Ground breaking Hartlepool rig arrival hailed a ‘triumph’

The massive Brent Delta in Hartlepool. By Jan Dawson.
The massive Brent Delta in Hartlepool. By Jan Dawson.

The arrival of the world’s heaviest cargo ship in Hartlepool has been hailed as a ‘triumph’.

Years of planning went into bringing the Brent Delta rig to the town for dismantling and recycling.

The Brent Delta at sunset. By Jan Dawson.

The Brent Delta at sunset. By Jan Dawson.

Crowds gathered to see the arrival of the 24,200-tonne Brent Delta Topside as it was transported to Able UK’s Seaton Port, off Tees Road and capture images of the historic event.

The largest-ever oil rig demolition project is now set to get under way at what is Europe’s strongest quayside, which has been specially created by Able UK at a cost of £28million.

The oil rig’s arrival into Hartlepool was quite some sight, with the 130m-high structure being delivered on the ship Pioneering Spirit, which is the length of six jumbo jets.

Head of Able UK, Peter Stephenson, said the arrival shows that his company, and Teesside, remain world leaders in the industry.

The clearest possible vindication of our determination to establish Able Seaton Port as a world-class facility

Peter Stephenson

Transporting the enormous structure from the oil and gas field near the Shetland Islands was a highly-complex and ground-breaking operation, but everyone went to plan.

Mr Stephenson said: “It was a triumph for everyone involved in one of the heaviest lifts ever to take place, especially our partners Shell and Allseas, with whom we have worked for several years to meet the huge technical challenges involved.

“For our company it is the clearest possible vindication of our determination to establish Able Seaton Port as a world-class facility. The Brent decommissioning project is the most significant project of its type to date and of crucial importance to us is the fact that Able was selected against an initial longlist of 131 potential disposal yards.

“It has involved a big commitment on our part — we have invested £28million in the new quay and associated developments — we believe that the investment is worthwhile, not just for this contract but the potential for us to be at the forefront of a business which is set to grow to meet the need to decommission platforms as they come to the end of their operational lives.

Gorgeous photo of the Brent Delta. By Jan Dawson.

Gorgeous photo of the Brent Delta. By Jan Dawson.

“This marks the start of our work on the Brent Delta platform. The next stage over the coming days will be its transfer to the new Quay Six after which we will conduct detailed surveys in preparation for the decommissioning programme which we expect to complete within 12 months.”

About 50 jobs will be created, along with two apprenticeships, as Able UK sets about dismantling and recycling the rig.

Mr Stephenson said the smooth arrival of the rig was good news for Hartlepool, because jobs will be created and everything built here will remain for the next 50 to 100 years, so hopefully the benefits will be felt for decades to come.

The Brent Delta arrives in the town. Photo by Ashley Foster.

The Brent Delta arrives in the town. Photo by Ashley Foster.

Stunning photo of the Brent Delta arriving in Hartlepool, sent in by Ashley Foster.

Stunning photo of the Brent Delta arriving in Hartlepool, sent in by Ashley Foster.

The former Brent Delta oil platform arrives on the Iron Lady at Able UK's Seaton Port.

The former Brent Delta oil platform arrives on the Iron Lady at Able UK's Seaton Port.

The former Brent Delta oil platform arrives on the Iron Lady at Able UK's Seaton Port.

The former Brent Delta oil platform arrives on the Iron Lady at Able UK's Seaton Port.

Selfies with the Brent Delta oil platform.

Selfies with the Brent Delta oil platform.

The former Brent Delta oil platform arrives on the Iron Lady at Able UK's Seaton Port.

The former Brent Delta oil platform arrives on the Iron Lady at Able UK's Seaton Port.