As the first rig in operation above the 62nd parallel, the drilling rig Treasure Seeker is an important part of the history of both Wilhelmsen and the Norwegian offshore industry. Built in Singapore and sailed to Norway under its own power, the rig was the first vessel of its kind to pass through the Suez Canal.
Affectionately dubbed the North Sea Cadillac by its crew, the rig was equipped with state-of-the-art drilling equipment and was the first unit in the world with high-pressure safety valves capable of coping with up to 15,000 pounds per square inch (psi), far more than anything else in the North Sea.
On its journey along the Norwegian coastline to the Arctic, the rig called at several ports including Harstad. Members of the public were invited on board and ferried to and fro by supply vessels Tender Senior and Tender Searcher, which were accompanying the rig. The steward and his team had prepared a taste of the fine food served on board. Letting everyone make free use of the ice-cream machine was much appreciated!
In operation for three years in the Tromsø patch, the Treasure Seeker performed well for its operator Norsk Hydro and provided important experience of rough Arctic conditions for the design and construction of the Polar Pioneer, the super rig which succeeded it.
When Norway struck oil almost fifty years ago, the country entered a period of technological, economic and social development on a scale never before experienced. Although Wilhelmsen retained its core business of liner, tanker and bulker trades, the family began to make investments, including three H-3 rigs. Wilhelmsen’s offshore journey experienced its golden age in 1982-85 when it accounted for between 58 and 75 percent of the group’s annual operating profits.