The decommissioning of the Brent field was a decade in the planning. It was the heaviest-ever offshore lift in 2017. Twelve huge propellers linked to satellite positioning and wave-watching systems kept the world’s biggest ship steady within half a metre of its targets – eight lifting points welded to one of Europe’s largest oil and gas platforms.
Shell set out to make the process safe and to avoid causing any environmental harm. The company consulted with more than 400 people from more than 180 organisations and drew upon more than 300 scientific and technical studies.
In April 2017, in the world’s heaviest lift at sea, the Brent Delta topside was removed by the Pioneering Spirit, a ship that stretched the length of six jumbo jets. It was then ferried in a single piece across 700 kilometres of sea to a specially constructed quay at Able’s Seaton Port facility in Hartlepool.