Offshore turns 50

Offshore turns 50 Strange to think the offshore E&P business was up and running 50 years ago – healthy enough, in fact, to support the creation of this magazine.

Strange to think the offshore E&P business was up and running 50 years ago – healthy enough, in fact, to support the creation of this magazine. But it is true. The issue you're holding in your hands represents a major milestone. We plan to celebrate it in style with commemorative special issues and a redesign of our format.

In compiling the special material in this first issue of our anniversary year, we reviewed a wide range of stories from theOffshore archives. It was fascinating to dig through those old bound issues, looking at black and white photos and line drawings of what was considered state-of-the-art technology.

While it is tempting, in such a case, to go all the way back to the magazine's origins and review the first ever issue, I found even more fascinating material in issues only a couple of decades old.

These were the early days of deepwater, when a few visionaries could already see where things were headed, but not how we were going to get there. In many cases, designsOffshore featured grew and evolved into the production and drilling solutions in use today. Other technologies represent the last incremental advancement before a huge step change came along and rewrote the rules. The struggle and drama of engineers working with the tools available at the time is inspiring.

First, there was the struggle to break the physical connection with shore, then the move from fixed bottom facilities to moored, and finally DP rigs. All the while, new downhole and seismic technology pointed to greater rewards just over the horizon.

Like a child who first crawls, then walks, and now runs, the industry has found its legs and is clearly on the brink of its next major step change. Revolutionary technologies including 4D seismic, subsea processing, and managed pressure drilling make this a dramatic time to be operating offshore.

It would be impossible for our magazine to properly address everything that has happened to this industry over the last 50 years in one issue. What we've done instead is give readers a concise history of the industry that will place our other special material in context. We have also developed a timeline of key events that shaped this history. In addition, we are kicking off a yearlong series of time capsules. These are brief stories based onOffshore's reporting of critical events over the years. Each issue in 2004 will feature a sprinkling of these time capsules to remind readers of who we are and where we come from.

To mark this occasion for the magazine, we also decided to give Offshore a facelift. While we've always had good response to the magazine's design elements and layout, we couldn't help making a few minor improvements to celebrate our big five-o. This issue introduces a new cover design, new table of contents format, and fresh, standardized section headers. We hope you will be as excited as we are by this new look and, more importantly, that it enhances your enjoyment of the magazine.

We are calling this a collector's issue, and hope you will agree that the content is very special. Two other issues you will want to look out for this year are the August and December installments. Like January, these will feature special content marking our anniversary. For August, Offshore will name the 50 legends of the offshore industry and 50 events we feel have changed the industry. The August issue will also include a history of Offshore magazine. In December, we look at 50 technologies that shaped this industry. Each of these special issues will have a commemorative cover and special treatment that highlight the 50th anniversary articles.

While this year will be special for all of us at Offshore, we realize the primary reason our readers pick up the magazine is for our coverage of projects and technology. With that in mind, we believe the best way to thank our readers for 50 wonderful years is to continue doing what we do best, providing you with timely, informative stories on the issues and technologies that effect this industry. As our slogan says, tools, trends, and technology. That is what has gotten us this far, and we're confident it will take us into the future.

From everyone on theOffshorestaff, thank you to our readers for making this event possible. We look forward to serving you in the future.

William Furlow

Readers wishing to respond to issues presented on this page or elsewhere in Offshore, or offer authored articles or article suggestions, should contact the editor by email ( or fax (1-713-963-6296).

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