORE
AT THE VANGUARD OF THAT
ENGINEERING INNOVATION IS THE
PERDIDO.
THE DEEPEST PRODUCTION AND
DRILLING FACILITY IN THE WORLD.
A 3 BILLION DOLLAR ENGINEERING
COLOSSUS.

Donal says THE STRUCTURE ITSELF STANDS
AS TALL AS THE EIFFEL TOWER,
FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE SPIRE ALL
THE WAY UP TO THE TOP OF THE
DRILLING RIG, AND IT'S FLOATING
THERE IN 8000 FEET OF WATER,
DESIGNED TO ACCOMMODATE
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS.
WHAT WE CALL THE 1000-YEAR
STORM.
TO GIVE YOU A SENSE OF HOW
MUCH PERDIDO CONTRIBUTES, ONE
DAY'S PRODUCTION FROM PERDIDO
CAN POWER 500 CARS FOR 15 YEARS.

The narrator says AT 55,000 TONS, THE WORLD'S
LARGEST FLOATING PRODUCTION
AND DRILLING STRUCTURE IS
ANCHORED TO THE SEABED BY
NINE THREE-KILOMETRE-LONG STEEL
AND POLYESTER MOORING LINES,
WHERE OIL AND GAS FROM 35 NEWLY
DISCOVERED WELLS, SOME AS FAR
AS 11 KILOMETRES AWAY FROM
THE PLATFORM, IS PUMPED TO
THE SURFACE.
A 170-METRE-LONG,
36-METRE-DIAMETER FLOATING
SPAR PROVIDES THE BASE FOR THE
THREE DECKS WHERE THE OIL AND
GAS ARE PROCESSED.
THERE'S SPACE FOR TWO
HELICOPTERS, A RESTAURANT,
FITNESS ROOM AND CABINS TO
HOUSE THE CREW OF 150-PLUS
THAT LIVE AND WORK ON THE
RECORD-BREAKING PLATFORM FOR
14 DAYS AT A TIME.
IT'S AN ENGINEERING
ACHIEVEMENT ONCE THOUGHT
IMPOSSIBLE.

The caption changes to "Chris Smith. Initial Perdido Operations Manager."

Chris is in his late forties, clean-shaven and with short gray hair. He wears a blue Polo T-shirt.

He says YOU ARE GOING INTO A FRONTIER
AREA IN WHAT WE CALL THE
"ULTRA-DEEP" WATER.
WE ARE GOING INTO RESERVOIRS
THAT HAVE NOT TRULY BEEN TESTED
BEFORE, IN NEW PLAYS FOR THE OIL
AND GAS INDUSTRY IN THE GULF
OF MEXICO.
YOU ARE GOING INTO ONE OF THE
MOST SEVERE ENVIRONMENTAL
CONDITIONS, AS YOU CAN IMAGINE,
IN 7800 FEET OF WATER.

The narrator says MAKING PERDIDO POSSIBLE WOULD
TAKE A GIANT TECHNOLOGICAL
LEAP.
OIL AND GAS FIELDS WOULDN'T
EXIST WITHOUT THE DEATH OF TINY
PLANTS AND CREATURES.

An animation shows sea creatures attending another creature's funeral.

(CREATURES COUGHING, GAGGING)

Then suddenly all the creatures cough and die.

The narrator says WHILE DINOSAURS ROAMED
THE EARTH, GAZILLIONS OF DEAD
PLANKTON AND ALGAE BUILT UP
ON THE SEABED...

A dinosaur says OH, CRIKEY!

A meteorite crashes on the dinosaur.

The narrator says BEFORE A CRUST OF ROCK
FORMED OVER THE TOP.
MILLIONS OF YEARS OF PRESSURE
AND THE EARTH'S HEAT
ESSENTIALLY COOKED THIS INTO
AN ENERGY-RICH SOUP.
BUT GETTING TO IT UNDER THE
WATER ISN'T ALWAYS EASY.

(music plays)

The narrator says OPERATING AT A NEVER BEFORE
ATTEMPTED ALMOST 2500-METRE
DEPTH MEANT IT WOULD BE
IMPOSSIBLE FOR PERDIDO TO HAVE
LEGS LIKE A STANDARD OIL RIG.

Donal says THE REASON WE COULDN'T USE
A CONVENTIONAL TENSION LEG
PLATFORM WAS BECAUSE THE WATER
DEPTH WAS SO GREAT THAT THOSE
TENSION LEGS WOULD BE TOO HEAVY
FOR ANY STRUCTURE TO BE ABLE
TO SUPPORT.

The narrator says TO FIND A FUTURISTIC
SOLUTION, PERDIDO'S DESIGNERS
WOULD HAVE TO DRAW ON
TECHNOLOGY PIONEERED IN THE
PAST.

(music plays)

The narrator says A CLUE TO HOW THE PERDIDO
TEAM HAVE CONQUERED THE DEEP
CAN BE FOUND IN SAN DIEGO,
CALIFORNIA.
MECHANICAL ENGINEER DAN
DICKRELL IS GETTING A RARE
OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE ONE OF
HISTORY'S MOST UNIQUE VESSELS.

The caption changes to "Daniel Dickrell. Mechanical Engineer."

Daniel is in his thirties, with short brown hair and a beard. He wears black trousers and a black T-shirt.

Daniel says IN THE EARLY 1960S, THE U.S.
NAVY WAS LOOKING FOR A NEW TYPE
OF RESEARCH PLATFORM FROM WHICH
TO TAKE PRECISE UNDERWATER
ACOUSTIC MEASUREMENTS.
NOW, THE SUBMARINES THEY'D
BEEN USING PREVIOUSLY WERE
DEEMED UNSTABLE DUE TO THEIR
SHAPE.
THEY WOULD YAW ON THE WATER,
MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE
SCIENTISTS ON BOARD TO TAKE
THE PRECISE MEASUREMENTS THEY
NEEDED.

The narrator says OCEANOGRAPHER AND UNDERWATER
EXPLORER FRED SPIESS WAS THE
MAN TASKED WITH COMING UP
WITH A SOLUTION.

Daniel says AFTER MONTHS OF TESTING
VARIOUS DESIGNS, SPIESS AND HIS
TEAM CAME UP WITH THIS, THE
R/P FLIP, A FLOATING INSTRUMENT
PLATFORM.

The narrator says BUT FLIP EARNS ITS NAME IN
ANOTHER QUITE EXTRAORDINARY
WAY.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, FLIP IS
NOT SINKING.

Daniel says IT'S ONE OF A KIND,
A 108-METRE-LONG SPAR BUOY
THAT CAN GO FROM HORIZONTAL TO
VERTICAL IN AROUND 30 MINUTES.
IT'S SUCH A COOL PIECE OF
ENGINEERING.

The narrator says FIRST, THE PLATFORM IS TOWED
TO WHERE IT WILL OPERATE.

Daniel says DURING THE FLIP ITSELF,
EVERYONE COMES AND STANDS OUT
ON THE OUTSIDE DECKS.
AS THE PROCESS OCCURS, THE
DECKS AND THE BULKHEADS EXCHANGE
PLACES THROUGHOUT THE HORIZONTAL
TO VERTICAL TRANSFORMATION.

Daniel walks in a room and says MOST ROOMS ON BOARD HAVE TWO
DOORS.
ONE, HORIZONTAL ORIENTATION,
AND ANOTHER DOOR FOR THE
VERTICAL ORIENTATION OF THE
PLATFORM.
NOW, IN THE CONFIGURATION IT
IS RIGHT NOW, WE'RE IN THE
HORIZONTAL POSITION.
AND IMAGINE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
THE FLIP OCCURS.
WHAT ONCE WAS THE WALL HAS NOW
BECOME THE FLOOR.
AND WHAT ONCE WAS THE FLOOR
HAS NOW BECOME THE WALL.

The narrator says EVERYTHING ON THE FLIP IS
DESIGNED IN TWO CONFIGURATIONS.

Daniel says LOOK AT THIS.
IT'S A SINK.
IT'S A BATHROOM SINK, BUT...
IT PIVOTS.
HOW BIZARRE IS THAT?

The narrator says FROM ROTATING CONDIMENT RACKS
IN THE GALLEY, TO TABLES ON
THE WALLS.

Daniel says TO MAINTAIN ITS STABLE
POSITION IN THE HORIZONTAL,
THERE ARE HUGE CONCRETE BLOCKS
UNDERNEATH WHAT IS NOW THE
FLOOR.
BUT WHEN IT'S TIME TO CHANGE
AND FLIP FROM HORIZONTAL TO
VERTICAL, TONS OF SEAWATER ARE
PUMPED INTO THOSE BALLAST
CHAMBERS SLOWLY, AND IT CHANGES
FROM HORIZONTAL TO PERFECTLY
VERTICAL.
IT'S SO COOL.

The narrator says THE SCIENCE BEHIND FLIP IS
AS SIMPLE AS IT GETS.

Daniel holds a plastic bottle over a tank filled with water and says THE GENIUS BEHIND HOW THE
FLIP OPERATES IS ITS ABILITY
TO SINK IN A CONTROLLED FASHION.
HERE, I HAVE A PLASTIC BOTTLE
THAT'S GOING TO REPRESENT
THE FLIP.
NOW, I'VE TAPED SOME WASHERS
AT THE BOTTOM TO HELP WITH
STABILITY WHEN WE MAKE THE
TRANSITION FROM HORIZONTAL
TO VERTICAL.
IF I PLACE IT IN THE WATER,
WE CAN SEE IT FLOATS IN A
HORIZONTAL CONFIGURATION,
AS WE WOULD EXPECT.
AS I FILL THE BOTTLE WITH
WATER, WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO
IS GONNA HAVE A TRANSITION
FROM HORIZONTAL TO VERTICAL.

The narrator says WHEN FLIPPED VERTICALLY,
AMAZING STABILITY IS PROVIDED
BY THE 700 TONS OF WATER
BALLAST IN THE LONG SPAR
SITTING BELOW THE SURFACE.
IT'S SO STEADY THAT FLIP IS
CAPABLE OF DEALING WITH SWELLS
UP TO 25 METRES HIGH.
AND TO ROTATE BACK TO THE
HORIZONTAL, COMPRESSED AIR IS
SIMPLY USED TO FORCE THE WATER
OUT, TURNING THE PLATFORM BACK
INTO A MORE FAMILIAR SHIP MODE.

Daniel says THESE HUGE GENERATORS CAN
ALSO PIVOT BY DESIGN.

The narrator says IT'S TESTAMENT TO THE
BRILLIANT DESIGNER FRED SPIESS
THAT THIS AMAZING RESEARCH
VESSEL...

Daniel says THIS IS LIKE BEING IN
A CARNIVAL FUN HOUSE.

The narrator says IS STILL IN USE MORE
THAN HALF A CENTURY AFTER IT
WAS LAUNCHED.
(LAUGHING)

Daniel climbs down a ladder horizontally and says OH, THIS PLATFORM IS TOO
CRAZY.

(music plays)

The narrator says IN ORDER TO CREATE A STABLE
PLATFORM AND DEPTH OF NEARLY
2500 METRES, PERDIDO'S
ENGINEERS TAKE THE PRINCIPLE
BEHIND THE FLIP, AND IN 2006
IN FINLAND, BEGIN BUILDING
THE WORLD'S BIGGEST FLOATING
SPAR.

Chris says THE SPAR ITSELF IS
CONSTRUCTED QUITE INGENIOUSLY.
IT'S DONE IN SLICES.
YOU CUT IT INTO SLICES.
AND IT'S FROM THE TOP OF IT
INTO THE CAN SECTION, AND
IN THE TRUSS SECTION, YOU DO.
AND THEN, IT'S WELDED TOGETHER
SLICE BY SLICE.

The narrator says EACH OF THE SEVEN RING
SECTIONS HAS 12 COMPARTMENTS,
EACH SELF-CONTAINED, SO IF
DISASTER STRIKES AND A
COMPARTMENT IS PUNCTURED, THEN
ONLY THAT COMPARTMENT WOULD
TAKE ON WATER.
ON THE END OF THE GIANT
CAN-LIKE SECTION, AN OPEN
TRUSS OF PIPEWORKS AND BALLAST
AREA IS ADDED TO COMPLETE
THE UNPRECEDENTED STRUCTURE.

Chris says PERDIDO'S SPAR IS ABOUT 550
FEET.
IN DIAMETER, IT'S 118 FEET.

The narrator says IN 2008, THE SPAR IS
DELIVERED TO THE PERDIDO'S SITE
IN THE GULF OF MEXICO.

The caption changes to "Dale Snyder. Initial Periodo Project Manager, Shell."

Dale is in his thirties and wears black trousers, a red Polo T-shirt and protective goggles and hat.

Dale says IT'S A KEY MILESTONE FOR US
BECAUSE THE SPAR'S ACTUALLY
IN ITS MOST VULNERABLE POSITION
WHEN IT'S FLOATING HORIZONTALLY.
SO, AS SOON AS WE CAN GET IT UP
TO THE VERTICAL POSITION, THEN
IT'S IN THE POSITION THAT IT'S
DESIGNED TO OPERATE IN, AND IT
CAN WITHSTAND STORMS BETTER.

The narrator says PLUGS ARE PULLED TO LET IN
SEAWATER, AND THEN LIKE FRED
SPIESS' FLIP SHIP, THE SPAR
SLOWLY BEGINS THE PROCESS
OF SWITCHING HORIZONTAL
TO VERTICAL.

Chris says SO, THEY ALSO PUMP WATER
INTO THE TANKS INSIDE THE CAN
SECTION, AND THAT LOWERS IT TO
GIVE IT THAT STABILITY TO ALLOW
THE PITCH AND THE ROLL TO
STABILIZE.

The narrator says ONCE UPENDED, THE SPAR MUST
BE SECURED AS STORMS, OR
SO-CALLED TROPICAL
DISTURBANCES, ARE ON THEIR WAY.

The caption changes to "Keith Smith. Transportation and Installation Project Leader, Shell."

Keith is in his forties, with short gray hair and wears an off white shirt, sunglasses and a hard hat.

He says WE HAVE A LONG DURATION,
RELATIVELY LONG DURATION BEFORE
WE CAN GET THIS STORM-SAFE.
THE FIRST DISTURBANCE IS
PREDICTED TO BE HERE WITHIN
ABOUT SEVEN TO EIGHT DAYS.

The narrator says NINE SUPERSIZED MOORING LINES
MUST TETHER THE FLOATING SPAR
TO THE SEABED, A TOTAL OF MORE
THAN 30 KILOMETRES OF CHAIN
AND ROPE.

Donal says SO, WHAT WE DO IN ORDER TO
SECURE THE STRUCTURE FLOATING
ON THE SURFACE IS WE CONNECT THE
SUCTION ANCHORS ON THE SEA FLOOR
WITH TWO MILE-LONG, HUGE
POLYESTER MOORING LINES ABOUT
25 INCHES THICK.
AND ABOUT 300 METRES OF MASSIVE
STEEL CHAINS ON EITHER SIDE
OF THE MOORING LINE.

The narrator says FOR MAXIMUM PROTECTION FROM
STORMS, THE LINES FAN OUT
FOR MORE THAN TWO-AND-A-HALF
KILOMETRES AROUND THE SPAR.

Chris says NOW, IT'S STILL SITTING
PRETTY HIGH IN THE WATER, SO
THEY PUT A WEIGHT IN THE BOTTOM.
ESSENTIALLY IRON ORE, THEY PUMP
INTO A TANK AT THE BOTTOM OF
THAT TRUSS SECTION SO YOU HAVE
A LOT OF WEIGHT AT THE BOTTOM
TANK.

The narrator says WITH THE ADDITIONAL WEIGHT
AND THE MOORING LINES, THE SPAR
IS STORM-SAFE.

(music plays)

The narrator says BUT THIS IS MERELY THE
BEGINNING OF THE PROCESS
OF CREATING THE WORLD'S DEEPEST
PRODUCTION AND DRILLING
FACILITY.

Donal says IT WAS CRITICAL TO GET THE
TOP SIDES TO BE A CERTAIN WEIGHT
BECAUSE WE WANTED TO DO THE TOP
SIDE'S INSTALLATION WITH A
SINGLE LID.

The narrator says AND ITS ENGINEERS WILL NEED
TO DRAW FROM MORE BRILLIANT
HISTORICAL BREAKTHROUGHS...

A bearded man looks at a robotic arm and says OH, LOOK, THERE'S ANOTHER ARM
RIGHT THERE.
I COULD USE BOTH OF THEM.
(LAUGHING)
IT'S LIKE RIGHT OUT OF SOME
CYBORG THING.
WHOA!
IT'S MAKING NOISES.

The narrator says TO DELIVER THEIR
RECORD-BREAKING FEAT
OF IMPOSSIBLE ENGINEERING.

(music plays)

The narrator says 300 KILOMETRES OFF
THE TEXAS COASTLINE IN THE GULF
OF MEXICO, THE PERDIDO PLATFORM
MARKS A NEW FRONTIER IN
ULTRA-DEEP WATER OPERATIONS.
MOORED IN WATERS NEARLY
TWO-AND-A-HALF KILOMETRES DEEP,
THE RIG EXTRACTS OIL FROM 35
WELLS ACROSS THREE BRAND-NEW
OIL FIELDS, PRODUCING 100,000
BARRELS OF OIL EACH DAY.
CREATING A RIG LIKE THIS CALLS
FOR DARING ENGINEERING.
HAVING ANCHORED THE WORLD'S
BIGGEST SPAR, THE NEXT STEP IS
FITTING THE ALL-IMPORTANT
TOPSIDE.

Donal says WHAT WE CALL THE TOPSIDES IS
ALL OF THE EQUIPMENT THAT SITS
ON THE STRUCTURE IN THE WATER
AND ALLOWS US TO PRODUCE THE OIL
AND GAS.
IT WAS CRITICAL TO GET THE
TOPSIDES TO BE A CERTAIN WEIGHT
BECAUSE WE WANTED TO DO THE
TOPSIDES INSTALLATION WITH A
SINGLE LIFT, IN THE INTEREST OF
DOING IT EFFICIENTLY AND SAFELY.

The narrator says TRADITIONALLY, THESE
MULTI-STORY MEGA PLANTS ARE
ASSEMBLED AT SEA, BUT A
LOCATION AS REMOTE AS
PERDIDO'S CALLS FOR A
DIFFERENT SOLUTION.

Chris says TOPSIDES WERE CONSTRUCTED IN
INGLESIDE, TEXAS, AND THEY WERE
DONE ONE LAYER AT A TIME.
LIKE A BIRTHDAY CAKE, THERE
ARE THREE LAYERS ON THE DECK
OF PERDIDO.
ALL THAT WAS DONE IN THE
CONSTRUCTION YARD, AND THEN YOU
HAD A HEAVY LIFTING DEVICE
THAT TOOK THAT ENTIRE THREE-DECK
LAYER AND PUT IT ON A BARGE
AND SHIPPED IT OFFSHORE.

The narrator says WITH THE FINAL WEIGHT
REMARKABLY UNDER 10,000 TONS,
IN AUGUST 2008, THE TOPSIDE
BEGINS ITS JOURNEY DEEP INTO
THE GULF OF MEXICO, WHERE THE
GIANT CRANE VESSEL, THE
THIALF,
IS WAITING TO BEGIN
THE BIGGEST SINGLE LIFT EVER
ATTEMPTED IN THE GULF OF
MEXICO.
AFTER FIVE YEARS OF
CONSTRUCTION, THIS WAS THE
MOMENT OF TRUTH, COMBINING BOTH
SPAR AND TOPSIDE.

Chris says REMEMBER, THESE THINGS, THEY
ARE BUILT SEPARATELY.
ONE IN FINLAND AND ONE IN TEXAS,
AND ALL BY MEASUREMENTS, AND
ALL OF A SUDDEN, THIS IS THE
FIRST TIME THESE THINGS BETTER
MEET TOGETHER.
AND THERE'S A LOT OF VERY
ANXIOUS MOMENTS AS THAT CRANE
IS LIFTING THAT TOPSIDES ONTO
THAT HOLE.

The narrator says AS THE LIFT BEGINS,
THE TOPSIDES ARE PIVOTED INTO
POSITION...
FITTING PERFECTLY.

Chris says TO SEE THOSE PINS GO IN,
IT'S A WONDERFUL FEELING.

The narrator says AND THE SPAR SETTLES INTO
ITS NEW DRAFT.
WITH THIS MAMMOTH MILESTONE
COMPLETE, THE PERDIDO TEAM MUST
FOCUS ON INSTALLING PRODUCTION
EQUIPMENT ON THE SEA BED.
BUT NEARLY 2500 METRES BELOW
THE SURFACE, WITH A TERRAIN
RESEMBLING A MOUNTAIN RANGE,
IT IS A SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE
WORKING ENVIRONMENT.

The caption changes to "Paul Mendel. Manager, RTC."

Paul is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short wavy white hair. He wears a yellow Polo T-shirt.

He says THE CONDITIONS OF THE WATER
DEPTH AT PERDIDO IS 7800 FEET OF
WATER, IT'S AN EXTREME AMOUNT
OF PRESSURE.
IN ADDITION TO THAT, IT'S
REALLY, REALLY COLD DOWN THERE.
SO, YOU'RE TALKING TEMPERATURES
IN THE ORDER OF 38 DEGREES
FAHRENHEIT, SO VERY, VERY COLD
AND THERE'S NO LIGHT.
IT'S VERY HOSTILE CONDITIONS
IN TERMS OF THE PRESSURE THAT
WE HAVE DOWN THERE.

The narrator says WITH SOPHISTICATED DEEP-SEA
HARDWARE NEEDED ON THE SEA BED,
PHYSICALLY INTERACTING WITH IT
IS IMPOSSIBLE.

Paul says YOU JUST CAN'T GET PEOPLE
DOWN THERE, YET A CONSIDERABLE
AMOUNT OF WORK HAS TO STILL
BE DONE AT THESE WATER DEPTHS.

The narrator says IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE EVEN
FISH STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE, HOW
DO YOU CARRY OUT SOME OF THE
MOST ADVANCED ENGINEERING WORK
ON THE PLANET?
IT'S A PROBLEM THAT REQUIRES
ANOTHER INGENIOUS INNOVATION
FROM THE PAST.
1950S AMERICA WAS AT THE
FOREFRONT OF DEVELOPING NUCLEAR
POWER FOR PEACETIME USE.
CRUCIAL TO THIS MOVEMENT WAS
CHICAGO'S VAST ARGONNE NATIONAL
LABORATORY.
WITH SPECIAL ACCESS, PROFESSOR
ERIC LIMA HAS TAKEN TO THREE
WHEELS TO EXPLORE THIS
EXTRAORDINARY 1500-ACRE SITE.

Eric is in his forties, with short graying hair and a beard. He wears glasses, jeans, a white shirt, a striped blue tie and a blue blazer.

He rides a bike inside the premises.

He says IT'S VERY COOL.

The narrator says DISCOVERING HOW THIS ERA
OF HAZARDOUS RESEARCH SPAWNED
A GAME-CHANGING INNOVATION.

The caption changes to "Eric Lima. Associate Professor, The Cooper Union."

He says THIS ABSOLUTELY ENORMOUS
LABORATORY WAS USED TO TEST THE
ACTUAL MATERIALS COMING OUT
OF THE REACTORS.
NOW, OF COURSE, THOSE MATERIALS
ARE HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE, SO HOW
COULD TECHNICIANS MANIPULATE
THOSE MATERIALS WITHOUT EXPOSING
THEMSELVES TO RADIOACTIVE
CONTAMINATION?
THAT WAS A CHALLENGE.

The narrator says TOXIC SUBSTANCES WERE
INITIALLY HANDLED THROUGH
SEALED GLOVE BOXES, BUT EVEN
THESE POSED SAFETY CONCERNS.
TO FURTHER DISTANCE
SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS DREW ON
A CENTURIES-OLD TECHNIQUE BASED
AROUND A DEVICE KNOWN AS
A PANTOGRAPH.

He uses a pantograph and says THE PRINCIPLE IS A
MASTER-SLAVE RELATIONSHIP.
NOW, THIS WAS DEVELOPED IN
THE 1600S, AND WHAT HAPPENS IS
ANY MOVEMENT OF THE MASTER PEN
IS TRANSFERRED ALONG THE WOOD
TO THE SLAVE PEN.
AND SO, YOU CAN TRACE DIAGRAMS
LIKE I'M ABOUT TO DO WITH THIS
RADIOACTIVE SYMBOL, AND THAT
TRACING CAN ACTUALLY BE
AMPLIFIED.
AND SO HERE IT IS, THE ORIGINAL
AND THE DRAWING.

The narrator says USING THIS PRINCIPLE, EARLY
MECHANICAL MASTER-SLAVE
MANIPULATORS, MSMS, ALLOWED
TECHNICIANS TO TRANSFER BASIC
MOVEMENTS TO A SECOND ARM FROM
BEHIND THE SAFETY OF A GLASS
WALL.
BUT THEIR DEXTERITY AND
STRENGTH WAS STILL LIMITED.
IN 1954, ENGINEER RAYMOND
GOERTZ LOOKED BEYOND THE PURELY
MECHANICAL, ADDING A MOTOR
TO EACH ARM CONNECTED BY AN
ELECTRIC CABLE.

Eric manipulates a mechanical arm and says AND SO, WHAT THEY WOULD USE
ARE THESE INCREDIBLE ARMS,
AND THIS IS REALLY COOL.
LOOK AT THIS.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT GLASS,
IT DOES EXACTLY WHAT I DO.
AND NOT ONLY DOES IT MOVE BACK
AND FORTH, IN AND OUT, BUT
CHECK THIS OUT.
LOOK AT THIS.
THAT ARM RIGHT IN THERE
EXACTLY MIMICS MY ACTIONS.
COOL.
AND THEN, IT'S ACTUALLY A FORCE
MULTIPLIER.
SO, I COULD PICK UP SOMETHING
VERY HEAVY JUST LIKE I WAS
GRIPPING IT WITH MY HAND,
AND MOVE IT OVER.
WHOA, LOOK.
THERE'S ANOTHER ARM OVER THERE.
I COULD USE BOTH OF THEM.
(LAUGHING)
IT'S LIKE RIGHT OUT OF SOME
CYBORG THING.
WHOA, IT'S MAKING NOISES!
THAT'S THE SERVO MOTORS UP
THERE.

The narrator says THE MOTORS NOT ONLY
MULTIPLIED FORCE.
THEY ALSO ALLOWED THE OPERATOR
FEEL THE MOVEMENTS.
IMPROVED PRECISION WAS
MATCHED BY GREATER FLEXIBILITY,
AND THE ELECTRICAL CABLE
CONNECTION ALLOWED ENGINEERS
TO SEPARATE THE MASTER AND
SLAVE ARMS.

Eric says GOERTZ WAS ABLE TO DE-COUPLE
THE ARMS, AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS
THEY CAN BE AS FAR APART AND
IN ANY LOCATION THAT WE WANT.
SO, WE COULD ACTUALLY HAVE THE
SLAVE ARM COMING UP FROM THE
FLOOR, OR COMING AT SOME WEIRD
ANGLE TO GET US RIGHT WHERE
WE WANT IT TO GO.

The narrator says OVER THE FOLLOWING DECADES,
GOERTZ'S REMOTE TECHNOLOGY WAS
FURTHER FINESSED, PRODUCING A
SERIES OF TELEMANIPULATORS
THAT COMBINE SAFETY...

Eric uses the arms to pour powders from one container to another and says OKAY.

The narrator says WITH ROBOTIC PRECISION
IF IN THE RIGHT HANDS.

Eric says HA HA!
WHOA!
AS YOU CAN SEE, IT'S NOT AS
EASY AS IT LOOKS.
(CHUCKLING)
SO, THANKS TO GOERTZ AND HIS
WORK, AND ARGONNE NATIONAL
LABORATORY DEVELOPING THESE
TELEMANIPULATORS, WE ARE ABLE
TO GO AS HUMANS IN PLACES
THAT WE'VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO GO
BEFORE.

The narrator says RESEMBLING A SCENE FROM
A SCI-FI NOVEL, ENGINEERS
AT PERDIDO ARE USING
TELEMANIPULATOR TECHNOLOGY
TO WORK AT DEPTHS THAT WERE
ONCE THOUGHT IMPOSSIBLE.
THIS FLEET OF REMOTE-OPERATED
VEHICLES, OR ROVS, SWEEP
THE OCEAN BED THAT LIES ALMOST
TWO-AND-A-HALF KILOMETRES
BENEATH THE PLATFORM.

Paul says THIS IS EXACTLY THE TYPE
OF ROV THAT WE WOULD USE
ON PERDIDO.
THIS IS A 1000-POUND THRUST
MACHINE.
ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS WE USE
THEM IS SIMPLY BECAUSE BELOW
ABOUT 600-FOOT WATER DEPTH, IT
GETS REALLY, REALLY DICEY.
REALLY, REALLY RISKY TO HAVE
HUMANS AT THOSE DEPTHS.
ENTER THE ROV.
THESE MACHINES CAN EASILY WORK
AT 10,000-FOOT WATER DEPTHS
OR GREATER, AND WE CAN ALWAYS
GET THEM BACK AND THEY NEVER
GET HURT.

The narrator says THESE SUB-AQUA ROBOTS ARE
EQUIPPED FOR SERIOUS WORK.

Paul says THESE ARE OUR HANDS THAT
ACTUALLY CONNECT AND ATTACH ALL
THE DIFFERENT EQUIPMENT WE NEED.
AND HERE IS OUR EYES.
THIS CAMERA IS A HIGH-DEFINITION
CAMERA.
IT'S HOW WE SEE WHAT WE HAVE
GOING ON DOWN THERE.

The narrator says A LEAP FORWARD FROM GOERTZ'S
TELEMANIPULATORS, THESE ROVS
CAN BE OPERATED VIA JOYSTICK
USING A FLY-BY WIRE SYSTEM THAT
ORIGINATES ON BOARD THE RIG.

Paul says THE WAY THESE MACHINES
OPERATE, THEY'RE ACTUALLY
TETHERED BACK TO PERDIDO,
THERE'S ACTUALLY AN UMBILICAL
LINE THAT RUNS THE ENTIRE WATER
DEPTH, ALL 7800 FEET.
AND FROM THERE, THERE'S AN
ADDITIONAL 600 FEET OR SO OF
UMBILICAL THAT ALLOWS ROV TO FLY
OUT ON EXCURSIONS AND MOVE ABOUT
THE WELL PATTERN TO GO FROM ONE
WELL TO THE NEXT.
SO, THEY CAN SURVEY THE ENTIRE
SUB-SEA SYSTEM.

The narrator says INSTALLATION, DRILLING, AND
MAINTENANCE CAN ALL BE ACHIEVED
REMOTELY, BUT THERE WAS ONE
ROV-DRIVEN TASK THAT WOULD BE
THE CROWNING GLORY OF PERDIDO'S
SUCCESS.

Chris says SO, YOU'RE 150 MILES OFFSHORE
OF THE COAST OF TEXAS, AND YOU
HAD TO GET THAT OIL AND GAS BACK
TO THE BEACH.
MOST OF THE OIL PIPELINES THAT
YOU HAVE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
START IN LESS THAN 5000 FEET
OF WATER DEPTH.
SO, WE HAD TO CONNECT FROM
PERDIDO'S LOCATION TO OIL
PIPELINES AND GAS PIPELINES THAT
ARE FURTHER UP IN THE SHALLOWER
WATER.

The narrator says CONNECTING TO A LIVE EXPORT
LINE AT THESE DEPTHS HAD NEVER
BEEN ATTEMPTED.
THE PIPE MUST BE CUT AND
CONNECTOR-INSTALLED WITH
MILLIMETRE PRECISION.
AND AT NEARLY 1500 METRES, IT
WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF HUMAN
REACH.
OVER A TWO-YEAR PERIOD, THE
PERDIDO TEAM DESIGNED AND
REHEARSED AN ROV-DRIVEN SYSTEM.
WHEN THEY EVENTUALLY MADE THE
ATTEMPT, IT WORKED PERFECTLY.

Chris says TO BE ABLE TO DO ALL THAT
WITH REMOTE-OPERATED VEHICLES,
AND THE WATER DEPTH THAT THEY
DID THAT AT PERDIDO WAS
WORLD-CLASS.
NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.

The narrator says THIS STATE-OF-THE-ART
SOLUTION IS OPENING UP THE
DEPTHS OF THE OCEANS, BUT TO
TAP INTO THE WORLD'S DEEPEST
OIL RESERVOIRS, PERDIDO'S
ENGINEERS WILL NEED TO LOOK
TO THE PAST...

A man opens an electrical panel attached to a tree and says THE MOMENT I FLIP THIS
SWITCH, SOMETHING VERY EXCITING
IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

The narrator says TO PRODUCE MORE IMPOSSIBLE
ENGINEERING.

(music plays)

The narrator says THE PERDIDO
PLATFORM IS THE DEEPEST
OFFSHORE PRODUCTION AND
DRILLING FACILITY EVER BUILT,
AND HAS PUSHED THE BOUNDARIES
OF OFFSHORE ENGINEERING.
THIS DEEP-SEA HUB HAS 22 WELLS
DIRECTLY UNDERNEATH ITS
STRUCTURE, AND ITS REACH IS
FAR GREATER.
A FURTHER 13 WELLS ACROSS
THREE OIL FIELDS, TRANSPORTING
CRUDE THROUGH NEARLY 300
KILOMETRES OF PIPELINE WEB.
BUT CREATING ULTRA-DEEP
OFFSHORE WELLS IS NO EASY TASK.

Chris says SO, WHEN YOU'RE OFFSHORE,
DRILLING'S A LITTLE BIT
DIFFERENT THAN IF YOU'RE ON
LAND.
IN PERDIDO'S WELLS, THE TOTAL
WELL DEPTH WAS SOMEWHERE
AROUND 17,000 FEET.
BUT ALMOST HALF OF THAT, 7800
FEET OF IT, WAS JUST THE WATER
COLUMN.

The narrator says NOT ONLY ARE THE RESERVOIRS
ULTRA-DEEP, THEY SIT IN A
PREVIOUSLY UNTAPPED ANCIENT
ROCK LAYER.

Donal says WE WERE PUSHING THE
BOUNDARIES OF NOT ONLY
TECHNOLOGY, BUT ACTUALLY A NEW
FRONTIER IN TERMS OF THE GEOLOGY
OF WHAT WE WERE TAPPING INTO,
AND THERE WAS A LOT OF
EXCITEMENT, UNCERTAINTY AROUND
HOW IT WAS GOING TO PRODUCE.

The narrator says EACH NEW WELL MUST BE DRILLED
WITH PRECISION, KEEPING THE
WATER OUT AND THE OIL IN, OR
THE PROJECT AND THE
ENVIRONMENT WILL BE
PERMANENTLY DAMAGED.
TO FIND A SOLUTION, ENGINEERS
MUST LOOK TO THE PIONEERS OF
THE PAST.

(music plays)

The narrator says ANDREW SMITH HAS COME TO
TITUSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA,
TO DISCOVER HOW ONE MAN'S
INSPIRATION PAVED THE WAY
TO BLACK GOLD.

The caption changes to "Andrew Smyth. Professor of Civil Engineering. Columbia University."

Andrew is in his thirties, clean-shaven and with short brown hair. He wears a black zip up jacket and a checker scarf.

He says THE MOMENT I FLIP THIS
SWITCH, SOMETHING VERY EXCITING
IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

A small drilling machine starts pumping oil.

Andrew says HERE IT COMES, YOU CAN SEE IT.
PENNSYLVANIA CRUDE.

The narrator says BEFORE THE MID-1800S, SALT
BRINE WAS THE AREA'S BIGGEST
COMMODITY, BUT EFFORTS TO
EXTRACT IT FROM THE GROUND WERE
BLIGHTED BY ANOTHER SUBSTANCE:
A SMELLY BLACK GOO.

Andrew says TO BEGIN WITH, OIL WAS
TOUTED AS A MEDICINAL PRODUCT
CAPABLE OF CURING BURNS,
CHOLERA, ASTHMA, INDIGESTION,
AND EVEN BLINDNESS.
BUT ITS SMELL AND ITS HEALING
PROPERTIES WERE QUESTIONABLE.
BUT THE REAL BREAKTHROUGH WAS
WHEN IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT OIL
COULD BE DISTILLED TO BURN AS
FUEL FOR LAMPS.

The narrator says SENSING A FORTUNE, ENGINEERS
NEEDED TO GET THE OIL OUT OF
THE GROUND FAST.

Andrew says IT WAS HERE IN THE SMALL TOWN
OF TITUSVILLE THAT THE HUNT FOR
OIL TOOK OFF AT A SCALE NEVER
BEFORE SEEN, AND ALL BECAUSE
OF ONE MAN'S SIMPLE INNOVATION.

The narrator says IN 1859, RAILWAY WORKER
EDWIN DRAKE GAMBLED HIS LIFE
SAVINGS ON A SMALL STAKE OF
THE NEWLY FORMED PENNSYLVANIA
ROCK AND OIL COMPANY.

Andrew says DRAKE, AS A STAKEHOLDER AND
NOW EMPLOYEE, WAS SENT HERE TO
THIS VERY SITE WHERE HE BEGAN
HIS SEARCH FOR OIL, BUT EARLY
ATTEMPTS WERE MET WITH MIXED
RESULTS.

He takes a plastic container filled with dirt and sand and starts sticking a pipe in.

He says SO, AT THE TIME, THE PRACTICE
IN DRILLING WAS TO USE SOMETHING
CALLED PERCUSSION DRILLING,
WHERE THE DRILL IS JUST HAMMERED
DOWN THROUGH THE SOIL UNTIL YOU
REACH YOUR OIL.

The narrator says DRAKE HAD SOME SUCCESS WITH
HIS TECHNIQUE, BUT TITUSVILLE'S
WATER-SODDEN GROUND WAS
SCUPPERING HIS PLANS.

Andrew says AS YOU WITHDREW THE DRILL,
THE PROBLEM WOULD BE THAT THE
WATER WOULD RUSH INTO THAT SPACE
AND CONTAMINATE THE OIL HE WAS
TRYING TO PUMP OUT.
TO OVERCOME THIS PROBLEM, DRAKE
AND HIS ASSISTANT BILLY SMITH
CAME UPON THE IDEA OF CONNECTING
LENGTHS OF CAST-IRON PIPE TO
ENCASE THE FRESHLY DUG HOLE,
PREVENTING THE INGRESS OF THE
WATER.

The narrator says WITH THE CAST-IRON PIPE IN
PLACE, THEY CONTINUED TO DRILL
THROUGH THIS NOW WATERTIGHT
SPACE, THROUGH THE GROUND, THE
BEDROCK, AND DOWN TO THE OIL
RESERVOIR.
AFTER DRILLING 69 FEET, THEY
WAITED.

Andrew says OVERNIGHT, IT HAPPENED.
CLEAN OIL HAD RISEN UP THROUGH
THE PIPE TO A POINT WHICH IT
COULD NOW BE COLLECTED.
DRAKE'S PLAN HAD WORKED.

The narrator says BY THE FOLLOWING YEAR, OIL
WELLS USING DRAKE'S INNOVATIVE
TECHNIQUE HAD SPRUNG UP ALL
OVER THE REGION, PRODUCING
SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND
BARRELS.

Andrew says THE NATION'S OIL BONANZA HAD
BEGUN, AND HUGE FORTUNES WOULD
BE MADE FROM WHAT WAS ONCE
A SMELLY GOO THAT WAS SIMPLY
A NUISANCE.

(music plays)

The narrator says IN ORDER TO DRILL TO
UNRIVALLED DEPTHS, PERDIDO'S
ENGINEERS HAVE TAKEN THE
PRINCIPLE OF DRAKE'S SYSTEM
350 KILOMETRES OFFSHORE.
AND LIKE THAT FIRST WELL IN
TITUSVILLE, ONE THING IS
CRUCIAL.

Chris says THE PROCESSES FOR DRILLING
ARE DESIGNED AROUND KEEPING
THE OIL IN THE PIPE.
SO, YOU START WITH BIG DIAMETER
PIPES AND AS YOU GO DEEPER, YOU
GET SMALLER AND SMALLER
CONCENTRIC SIZES OF PIPE.

The narrator says TO BEGIN, A HOLE IS DRILLED
FOR A CONDUCTOR PIPE.
ANOTHER DRILL THEN BORES A
FEW HUNDRED METRES BEFORE
A CASING PIPE IS INSTALLED.
THIS IS FOLLOWED BY A SMALLER
DRILL AND CASING, AND THE
PROCESS IS REPEATED UNTIL
THE RESERVOIR IS REACHED.
BUT WITH A SEA FLOOR IN PART
LIKE THE LANDSCAPE OF THE GRAND
CANYON, BEING ABLE TO HIT YOUR
TARGET WITH A DRILL IS NO EASY
TASK.

Donal says MOST OF THE LOCATIONS THAT WE
HAVE TO DRILL ARE QUITE FAR AWAY
FROM THE RIG, AND WE HAVE TO USE
DIRECTIONAL DRILLING TECHNIQUES
IN ORDER TO GET THERE.
THE SCALE THAT WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT TO BE ABLE TO LAND A WELL
IN THE PLACE, THE EXACT PLACE
THAT WE NEED IT, IF YOU WERE IN
A TYPICAL ROOM, THE THICKNESS OF
A HUMAN HAIR FROM THE CEILING
ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FLOOR
HITTING A SQUARE INCH IS THE
KIND OF ACCURACY THAT WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT.

The narrator says TO TAP RESERVOIRS SPREAD
ACROSS NEARLY 80 SQUARE
KILOMETRES OF SEA FLOOR,
GPS DRILLING MOTORS GUIDE THE
DRILL STRING WITHIN A FOOT OF
ITS TARGET.
IN ALL, 35 SEPARATE WELLS ARE
CREATED, FEEDING FIVE RISERS
LEADING UP TO THE RIG.
BUT FOR THE ENGINEERING TEAM,
PERHAPS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE
OF ALL IS LIFTING THE CRUDE
OIL UP THESE RISERS TO THE
SURFACE.

Paul says THE RESERVOIRS ARE LOW
PRESSURE, LOWER THAN YOU
NORMALLY WOULD FIND IN THE GULF
OF MEXICO.
THAT REQUIRED US TO ADD ENERGY
TO THE SYSTEM IN ORDER TO GET
THE PRODUCED FLUIDS UP TO THE
SURFACE.
TO DO THAT, WE HAD TO PUMP.
WE HAD TO USE ELECTRICAL,
SUBMERSIBLE PUMPS.
WELL, THESE PUMPS DON'T LIKE
GAS.

The narrator says NORMALLY, THE GAS, OIL,
AND WATER ARE SEPARATED ON THE
SURFACE, BUT TO BRING PERDIDO'S
OIL TO THE PLATFORM, ENGINEERS
MUST REMOVE THE GAS AT SOURCE,
TWO-AND-A-HALF KILOMETRES
BENEATH ON THE SEA BED.
AT THE BASE OF EACH RISER, A
UNIT SEPARATES THE COMPONENTS.
THE GAS NATURALLY ASCENDS,
AND THE LIQUID IS PUMPED
TO THE SURFACE.

Paul says THE ENGINEERING LEAP FOR
PERDIDO WAS REALLY IN TWO AREAS.
ONE WAS THE DEPTH OF THE WATER
IN WHICH WE WERE WORKING.
THE OTHER, AND MORE SIGNIFICANT,
WAS THE FIRST EVER SUB-SEA
PROCESSING.

The narrator says AFTER DECADES OF INNOVATION,
IN MARCH 2010, THE MOMENT
OF FIRST OIL FROM THE WORLD'S
DEEPEST OFFSHORE WELLS ARRIVES.

Chris says WE ARE ALL PIPED IN VIA
CAMERA TO THE GUYS WHO ARE
ACTUALLY OFFSHORE DOING IT.
AND THEN, YOU START WATCHING
THE PRESSURE IN THE PRESSURE
GAUGES, AND YOU SEE THE PRESSURE
START FALLING, MEANING THAT IT'S
STARTING TO FLOW.

A man at a control room says IT'S BEEN A LONG ROAD, BOYS.

Chris says YOU KNOW, YOU'VE JUST DONE
SOMETHING THAT IN PERDIDO'S
CASE, NOBODY HAD EVER DONE
BEFORE.
WE WERE PUMPING AND SEPARATING
ON THE SUB-SEA FLOOR FROM DAY
ONE, AND IT ALL WORKED.
AND YOU KNOW, THAT WAS
INCREDIBLE.

(music plays)

The narrator says PERDIDO'S ENGINEERS ARE
SUCCEEDING IN PRODUCING OIL
FROM DEEP WITHIN THE EARTH'S
CRUST, BUT TO ENSURE THIS
OPERATION REMAINS SAFE,
ENGINEERS NEED TO LOOK TO
THE PAST...

A man using two fire torches says SO, THE INTUMESCENT PAINT NOW
IS CHARRING DUE TO A CHEMICAL
REACTION, AND SWELLING AND
TURNING INTO A THICK CHAR.

The narrator says TO CREATE MORE IMPOSSIBLE
ENGINEERING.

(music plays)

The narrator says IN 2010, THE
PERDIDO OIL PLATFORM BEGAN
PRODUCTION, MAKING IT THE FIRST
OF ITS KIND TO OPERATE IN
ULTRA-DEEP WATER DEPTHS OF
ALMOST 2500 METRES.
A TEAM OF 172 WORKERS SPEND
TWO WEEKS AT A TIME EXTRACTING
ENOUGH OIL TO FILL MORE THAN
SIX OLYMPIC-SIZED SWIMMING
POOLS EACH AND EVERY DAY.

Donal says AS YOU FLY UP TO PERDIDO,
IT'S 200 MILES AWAY FROM THE
COAST.
THERE'S PRETTY MUCH NOTHING
AROUND IT, AND IT'S ALMOST A
TWO-HOUR FLIGHT ON THE CHOPPER.
AND AS YOU GET INTO THE RANGE
OF WHERE PERDIDO IS, YOU SEE
THIS MONUMENT TO WHAT'S POSSIBLE
OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE,
AND IT'S REALLY SATISFYING TO
LAND ON THAT AND SEE WHAT WE'VE
ACCOMPLISHED.

The narrator says PERDIDO'S ISOLATION CREATES
LOGISTICAL CHALLENGES.
IT'S A 24-HOUR BOAT JOURNEY,
SO WHILST MUCH OF THE
RESUPPLYING HAPPENS BY SHIP,
THE FORTNIGHTLY TURNOVER OF
STAFF NEEDS TO BE CARRIED OUT
BY HELICOPTER.

Paul says WE'RE FLYING IN REALLY LARGE
HELICOPTERS, LIKE THIS S-92 YOU
HAVE, WHICH CAN HOLD UP TO 19
PASSENGERS, ALTHOUGH WE'LL FLY
WITH ABOUT 15 OR 16.
IN THE EVENT THAT HELICOPTER
GOES DOWN, THAT'S A LOT OF
PEOPLE THAT WE NEED TO TAKE CARE
OF.

The narrator THE ROBERT TRAINING CENTRE IN
LOUISIANA IS WHERE PERDIDO
STAFF, ALONG WITH OTHER OIL
AND GAS WORKERS, ARE TRAINED
FOR WORST-CASE SCENARIOS.

Paul says SO, WE'RE TRAINING THESE
PEOPLE HOW TO SAFELY EGRESS
THE HELICOPTER SHOULD THE
UNFORTUNATE HAPPEN.
IN CASE IT DOES GO INTO THE
WATER, WE WANT THEM TO BE ABLE
TO GET OUT OF THE HELICOPTER
AND AWAIT FOR SURVIVAL.

The narrator BUT WHEN YOU'RE POTENTIALLY
PROCESSING MORE THAN 100,000
BARRELS OF OIL A DAY, ONE
HAZARD ABOVE ALL OTHERS IS
AT THE FOREFRONT.

Donal says FIRE PROTECTION ON AN
OFFSHORE INSTALLATION IS OF
PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE.
WE DESIGN FOR SAFETY.
IT'S THE NUMBER-ONE THING
WE HAVE TO GET RIGHT.

Paul says THE WORST THING THAT COULD
HAPPEN ON A RIG OR A PRODUCTION
FACILITY IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE
IS IT GETS OUT OF CONTROL.
IT GETS TO BE VERY LARGE AND
VERY CATASTROPHIC, AND THEN
IN THAT EVENT, WE'RE GOING
TO ABANDON THE FACILITY.
WE'RE GOING TO PUT PEOPLE IN
LIFEBOATS THAT THEY'VE BEEN
TRAINED TO USE, AND PUT THOSE
LIFEBOATS IN THE WATER AND GET
PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE FIRE,
AND ABANDON THE PLATFORM.

The narrator says FIRE ISN'T JUST A HAZARD
FOR THE WORKFORCE.
A HYDROCARBON BLAZE CAN REACH
SUCH HIGH TEMPERATURES, IT HAS
THE POTENTIAL TO DEFORM OR
DESTROY EVEN SOLID STEEL.

Donal says AS WE BECOME MORE COMPLEX
AND REMOTE WITH THESE TYPES OF
DEVELOPMENTS, THE SAFETY SYSTEMS
THAT WE NEED IN ORDER FOR US
TO SUPPORT THEM BECOME EVER MORE
CRITICAL.

The narrator says SO, HOW CAN YOU PROTECT
PERDIDO'S VAST SURFACE AREAS
AGAINST THE THREAT OF EXTREME
HEAT?
THE SOLUTION, SURPRISINGLY,
HAS ITS ROOTS IN HISTORICAL
SHOW BUSINESS.

(music plays)

Clips show images of an empty theatre.

The narrator says IF HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO,
FIRE SAFETY EXPERT LUKE BISBY
VISITED A THEATRE LIKE THIS,
HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN TAKING HIS
LIFE IN HIS HANDS BECAUSE OIL
LAMPS WERE USED FOR LIGHTING.
CURTAINS AND FABRICS WERE
FREQUENTLY SET ABLAZE.
IN 1786, FRENCH CHEMIST JOSEPH
GAY-LUSSAC WAS TASKED WITH
FIREPROOFING FRANCE'S THEATRES
FOLLOWING A STRING OF
TRAGEDIES.

The caption changes to "Luke Bisby. Professor of Engineering."

Luke is in his forties, clean-shaven and with short gray hair. He wears glasses, jeans, and a blue shirt.

Luke stands behind a table with a model theatre stage and says GAY-LUSSAC SET TO WORK TRYING
TO FIND AN INVISIBLE, NON-TOXIC
COMPOUND THAT HE COULD USE TO
COAT FABRIC, CURTAINS, AND
SCENERY.
HE BEGAN EXPERIMENTING WITH
BORON, A COMPOUND NOW USED
IN DETERGENTS AND COSMETICS.
AND TO DEMONSTRATE HOW EFFECTIVE
IT IS, I'M GOING TO DO AN
EXPERIMENT.
HERE I HAVE A STAGE, AND IT
HAS TWO CURTAINS.
ONE OF THEM HAS BEEN SOAKED IN
BORON SOLUTION, AND THE OTHER
ONE IS JUST NORMAL FABRIC.
LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN
I LIGHT THEM.
AND YOU CAN SEE THAT THE
CURTAIN ON THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE
IS BURNING QUITE VIGOROUSLY,
WHEREAS THE ONE OF THE LEFT, YOU
CAN CLEARLY SEE THE EFFECT OF
THE BORON, WHICH IS HELPING
THE CURTAINS TO PREVENT FLAMING.
I MEAN, I'M IMPRESSED AND I'M
A FIRE SAFETY PERSON.

The narrator says THE BORON HELPS FORM A
PROTECTIVE LAYER OF CHAR, WHICH
ACTS AS A BUFFER BETWEEN THE
FIRE AND THE FABRIC.
AND THIS CHARRING EFFECT
PIONEERED BY GAY-LUSSAC IS
USED IN MODERN FIRE-RESISTANT
INTUMESCENT PAINT, AS LUKE IS
GOING TO PUT TO THE TEST AT
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY'S FIRE
LAB.

Luke says AND WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO IS
WE'RE GOING TO SUBJECT THESE TWO
STEEL PLATES, WHICH ARE
IDENTICAL TO EACH OTHER,
TO THE HEAT FROM THE FLAME.
THE PLATE ON THE LEFT IS COATED
JUST WITH A HOUSEHOLD EMULSION
PAINT, AND THE PLATE ON THE
RIGHT IS COATED WITH A FIRE
PROTECTION INTUMESCENT PAINT.
ALL RIGHT, SO HERE WE GO.

He directs two fire torches to the plates and says SO THE INTUMESCENT PAINT NOW
IS CHARRING DUE TO A CHEMICAL
REACTION, AND SWELLING AND
TURNING INTO A THICK CHAR.

The narrator says AS WITH GAY-LUSSAC'S BORON
COATING, THIS CHARRING LOOKS
DRAMATIC, BUT TEMPERATURE
MONITORING REVEALS JUST HOW
EFFECTIVE IT IS.

Luke says SO WE'VE NOW BEEN HEATING FOR
ABOUT TWO MINUTES, AND I CAN SEE
THAT THE TEMPERATURE OF THE
PLATE WITH NORMAL PAINT IS AT
350 DEGREES CELSIUS, AND THE
PLATE WITH THE INTUMESCENT PAINT
IS STILL AT LESS THAN 100
DEGREES CELSIUS.

The narrator says AS THE INTUMESCENT PAINT'S
CHEMICAL REACTION ACCELERATES,
EXPANDING BUBBLES CONTINUE TO
INSULATE THE PLATE'S SURFACE.

Luke says ON THE LEFT-HAND SIDE WITH
THE REGULAR PAINT, THE
TEMPERATURE GOT UP TO ABOUT
500 DEGREES CELSIUS.
WHEREAS THE INTUMESCENT PAINT,
IT REMAINED ABOUT 100 DEGREES
CELSIUS.
SO, A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF THERMAL
PROTECTION FOR THE STEEL.
WHILE IT'S VISUALLY KIND OF
UGLY, IT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE
WANTED TO SEE HAPPEN.

(music plays)

The narrator says IN THE GULF OF MEXICO, THE
PERDIDO OIL PLATFORM HAS ITS
KEY COMPONENTS COATED IN AN
INTUMESCENT PAINT PRODUCT BORN
OUT OF THE SPACE RACE.
FIRST DEVELOPED AS A
PROTECTION FOR SPACECRAFT
FACING THE EXTREME TEMPERATURES
OF RE-ENTRY, IT CAN WITHSTAND
HEATS OF UP TO 400 DEGREES
CELSIUS FOR UP TO 90 MINUTES,
ALONG WITH PROTECTING THE RIG
FROM SALTWATER CORROSION.

Donal says SO, INTUMESCENT PAINT THAT
WE'VE USED ON PERDIDO, IT'S AN
EPOXY COATING ON THE STEEL AND
IF IT COMES INTO CONTACT WITH
HEAT, IT WILL FORM A CHARRED
LAYER AND THAT WILL PROVIDE
A HEAT BARRIER BETWEEN THE FIRE
AND THE STEEL ITSELF.
SO, THE INTUMESCENT PAINT SYSTEM
BUYS YOU TIME TO EITHER FIGHT
THE FIRE AND GET IT UNDER
CONTROL, OR PROTECT PEOPLE TO
THE POINT WHERE IF YOU NEED
TO GET OFF THE PLATFORM AND
EVACUATE, YOU'VE GOT THAT TIME.

The narrator says ABOVE ALL, THE PLATFORM AND
ITS WORKFORCE ARE GEARED UP FOR
STOPPING THE FIRE BREAKING
OUT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Paul says WHAT WE DO TO TRAIN OUR
PEOPLE TO COMBAT A FIRE, IT
STARTS WITH PREVENTION.
IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT PREVENTION.
JUST LIKE YOU LEARNED IN
SCHOOL, PREVENT THE FIRE TO
START WITH.
WE DO LOTS OF THINGS AND WORK
VERY, VERY HARD TO PREVENT FIRES
FROM EVER STARTING.
WE HAVE A TON OF MONITORING
EQUIPMENT OUT THERE TO ALWAYS
WATCH 24 HOURS A DAY, WATCHING
FOR FIRES OR POTENTIAL SOURCES
OF FIRES, LIKE A GAS LEAK.

The narrator says PERDIDO IS COVERED BY
HUNDREDS OF SENSORS AND ALARMS,
AND IS FITTED WITH TWIN
5000-GALLON-PER-MINUTE FIRE
WATER PUMPS, AND AN AUTOMATIC
FOAM SYSTEM THAT COVERS THE
ENTIRE PLATFORM, INCLUDING
THE HELIPORT, ALL DESIGNED TO
PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT, THE
WORKERS, AND THIS REMARKABLE
ENGINEERING PIONEER.

(music plays)

The narrator says IT'S MORE THAN A CENTURY
SINCE MAN FIRST DARED TO
ATTEMPT OFFSHORE DRILLING.
NOW, IN 2500 METRES OF WATER
IN THE GULF OF MEXICO, A NEW
GENERATION OF BOLD ENGINEERS
HAVE WRITTEN THE PERDIDO
PLATFORM INTO THE RECORD BOOKS.

Chris says FOR ME, PERSONALLY, THAT WAS
THE SINGLE BIGGEST PROJECT I HAD
EVER WORKED ON, AND I'D WORKED
ON SOME GOOD PROJECTS.
BUT I HAVE TREMENDOUS PRIDE
IN WHAT WE DID WITH PERDIDO.
I THINK EVERYONE WHO WORKED ON
THAT PROJECT TEAM FEELS THEY
HAD DONE SOMETHING IN THE OIL
INDUSTRY THAT HAD NEVER BEEN
DONE BEFORE, AND REALLY SET THE
STAGE TO MOVE INTO ULTRA-DEEP
WATER.

The narrator says BY TAKING HISTORY AND TURNING
IT INTO HIGH-TECH, THE TEAM
BEHIND THE PERDIDO PLATFORM ARE
REWRITING THE MAP AND EXPLORING
BRAND-NEW FRONTIERS.

Donal says WHAT WE DO IS LIKE THE SPACE
PROGRAM IN THE OTHER DIRECTION.
TO BE ABLE TO PUSH THE
BOUNDARIES OF WHAT'S POSSIBLE
AND ACHIEVE MORE THAN YOU
THOUGHT YOU COULD, IT JUST
GIVES A HUGE SENSE OF
SATISFACTION.
AND IT PROVIDES INSPIRATION TO
THE NEXT GENERATION WHO HAVE
TO PUSH THE BOUNDARIES EVEN
FURTHER THAN WE DID.

The narrator says ENGINEERS HAVE SUCCEEDED IN
MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Narrated by Matthew Skilton.

Producer, Directors, Matt Litchfield, John-Pierre Newman, Tim Williams and Vincent Beeton.

Executive producer, Neil Edwards.

Series Producer, Gill Hennessey.

Two Four Rights. Produced in association with Yesterday.

Copyright 2017, Two-four.

Watch: Ep. 10 -The Perdido Oil Rig