One of the world’s biggest ships is setting sail for Hartlepool

The huge Delta rig heading to Hartlepool.
The huge Delta rig heading to Hartlepool.
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Dozens of jobs are set to be created as Hartlepool’s skyline is set to be changed during a huge engineering project.

It has been four years in the planning, but next week will see the largest-ever oil rig demolition project sail into Hartlepool.

Peter Stephenson pictured at Able House.

Peter Stephenson pictured at Able House.

Able UK has invested £28million in building Europe’s strongest quayside at the Seaton Port, to take delivery of the 24,200-tonne Delta oil rig topside, which will be transported on one of the world’s largest ships, Pioneering Spirit.

Once it is here, about 50 jobs will be created, along with two apprenticeships, as the company sets about dismantling and recycling the enormous rig.

Peter Stephenson, executive chairman of Able UK, said there is a lot of excitement about the Delta rig arriving next week, and it will be the first time a rig topside will have been removed in one piece.

It will be the heaviest single structure lifted in the history of the oil and gas industry and will sail into Hartlepool on the Pioneering Spirit, which is the length of six jumbo jets.

It will dramatically alter the Teesside landscape

Neil Etherington

Neil Etherington, business development director for Able UK, said 131 companies wanted the contract, so it was a huge success for Able to clinch it.

The company’s aim is to secure a lot more similar rig demolition work in the future.

He said an exact date and time has not been confirmed for the Delta’s arrival, because it is dependant on weather conditions, but when it sails past Hartlepool there will be spectacular views from the Headland.

And, at 44 metres high, it will be hard to miss.

Mr Etherington said: “It will dramatically alter the Teesside skyline for a while. People will be able to see it from as far at Redcar and Peterlee.”

Mr Stephenson said the company lost £300million of extra profit through the notorious ‘ghost ships’ project, which saw a lengthy legal wrangle over the dismantling of US Navy ships and environment issues.

He said: “It is criminal that a few individuals could do so much damage to the area.

“We wanted to dismantle more than 100 ships, we would have had the largest dry dock in the world and it would have created extra jobs as well as securing jobs.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the area that was lost. It put us back five years at the site.”

* Keep an eye out for details of where and when to see the ship.