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In this fantasy world several corporate empires have found a valued liquid coming from wells in shallow ocean. With only Industrial Revolution level tech is it possible for these companies to harvest the liquid off of oil rigs or similar structures?

Note:

  • The companies have near unlimited resources and vast amounts of manpower.
  • The liquid has all the same properties as oil for this question's purposes.
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Yes

The way that's done is by using Caissons. A caisson is a structure dropped into the water, and then air under high pressure forces the water out of it. This allows workers to enter the structure and work on the water's floor. In your case, they'd build a caisson, drill the well, put in the piping, and let it flood back up. So as long as the water is shallow enough that the building materials of the day can withstand the pressure, it should pass a reality check.

Read up about how the Brooklyn Bridge was built in the late 1800's. Caissons were dropped into the East River to build the foundation. Its also where they identified the cause of a mysterious illness that afflicted workers called Caissons disease... or as we now refer to it, the Bends.

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Depends on how you define "industrial revolution" tech levels. There is a world of difference between 1760 and 1840.

There were iron-hulled boats before 1800, but they were not very large and not very rugged. Ships with wooden hulls and iron or iron-reinforced hulls were more common, but the wooden hulls still worked under stress. Diving dress became practical at the end of the industrial revolution. That might mean ...

  • A fixed platform would be difficult unless it can be built on wooden beams.
  • A floating semi-submersible platform is out, too.
  • A drill ship or a similar surface platform would run into problems with maintenance after a short time.
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I will say probably but you would want to make your world with shallow seas to put them in. Some diving technology existed in the 1800's and a little bit in the late 1700's (mostly experimental) if I recall correctly. One way you might do this and still have your oil a little deeper is put your planet in an ice age and tie up a lot of your water at the poles in ice caps. Your industrial age technology could be something newly developed by a society living along the tropics or subtropics or it could be the refinements of previously built technology created by a society that Crashed due to the start of the ice age. (edit-spelling)

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Not likely, depends on how deep it is, can water be frozen in winter etc. Even if some works may be done, the problem is a complex set of technologies and many technologies's involved should be mature enough for that. 10 meters - not a big deal, 100 or above and everything isn't so simple.

You just may check it in today word: who builds and can build offshore platforms.

Also try to look some films about offshore wind plants, siemens short video about that this there also more and longer more informative videos about problems involved. Even today it's not so easy.

The offshore platform will face a similar set of problems.

So it's not possible just because of lack of knowledge in first place. If you freeze your revolution maybe, not for sure, but maybe after 100th years of work ... Dig tunnel - simple tech, needs just the time.

Windmills and accumulators will be a better solution.

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