2012 Industry Pioneers


Theodore Schroeder “T. S.” Stoneman


In 1917, T. S. Stoneman began his oilfield career as a draftsman and three years later a landman for the Mid-Continent Petroleum Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In 1926, he joined the Danciger Oil & Refining Company in Forth Worth and persuaded the Danciger brothers they should own their own drilling rigs. T. S. Stoneman purchased their first drilling rig with a $5,000 personal check and put it on his expense report.

Danciger was acquired by the Southern Production Company in 1950 and Stoneman was retained as Vice President for the Contract Drilling Division. Shortly thereafter, he persuaded the company to acquire a Delong-McDermott joint venture, the Offshore Barge Drilling Corporation, which pursued drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The merged company was named the Offshore Company and T. S. Stoneman was appointed President. In 1954, the world’s first mobile jack-up was completed, named Offshore Co. No. 51 and was put to work in 47 feet of water.

Under Stoneman’s direction, the Offshore Company, now Transocean, became the largest of its kind in the world, with operations off the coasts of Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Trinidad, Gabon, British Honduras, Gabon, Iran and Saudi Arabia. He was largely responsible for the successful introduction of mobile, self-elevating barges that greatly accelerated the development of the offshore drilling industry and provided access to hundreds of thousands of square miles of potentially productive underwater fields which existing equipment at that time couldn’t explore economically.

He passed away in May of 1962.