Offshore Drilling: A New Exhibit Fueling the Future

PubTalk: Blackwater Draw
May 27, 2014
Rec Center Expansion
May 27, 2014

Texas has long been considered a land of oil but what about beyond the coastline? Offshore oil drilling is an important element of the oil industry, but one that is hard to explain and understand.

By Jamie O’Toole

Texas has long been considered a land of oil but what about beyond the coastline? Offshore oil drilling is an important element of the oil industry, but one that is hard to explain and understand. “The offshore oil drilling business is much like Texas A&M. From the inside out, you can’t explain it, and from the outside in, you don’t understand it,” says John Hollowell, executive vice president of deep waters for Shell in the Americas.

Offshore Drilling: The Promise of Discovery, the newest exhibit at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, seeks to unravel the complex world of offshore oil drilling. Encompassing everything from the industry’s humble beginnings to the newest and most innovative technology used today, the exhibit provides the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the offshore oil industry in an engaging and interactive way.

The exhibit explores the facets in the search for oil offshore, made possible by the title sponsor Shell, and supporting sponsorships from Ensco, Schlumberger, and Move Resource Group. Dan Domeracki of Schlumberger says all the companies collaborated on and are represented in the exhibit, which is designed to give people the feel of what it is like on a rig.

“The point of the exhibit is to be educational and fun,” says Miriam Winsten, technology engagement director at Schlumberger, who worked with Curator Susie Cox in designing the exhibit. “Our goal was to tell the story in a way everyone could enjoy it and maybe even inspire people to go into the oil industry.”

The exhibit highlights the work of President George H. W. Bush, who started in the oil industry in Midland-Odessa, later moving to Houston and then offshore into the Gulf of Mexico. He founded Zapata Oil in 1953 and went on to play an influential role in the development and use of Scorpion, an independent offshore leg jack-up rig launched in 1956 designed by R.G. LeTourneau and the first of its kind. President Bush’s business savvy and fearless pursuit of innovation inspired and is reflected in the exhibit, which he had the opportunity to tour before the opening.

The exhibit runs from March 31 until February 1, 2015, and is open during the Library and Museum’s regular visiting hours Monday through Sunday. In conjunction to the exhibit, the Library will also host Fueling the Future, a five-week summer camp for children age seven to 11. The camp will focus on energy, covering everything from where energy comes from and how to conserve it, to the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources. Campers will take an in-depth look at petroleum and offshore drilling and have the opportunity to do science experiments, take field trips, and do art projects. The camp runs July 7 through August 8 and meets Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

For more information on the exhibit and summer camp, visit bushlibrary.tamu.edu or call (979) 691-4000.