1998 Industry Pioneers


Robert Le TourneauROBERT G. LE TOURNEAU

Despite dropping out of school in the eighth grade, Robert Le Tourneau nonetheless used his aptitude for practical engineering to become a pioneer in the creation of the first effective jack-up drilling rig, the Scorpion, which was used by future president George Bush in his initial forays into the Gulf of Mexico with Zapata Offshore Company in the early 1960s. This "straight-legged platform" was a giant step in the evolution of mobile drilling rigs, since it could be towed to site, jacked up on its three legs for drilling, and then jacked down for movement to another site.

Le Tourneau, Inc., grew into one of the largest builders of mobile offshore drilling units.