George Richardson joined The Offshore Company (now Transocean, Ltd.) as the Chief Engineer in 1955. At the time, the worldwide movable offshore fleet consisted of only 3 jackup rigs and 5 submersibles.
In 1956, George directly managed the construction of new rigs. Between 1956 and 1966, Richardson built 2 turret-moored drill ships and 12 various-sized jackups. During the following nine years, Richardson oversaw the construction of 4 more turret-moored drillships, 9 Jackups and 2 semisubmersibles. In addition, The Offshore Company also licensed the construction of 15 or more cantilever jackups.
In 1976 Offshore Magazine named The Offshore Company the world’s largest drilling contractor. Much of this growth from the edges of the Gulf of Mexico to water depths over 3,000 feet was the result of George Richardson’s perseverance, direction and ingenuity.
As an example of George’s creativity, in early 1961 he foresaw that water depth for jackup drilling rigs was limited and decided to investigate the possibility of using a shipshape hull that could always head into the seas thus minimizing wave induced motion. At that time he conceived the idea of using a central mooring turret that would moor the vessel over a fixed position on the ocean’s floor, while permitting the vessel to be rotated by bow and stern thrusters in order to maintain the most favorable heading. The concept essentially provided all the favorable vessel motion characteristics of dynamic positioning without the need of positioning thrusters and the not completely reliable positioning control system.
George Richardson was truly an Offshore Industry Pioneer.