Hartlepool says farewell to giant oil rig which took 1,000 men to build

The platform heads out to sea. Picture: Caroline Brown.
The platform heads out to sea. Picture: Caroline Brown.

A huge 3,200-tonne oil platform has headed out of Hartlepool for a new home.

The Cygnus Bravo module sailed out of town this week after being built at the Heerema Hartlepool fabrication yard in Greenland Road.

The structure was a wellhead topside platform and was part of a package of projects being handled by Heerema for the Cygnus field.

The yard, which is thought to have had up to 1,000 people on its books while it handled the contract, also worked on the 4,400-tonne Alpha Processing Utilities topsides, and the 2,300 tonnes Alpha Compression Unit.

The Cygnus site is operated by business partners GDF SUEZ, Centrica and Bayerngas.

At its peak, the Cygnus field will produce enough gas to meet the needs of 1.5 million UK homes which is around five per cent of the UK market.

Cygnus is the largest gas discovery in the Southern North Sea in the last 25 years and is around 100 miles off the coast of Lincolnshire.

Last autumn, the Hartlepool Mail reported the economic impact of the Cygnus gas project in the North Sea.

A report by leading economics consultancy Oxford Economics has found that, before gas production even begins, Cygnus is creating and securing nearly 400 jobs primarily in Hartlepool.

Further analysis shows the project will add £1.29 billion to the UK economy and support more than 4,820 skilled jobs during its five-year construction period.

Economic benefits will be felt across the UK, in particular throughout Scotland and North-East England where 19,000 tonnes of offshore infrastructure is being built at yards in Hartlepool, Fife and the Highlands.

In our region, Cygnus was expected to bring nearly £90m to the local economy and secure over 400 jobs.

Three platforms for Cygnus are being built in the town, making it the third consecutive offshore project by Centrica Energy to involve major construction work in Hartlepool.