Oilfield plan could bring 200 jobs to Hartlepool

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AMBITIOUS plans to dismantle a giant oil field – creating up to 200 jobs in Hartlepool – will take another step forward this month.

A 30-day public consultation on plans to start decommissioning the Brent oil and gas field in the North Sea will begin on Monday, February 16.

The programme for the Brent Delta platform (one of four installations located in the field) recommends that the 23,500 tonne ’topside’ of the platform is removed in one piece by a giant heavy-lift vessel.

If the decommissioning programme is formally approved by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the topside will be taken to Able UK’s Seaton Port site in Hartlepool where more than 97 per cent of the material will be reused or recycled.

Bosses at Able say they are delighted to be involved and jobs will be created as a result of it. Neil Etherington, Able Group Development Director, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to undertake this significant project. We are recognised as one of the world’s most experienced and capable organisations in the field of decommissioning and recycling of end-of-life marine structures, having handled over 60 structures in the past, including, for example the North West Hutton platform and the Shell Leman topside and jacket, and Shell Expro topsides.

“We will be deploying the latest techniques and technologies with the aim of recycling or reusing at least 97 per cent of materials from the Shell Brent Delta topsides, and achieving the highest possible environmental standards.

“In preparation for undertaking this contract we are making significant investment at Able Seaton Port, including the construction of what will be one of Europe’s heaviest load-bearing quays. The construction phase is generating in the region of 100 jobs and the recycling contract itself will create a further 100 new jobs.

“Hartlepool and the Teesside area as a whole has a long history of excellence in all aspects of marine engineering and this project will involve using many of the skills available within the local workforce.”

The field has produced around 10 per cent of all UK North Sea oil and gas and generated more than £20bn of tax revenue for the UK since production began in 1976.