The history of Ullrigg starts in 1982 when IRIS was named Rogalandsforskning. Leveling of the Ullrigg site started late 1982, and the initial funding was provided by Shell. The Rosenberg Shipyard constructed and assembled Ullrigg just outside of Stavanger, at the Ullandhaug area. Ullrigg spudded its first well in late 1984, and the official opening was in 1985 by the renowned Stavanger politican; Arne Rettedal.
Several Shell drilling seniors were occupied with drilling and testing of equipment at Ullrigg for several years, amongst them were Andy Andersen, Pål Schilte and Albert Pols. In 1987, drilling of the directional referance well "U2" was complete, drilled because the industry needed better qualification of the survey accuracy of the early directional drilling and logging equipment. Even today, U2 is often used for this purpose. Other notable achivements made using Ullrigg include a full scale test of the Drilling equipment and Drawworks for Snorre A TLP, testing of the overshot for SAGA Petroleum's problem well in 1990, and several large MPD (Managed Pressure Drilling) projects.
Ullrigg has been continually developed and enhanced, with the last major upgrade consisting of a new Top Drive , a new Mud Pump, two new Shale Shakers and a fully remote operated TFM (Tubular Feeding Machine).