Differences Between Offshore and Onshore Drilling


Companies drilling for oil onshore and offshore. Oil is a necessary part of modern life. It powers our cars, planes and homes. While we no longer use the flammable kerosene lamps of the past, natural gas is a byproduct of oil production used to heat countless homes across the nation and even power many vehicles. Jet fuel, diesel and gasoline power vehicles. Petroleum is an oil product used to make countless plastics from storage containers to contact lenses to food packaging.

Offshore Drilling

Drilling Equipment

Both operations use slightly different equipment to find, drill and contain the oil. Onshore drilling operations do not need to house employees on a platform or remain stable on an ever-changing surface like offshore rigs often do. Offshore drilling uses things like subsea landing string services, ships to search for oil using seismic surveying and concrete or metal pilings to provide stability for the platform on the surface of the water.

Both use drills of some fashion to burrow through the rock and dirt on the floor. However, companies like PRT Offshore must also provide stability for the pipes running through the ocean water to the floor.


An onshore operation can expect a shorter well lifespan than the offshore wells. Within the first year, most onshore wells reach close to 65% of total production, while offshore wells typically produce more and for close to 10-20 years. Offshore rigs take longer to build than the quicker onshore wells allowing onshore companies to quickly expand to new sites.

Onshore companies can use a variety of transportation methods to deliver oil and receive the necessary parts. Offshore companies need to work with shipping companies or have their own ships to deliver anything to the platforms from getting started to feeding the hungry crew.


Since offshore wells are not on land and they require more stability, they are often more expensive than onshore wells initially. Offshore wells typically have to have housing and more crew members manning the rig than onshore wells. Onshore companies can have their employees there during the day with a skeleton crew if any at night. They are not responsible for housing costs.

Offshore companies spend about 60% on drilling costs and 40% on the rest of the costs. Onshore drilling companies typically spend over half the costs to three-fourths on completion activities, 30-40% on drilling and then another 7-8% on facility expenses. Whether investing in a stock or starting a company, knowing the differences can help you make the right choice for your goals.

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