Tales of the Tees – Able



What is the heaviest object that mankind has ever lifted? Big blocks of stone? Small building? Nope, it is an oil rig. 

Oil rigs are full of toxic waste and materials. They were designed to do a specific job for a limited period of time. Many are now stood in the North Sea doing not much as their oil wells run dry. Left like that, they will decay and pollute the North Sea on a huge scale. So what to do? 

The simple(!) answer is to remove them, bring them back to shore and even recycle the materials. Dismantling a rig in the middle of the North Sea is nigh on impossible with huge waves and regular inclement weather. Able spotted this opportunity several years ago and their heavy lift quay is one of the strongest accessible quays in the world. It also sits just near the mouth or a wide, deep river: the River Tees. So periodically, oil rigs are brought to shore and Able is one of the few sites that can take the weight of such huge structures. They then strip the rigs down safely on dry land. 



Ironically, the recycling of our old energy tech now takes place on the same site as our new forms of energy production. Offshore wind farms are making a huge difference to the UK’s generation of energy, often overtaking the amount generated by fossil fuels across a year. The North East coast is often referred to as the Energy Coast and a quick look at a map of offshore wind shows how many turbines there are now and in the future. 

The world’s biggest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank is being constructed around 100 miles out from Redcar. The turbines used are some of the biggest in the world and their parts constructed in different places. Able uses the site of the heavy lift quay to marshal all the parts together before they are floated out to the construction site on huge barges. You can often see the turbines waiting to go out to sea from all over Teesside, they are taller than most buildings. In fact, when constructed the top of the turbine blades will be higher than Eston Nab.



Other resources

Visit their website for more information about their Seaton site

Removing a rig from its position out at sea

The rig arrives!

The process laid out in high speed

Recycling the rig with facts

Range of resources from Spark about renewable energy