Following the successful single lift of the Brent Delta topside by the Allseas vessel Pioneering Spirit on 28 April 2017, and the tow -in to Able UK’s Seaton Port (Able) yard in Hartlepool on 02 May, Shell’s Brent Decommissioning Project team were delighted to welcome over 630 visitors to a series of events from June 20-24, for a last chance to see the Delta topside before it is dismantled and recycled.

Shell and Able jointly- hosted four events, each aimed at a different group of stakeholders, including: VIPs; Shell staff, pensioners and contractors; school and college students; and the local communities from the Hartlepool area.

‘We wanted to celebrate and commemorate Delta’s contribution and history, and the successful execution of the heaviest offshore single lift,’ Duncan Manning, Brent Asset Manager, explained. ‘We had a unique opportunity to invite people to see the Delta topside close up, showcase the Pioneering Spirit’s technical achievement in safely removing the 24,200tonne topside, and inform the local community about how Able would be dismantling and recycling the Delta.‘

There was such an obvious interest from so many people when Delta arrived at Seaton Port, who lined the route along the coast to witness the tow-in, and incredible coverage from international, UK, and local media. We also received so many requests from our own staff who had worked on Delta to have a last opportunity to see it, that we were happy to extend the invitation to a wide number of groups over the week’.

To accommodate the anticipated numbers of visitors, and ensure everyone would have a close-up view of the Delta, Shell and Able transformed the quayside, setting up a large marquee and viewing gallery, exhibitions, videos, and a collection of artefacts and mementos retrieved from the platform.

‘We even removed a lifeboat, and erected steps to a small platform so people could safely see the interior, with the seats and hatches still intact.  This was a very popular exhibit,’ said Manning. ‘Telling the Brent story was very important for us, as we are proud of the history of the Brent field, and its contribution to the energy requirements of the UK.  Equally we wanted to highlight the contribution of the many people who have worked on Delta over the years, and provide an insight into life offshore for anyone less familiar with the oil and gas industry.’

At the VIP day on 20 June, the Brent team were joined by Peter Stephenson, Executive Chairman of the Able group of companies, and Edward Heerema, President of Allseas, who was the driving force behind the development of the Pioneering Spirit. Guests included representatives from the Oil & Gas Authority, The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Decom North Sea, Scottish Enterprise, local North East of England politicians, council officials and business leaders, and members of the Brent Project’s Independent Review Group.

Uniquely, the guests were offered guided tours of the topside, where they were able to access the structure and experience first -hand the living quarters, and operational areas. The tours were conducted by some of the staff who had worked on the platform.  They shared their experiences and memories of living and working on Delta, and the community spirit developed over the 40 years of its offshore operations.

One hundred and seventeen students aged 14-17yrs, representing seven local schools and colleges, participated in the Education Day on Wednesday 23 June, aimed at encouraging an interest in engineering and the STEM subjects. The students learned about the wide range of jobs involved in the oil and gas sector, the emerging opportunities in decommissioning, Able’s apprenticeship scheme, and how the platform would be dismantled.

The Community Open Day on Saturday 24 June attracted almost 300 people, and required three separate sessions to accommodate the demand. The event was also covered by the local media, with extensive articles appearing in the Hartlepool Mail and Evening Gazette, and online.  ‘Delta dominates the skyline at Seaton Port and many people are aware of the benefits to the area from the investment in the strengthened Quay 6, and the creation and safeguarding of local jobs,’ said Manning. 

All the visitor events generated very favourable comments, and there was a great deal of appreciation from Shell staff and pensioners for the opportunity to revisit Delta, network with old colleagues, and recount the many anecdotes from 40 years of working on the platform. 

Preparations and inspections of the topside structure are now underway at Able’s yard, ahead of dismantling.  It is expected that over 97% of the topside will be recycled, and the work should take around 12 months to complete. 

To find out more about the incredible engineering feat of the Delta single lift, watch the videos on the Brent Decommissioning website at


Share this event


Become a Member

Decom Mission membership gives you and your team access to networking, events, and knowledge to help you build connections and grow your business in the decommissioning sector. Join our global membership and boost your business.

Membership Enquiry About Us
Keep Signed In

Update Password?