v3.19.3
Document and Entity Information - shares
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2019
Nov. 01, 2019
Document and Entity Information [Abstract]    
Document Type 10-Q  
Document Quarterly Report true  
Document Period End Date Sep. 30, 2019  
Document Transition Report false  
Entity File Number 001-34037  
Entity Registrant Name SUPERIOR ENERGY SERVICES INC  
Entity Incorporation, State or Country Code DE  
Entity Tax Identification Number 75-2379388  
Entity Address, Address Line One 1001 Louisiana Street  
Entity Address, Address Line Two Suite 2900  
Entity Address, City or Town Houston  
Entity Address, State or Province TX  
Entity Address, Postal Zip Code 77002  
City Area Code 713  
Local Phone Number 654-2200  
Title of 12(b) Security Common Stock, $.001 par value  
Trading Symbol SPN  
Security Exchange Name NYSE  
Entity Current Reporting Status Yes  
Entity Interactive Data Current Yes  
Entity Filer Category Large Accelerated Filer  
Entity Small Business false  
Entity Emerging Growth Company false  
Entity Shell Company false  
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   146,849,439
Entity Central Index Key 0000886835  
Amendment Flag false  
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2019  
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q3  
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31