So, what usually happens when facilities like these aren’t needed anymore? Oil and gas are mined from fields (even though most of them are beneath the sea!) and when all the fuel has been mined, the facilities must be taken apart and the area returned to its natural condition, this is known as decommissioning. A lot of rigs are currently reaching the end of their lifespans, so there will be a lot more decommissioning over the next 5-10.
The three criss-crossy towers on the left are legs of an oil rig that is currently being decommissioned. This rig is called a ‘jackup rig’, they usually have 3 legs; however, it is not uncommon to find some with 4, 6 or 8 legs. The barge (the platform area where the work happens) of the jackup rig has “holes” where these legs can be lowered all the way onto the bottom of the sea to act as stabilizers when the rig is drilling into the seafloor to extract oil or gas, or raised to the air when the rig is moving around.
The large gasometer (the massive cylindrical structure where gas is stored and measured) wasn’t decommissioned, but was kept and used for storage. This structure is a part of our landscape here in Dundee now, at one point there were plans to turn it into a giant Dundee Cake, but that idea was never fully baked. The plan is to keep the gasometer as a nod to our past when the site becomes the home to Eden Project Dundee in 2024.
Research by Stephanie Crowe
Words by Poppy Jarratt
Illustration by Dana Ulama