The hosting costs of websites on this system have historically been covered by advertising. However changes in the way people use the internet, including ad-blocking mean that the revenues no longer cover the expenses. For this reason we will be closing this website within the next two months unless we can find a different model. If any users of the site would be interested in the possibility of taking this incredible archive or pictures and comments over including paying for hosting, please get in touch.
We use cookies to track visitor statistics and personalise adverts. This info is shared with Google. Only use the site if you agree to this. OK, I agree
Librapix Link

Oil Rig Photos

Upload a Picture About this Site | Links | Random Pic | Advanced Search Home | Latest Additions | Contributors | Visitors
Sovereign Explorer
Oil Rig Photos
No: 290   Contributor: Andrew Dowsett   Year: 1999   Country: United Kingdom
Sovereign Explorer

Anchored in the Cromarty Firth with a supply vessel alongside.
Picture added on 23 March 2007
add commentComments:
I worked on this rig in 1991-1992

Added by Petter Folkedahl Knutsen on 09 June 2007.
Nice to see the rig still going, I built this rig from Cammell Lairds in the 1990's.

Added by Gary Murdoch on 04 July 2008.
Yer, I remember this getting built at Lairds - always wondered where she was.

Added by Garry Robinson on 08 July 2008.
Rig is at present working off Brasil. Still going strong.

Added by T . Hansen on 02 December 2008.
Ah the Soverign Exploder as she was once known many moons ago !!

Added by Mike Ogg on 29 October 2009.
My dad also worked on this rig at Lairds - his name was Albert Grogan. I remember he came home one day and told me he had been to the very top of it. I was amazed. I remember watching it being launched and some guy got injured when a tow chain broke.

Added by Kenny Grogan on 15 September 2010.
I worked on this rig when it was drilling for Scott Drill in the Gulf of Mexico....back in the 80's

Added by Bryan Newton on 11 December 2010.
Worked on this rig as a welder from 84 -87. Great memories, the names are all flooding back to me as I write this. Hello to Alan Gray.

Added by Brian Rogers on 08 August 2011.
Was chief mech from 94 to 03, toughest most technically challenging rig I've ever worked on due to commplications with design equipment and reliability, a daily challenge.. but a great crew up until stacked Las Palmas.

Added by (LUKE) Laurence Groundwater on 25 July 2012.
I was another who worked on the rig '85 '86 ( '87 layed up Lock Kishorn) Back in '88 to GOM to '93 then Norwegian sector and North Sea again, I quit at the very end of '96. Worked with many cool guys during that time - Fraser Sprought, Donald McDonald, Adrian Featherstonehaugh, Ian Henderson, Wylie Teakura, Ian Southerland, Dave Purvis, Kare Paus, The list is soo long. Good luck to you all. I remember Brian Rogers and Laurie Groundwater, both above.

Added by Stephen Hill on 06 September 2012.
Worked on the rig when I started at Cammall Lairds as an apprentice plater. Was an awesome sighe while being constructed on the riverside. Shame more were not built.

Added by Peter Powell on 03 October 2012.
I worked on the Sov Ex as rig welder along with Brian Rogers. There were a lot of happy times and also sad ones. Losing my back to back Andy Donald was sad. I still work offshore as a Sub Sea Engineer. I remember Paul Tressedar Sub Sea. All the best lads.

Added by Alan Gray on 18 February 2013.
Tried to contact Kenny Grogan whose dad worked on the oil rig Sovereign Explorer. I too was at the launching. I felt it was blighted so I looked it up on GOOGLE. Hoorah for the internet. (and I'm just a novice )

Added by Pat Seager on 03 August 2013.
I was a cammell laird apprentice at the time of its launched and witnessed the accident that happened when the steel rope snapped hitting the dock wall nearly taking out the apprentices who had been line up to watch it launch and unfortunately injuring a worker on one of the legs

Added by Chris kelly on 12 November 2013.
I worked on this rig in the Gulf of Mexico in the 80s. I remember when it came to the gulf from the North Sea. At that time R&B operated it for Scott Drill. I remember Ian Henderson as "Hendo" being a OIM.

Added by Danny Woodruff on 09 April 2014.
yes I worked on sov ex doing pipework for anchors

Added by Bob on 15 October 2014.
I spent about 6-1/2 years on the SovEx as Maint Sup (Ch/Eng) with Steve Hill and Laurence Groundwater (both with comments above) from around 1989 to 1996 in the GoM through Norway and the UK sector. As they say, she was a technically challenging rig to work but we had good people who were able to rise to and meet that challenge (not that there wasn't the ocassional hiccup..- like the BCO who was known as The Submarine commander because he was always trying to submerge the rig!!!) A lot of the team went on to big things in the offshore drilling industry and I still work with a few of them now.

Added by Adrian Featherstonhaugh on 06 February 2015.
just heard the Sovex is being scrapped, I worked on her from 93 to 96 as Rig Supt, as per the prior comments she was a challenge indeed. I still keep in touch with Heddly Hansen, John Lake and a few others albeit infrequently.

Steve Gibson

Added by Steve Gibson on 09 February 2015.
I wonder if that's true, Steve ( Gibson } Is the Sov. Explorer REALLY going to be scrapped.Very sad It brought back memories of how thriving the shipyard was. Remember the lads scrambling over the wall of Cammell Laird's to get in the first pint in the pub opposite ( it's the California now )

Added by P'A' Seager on 13 February 2015.
Hi there Steve, I heard for sure its getting scrapped along with most of the 700 series, 14 Transocean rigs in all. Enjoyed working therefrom 1993 to 2003, ( Chief Mech.. I was looking after the rig when stacked in Las Palmas 2003 before it went to work in Trinidad and Venezuela, started going downhill then due to issues with equipment and crews who didn't know how to run the rig.

Added by Laurence Groundwater on 20 February 2015.
But we knew did'nt we Luke, We did some great work in the Norwegian sector, We knew how those Hepburns worked, Anybody heard of Kare Paus these last few years?

Added by Stephen Hill on 20 February 2015.
Not heard of KP for long time Stephen, I heard he was wanted back on Sovex in Brazil when they were having problems.

Added by Laurence on 20 February 2015.
I like to work in oil rig, now I am 2nd year of BE.PETROLEUM ENGINEERING. please give some idea to work in offshore oil rig..i am eager to work on it.

Added by Kathir on 17 July 2015.
Hi all, worked on the Sov Ex in the North Sea then in the Gulf of Mexico. Nice to see some old names. Worked on the rig later as third party surveyor in Canary Islands then in Brazil.(2010?) going down hill (no pun Steve) fast but still had those winch's installed

Added by Peter Kershaw on 13 March 2016.
I was on one of the tugboats ( Wallasey )at the launch I got told a rope got jammed and he was trying to cut the rope when snapped taking of his arm and leg I think he survived the accident.

Added by William fawcett on 23 May 2017.
Hi William I was at the launch, yes I heard a man had his arm severed by one of the retaining ropes which had snapped.This was the beginning of a series of tragedies which followed, If he is s still alive I wish he, or some one would let us know I heard the Sov. Ex was to be scrapped,
Any body heard where she is ?


Added by P, Seager on 30 May 2017.
I haven't heard anything about Kare Paus for years, my last memory was Kare nearly passing away with food poisoning on the Sovex. I can remember working the west coast of Shetland and watching the riser slip joint whistling up and down and missing the moon pool sides by inches during a storm, John Lake the OIM was peeing his pants. working West Shetland through winter was a challenge, if the Managers in town really knew how close we came to disaster a number of times I think the celebrations as the first rig to work year long would have been subdued. She was a solid rig and I was proud to have worked on her and my appreciation to our team that kept her going, the Hepburn Winches were a nightmare. The DP racking system had a mind of its own. the new wartsila engines didn't like their valves. too numerous to mention but Adrian, Kare, Laurence, Graham and the rest of the team kept her going.

Added by Steve Gibson on 27 July 2017.
Hi Steve, just read your comments about working the winter west of Shetland - was hairy alright. Remember coming up on deck around 10pm one night from a check in the engine room and seeing John Lake leaning over the moonpool handrails and watching that slip joint whistling past the beams and saying "Never again, never again"!!
As for Kare P, he was Maint Sup on the Sedco Express for a long time but I heard that he'd left and gone back to Sandefjord (retired?). A great Elec Sup who was a decent chap and worked harder than almost anyone I ever met....

Added by Adrian Featherstonhaugh on 27 July 2017.
Hi Adrian, nice to hear from you. Karen was certainly a hard worker and all round great guy. I'll ask Heddly Hanson if he knows where he is.
I miss the times we had on the Sovex but she was definitely white Elephant. The amount of work that was needed to keep her going certainly required the best people there was around at the time. I asked to transfer off the Drillstar to the asovex bu after a week on being there I wanted to go back to the Drill Star.

Added by Steve Gibson on 27 July 2017.
Those were the days Steve and Adrian, was exciting, enjoyable, interesting and horrendous all the same time, best was the crews, and Kare Paus was a great guy, we shared a bottle of Highland Park one night in Aberdeen..boy he loved his whiskey, I have not heard from him for many years, hope he is well in retirement.

Added by Laurence on 27 July 2017.
Hello Steve / Laurence,
As you say - she was a tough rig to operate and keep going but anyone who was there learnt a hell of a lot and it was character building stuff!!
I reckon that I would still have hair if I hadn't spent so long with that rig!!
have been canned by Seadrill so effective end August I'll be hanging up the old shifter and heading off to the house in France. So, after after 31 years at sea on ships and rigs and 9 years in the office I will be able to put work behind me and concentrate on decent wine, cheese and riding my motorcycles. Hurrah

Added by Adrian Featherstonhaugh on 31 July 2017.
I worked as a shipwright on the Explorer during it's construction at Cammell Laird in the early eighties. It was certainly a unique piece of engineering built across two dry docks.

Added by Paul Mcdonnell on 09 December 2017.
Many years rov on there.

Added by Oliver Sparks on 01 September 2018.
Please add your comments about this picture using the form below.


Your Name

Your email address - this will be shown on the page and will allow the system to notify you of further comments added to this picture.

United Kingdom

Brent Bravo 1984Heather  ‘A’ CrewBuchan Alpha arrives at Dales VoeViking Piper  Dunlin-A just after tow-out.Ninian central in ankle deepBrent Delta in it's final resting placeSafe ZephyrusSafe Caledonia
My Album Admin Login | Advertise on this Site | Terms & Copyright | Try our site about Racing Cars