ROBERT 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.