Carter Group Sees Zapata Rig At Work
President Jimmy Carter, several members of the Cabinet and Congress recently took a close look at the search for oil being conducted by the drilling rig Zapata Yorktown offshore Louisiana. The President and his party toured the semisubmersible rig as the unit continued drilling its first exploratory well, located in 500 feet of water 88 miles southeast of the New Orleans airport.
The rig and the well were explained to the President by William H. Flynn, Zapata Corporation chairman and president, and by crew members and officials of the company's offshore drilling and petroleum exploration subsidiaries. Roughnecks operated the rig's equipment, currently drilling at a depth of approximately 7,200 feet, while the President's group watched from the drill floor. Additional points on the tour showed Zapata Yorktown's extensive safety gear, underwater systems layout and controls, marine equipment, and other major features.
The President had an opportunity to operate an underwater television camera which monitors the drill pipe as well as surrounding marine life.
Zapata Yorktown was completed in December 1976 at a cost of about $38 million, and features the latest available technology. The massive "semi" can operate in 2,000 feet of water and is designed to work on the U.S. outer continental shelf offshore the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. It is one of 19 rigs owned by Zapata Off-Shore Company.
The new rig is working in a federal offshore lease area, South Pass Block 51, for a group of oil companies. Zapata Exploration Company is operator for the well, and other partners are Monsanto Company, Pacific Petroleum Corporation, and Texaco Inc.
Zapata owns three other similar rigs completed over the past 18 months, which to date have drilled a total of 20 wells in water as deep as 1,600 feet. Two of these semis, Zapata Concord and Zapata Saratoga, are drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, while the third, Zapata Lexington, currently is operating offshore Ireland pending the beginning of drilling on the U.S. Atlantic Coast.
Hosts for the President's tour of the 260-foot-long rig included Thomas S. Mcintosh, president of Zapata Off-Shore Company, and J.B. Harrison, president of Zapata Exploration Company.
Supporting the Zapata Yorktown was the Zapata marine service tug/supply vessel Independence Service. All three of these companies are wholly owned subsidiaries of Zapata Corporation.
Houston, Texas-based Zapata Corporation, a diversified natural resources firm with worldwide operations, has fishing, dredging and marine construction businesses in Louisiana, in addition to its offshore exploration-related activities there.