2015 Industry Pioneer


Leldon M. (Sig) Harris graduated from Texas A&M in mechanical engineering and went to work for Humble Oil & Refining Co. (now ExxonMobil USA) in 1949. At the time, coring from floating vessels had just begun and several companies were determining how to do it.  After a California lease sale in 1954, the first floating rig with well control equipment on the ocean floor drilled and cored a well. In 1956 Harris helped develop floating drilling technology that resulted in the Humble SM-1 rig. In the mid-1960s, leases were sold in the Santa Barbara Channel. Humble obtained a large number of leases without having perfected the technology to drill them.  As the company’s Western Division Drilling Engineer, Harris led a design team during 1968-1970 to develop new equipment and operating procedures to drill in water depths up to 1,500 ft.  New moorings, marine risers, subsea blowout preventers and their controls, wellhead systems, hydraulic connectors, and drill stem testing equipment and procedures were among the many technologies developed that Sig Harris led and managed. 

In 1970, Harris left Humble and wrote the first book on floating drilling entitled “An Introduction to Deepwater Floating Drilling Operations”. Harris consulted and lectured around the world and developed and presented the first industry training course on Deepwater Drilling.  In 1979, he published his second book, “Design for Reliability in Deepwater Floating Drilling Operations.” Both books are considered pioneer books and even today are considered excellent reference material.