Milestones

For 80 years, the Parker Drilling team has provided premier drilling and rental tools products and services in some of the world’s most remote and challenging environments. From creating the first heli-hoist rig to setting numerous drilling world records, we are an operational execution company with a rich history of achievement in helping our customers safely manage costs and mitigate risks. Learn more about how Parker’s dedicated team members have provided innovative, reliable and efficient performance and service for eight decades.


  • 1934: Parker Drilling founded in Oklahoma by G.C. Parker
  • 1945: Parker enters the international market in Venezuela and Canada with five rigs in Venezuela and 12 in Canada.
  • 1954: Bob Parker Sr. buys Parker Drilling from G.C. Parker.
  • 1967: Parker Drilling patents Heli-Hoist technology, opening new international and arctic frontiers.
  • 1968: Company begins Alaska operations with contract from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to drill large diameter holes for nuclear testing. Parker drills world’s deepest 90-in. diameter test hole to 6,150 feet, and 120-in. diameter hole to 4,427 feet.
  • 1972: Parker sets 28,500’ depth record (Ralph Lowe Estate, Texas)
  • 1973: Parker Drilling designs and builds first Transportable by Anything (TBA) 2000 rig for operations in Peruvian jungle.
  • 1975: Parker employees move into the Parker Building – 3rd and Main in downtown Tulsa – where the company headquarters will reside for 26 years.
  • 1977: Rig 157 drills deepest test well in the Middle East.
  • 1978: Parker pioneers arctic drilling technology with winterized rig on wheels (Rig 141) for Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay field.
  • 1980: Parker becomes first U.S. drilling contractor to provide specialized services and drilling expertise to China.
  • 1981: Parker Drilling builds the world’s largest drilling rig, Parker 201, capable of drilling to 50,000 feet.
  • 1984: Company designs, constructs and operates the drilling rig aboard the CIDS Platform (Beaufort Sea I), a submersible arctic drilling structure offshore Alaska.
  • 1991: Continuing its legacy of innovation, Parker begins new era of arctic drilling technology with Rig 245, a powerful, self-propelled arctic drilling rig for Alaska’s North Slope.
  • 1991: Parker becomes the first Western drilling company to work in the Siberian Arctic.
  • 1996: Parker expands into the barge rig market with its acquisition of Mallard Drilling of New Iberia, Louisiana, and acquires Quail Tools, a provider of specialized rental equipment used in well drilling, production, and workover applications.
  • 1999: Company designs and constructs world’s first and only arctic-class drilling barge, the Sunkar, to explore the Caspian Sea.
  • 2001: Parker Drilling relocates corporate headquarters to Houston.
  • 2002: Parker designs, constructs and operates the "Yastreb", the world's most advanced extended reach drilling (ERD) land rig for the Sakhalin-1 project in Russia
  • 2005: Expanding its presence on Sakhalin Island, Parker commissions, installs and operates the offshore Orlan Platform.
  • 2007: Occupational Hazards Magazine names Parker Drilling as one of America's Safest Companies for 2007.
  • 2008: Another first: Parker breaks ERD record from Sakhalin Island, reaching out over seven miles under the sea floor with the Yastreb.
  • 2008: Company announces new contract for two newbuild arctic land rigs for a drilling program for BP on Alaska’s North Slope.
  • 2008: Parker is awarded a contract to design the drilling package for the Sakhalin-1 Arkutun-Dagi offshore platform.
  • 2009: Parker celebrates 75th year of operations and opens Anchorage, Alaska Regional Office and Training Center.
  • 2011: The Parker Drilling-operated Yastreb Rig sets new world record for extended-reach drilling with a total measured depth of 40,502 feet (7.67 miles) for extended-reach drilling.
  • 2012: Gary Rich selected as president and chief executive officer
  • 2012: Parker commences drilling on the North Slope of Alaska with the first of two advanced technology arctic-class drilling rigs.
  • 2013: Parker Drilling receives Talisman Energy's 2012 CEO safety award for proactively creating an outstanding health, safety and environmental culture.
  • 2013: Rig 272, the second of two advanced technology arctic drilling rigs designed and constructed by Parker, commences drilling on the North Slope of Alaska.
  • 2013: Parker Drilling acquires iTS, a premier international rental tools and well services provider, significantly expanding Company’s rental tools business.
  • 2013: Christopher T. Weber joins Company as senior vice president and chief financial officer.
  • 2013: Robert L. Parker Jr. announces retirement as fulltime employee; continues as member of Company’s board of directors.
  • 2013: Parker Drilling named “Drilling Contractor of the Year” by Exxon Neftegas, Ltd.
  • 2014: Gary Rich elected chairman of Company’s board of directors.
  • 2014: Parker Drilling marks 80 years of operations.