The Ocean Margin Drilling Program (OMDP) is a project that will use a drilling system with full well control and greater environmental tolerances to investigate strata that are beyond the capabilities of open hole drilling with the Glomar Challenger. The program's main thrust is toward examination of passive and active continental margins, as the name implies, but it includes drilling to determine the nature of the oceanic layer (Layer 3) in both fast- and slow-spreading areas and investigating the paleoenvironmental development of the Weddell Sea.
OMDP will be a cooperative effort involving scientists from the academic community, industry, and government. The National Science Foundation contracted with Joint Oceanographic Institutions Incorporated (JOI Inc.) to plan and carry out the program's scientific activities. JOI is a consortium of ten academic oceanographic institutions that has been formed to bring the collective capabilities of individual institutions to bear on large oceanographic research projects.