Sir Isaac Newton once said
"WE STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS".
It is time to acknowledge the many contributions of the oilfield diver. Since the very first overwater oil wells were drilled, these men and women significantly improved the oil and gas industry's ability to produce these natural resources. The Oilfield Divers Monument is a project of the International Petroleum Museum & Exposition, a 501(c)(3) corporation, in Morgan City, Louisiana. Monument donations are tax-deductible.
Rusty Wright, Jack Vilas, Bryce Merrill, Virgil Allen, and Micah Allen are the team. The team was formed to oversee the raising of funds to construct our monument, have the monument designed and built, and installed in Morgan City. We have a PayPal account and a PO Box for collecting funds.
On the completion of the monument, any remaining funds will be placed in our internal scholarship fund. We will make an annual donation to the "Investment for Oilfield Divers Monument Scholarship at South Louisiana Community College". For the South Louisiana Community College Commercial Diving School. In 2023 we have donated $3,000.00 to fund three $1,000.00 scholarships in the memory of Terry Burlson.
You can mail your donations to:
Oilfield Divers Monument
PO Box 1988
Morgan City, LA 70381
The Oilfield Divers Monument is a project of the International Petroleum Museum & Exposition in Morgan City, Louisiana. As such, it is a nonprofit foundation that can accept tax-deductible donations.
The oil and gas industry's evolution and its offshore movement have had a profound impact on our culture, geography, society, and economy throughout the twentieth century. In the late 1920s and 1930s, the lakes, marshes, and bayous of southern Louisiana emerged as significant producers of fossil fuels, rivaling the famous Spindletop salt dome in neighboring Texas. This transformative period saw a consortium of companies, led by Kerr-McGee and Phillips Petroleum, complete the first out-of-sight-of-land well in 1947 off Morgan City, ushering in a new era for the global oil and gas industry.
The Oilfield Divers Monument stands as a life-sized bronze statue, paying tribute to the early oilfield divers who played an indispensable role in constructing the international oil and gas industry underwater. These divers courageously worked in extremely hazardous conditions, and by the late 1950s, diving had become an essential function in offshore petroleum operations. These dedicated individuals have been involved at every step, contributing to the construction, installation, repair, and salvage of offshore platforms and pipelines. It is crucial to recognize their monumental contributions both now and in the future.
Since the late 1800s, men and women have ventured into the water to support oil and gas production worldwide. The first overwater oil wells were drilled in the ocean from piers extending off the beach at Summerland, California. In 1911, Gulf Oil drilled the world's first oil well in the inland waters of Lake Caddo, Louisiana. None of these operations would have been possible without the brave individuals who jumped overboard to retrieve lost tools or tighten flanges.
During the mid-1940s to early-1950s, the efforts of these individuals evolved into a profession, giving rise to professional oilfield divers. These divers and the companies they established made remarkable discoveries, breakthroughs, and continuous improvements to the profession, including safety procedures. Their accomplishments have had far-reaching impacts, influencing various industries such as robotics, medicine, and space exploration. Who hasn't heard the Shuttle astronauts working on the Hubble telescope say, "Where are those divers when we need them?" as they struggled to install new mirrors?
The Oilfield Divers Monument features a bronze life-sized diver adorned in an early DESCO helmet, symbolizing the transition from heavy gear to lighter equipment. The statue also showcases a burning torch, jet nozzle, and a hammer wrench with umbilical hoses on the deck.
Our granite monument encapsulates the early history of oilfield diving and highlights some of the advancements in safety, equipment, and procedures made by these hard-working oilfield divers.
The website provides a deeper dive into the history of oilfield diving, early photographs, an Individual donors list, links to diving schools and sponsor websites.
The Oilfield Divers Monument is a project of the International Petroleum Museum & Exposition, located in Morgan City, Louisiana. As a nonprofit foundation, the monument accepts tax-deductible donations.
Together, let us draw inspiration from this monument dedicated to oilfield divers. It serves as a source of motivation for our youth to pursue their dreams. We rely on continued support from everyone to honor the giants of the early oilfield diving community.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to one of our team members:
Jack Vilas III