The SEE Monster, a decommissioned North Sea oil platform that has been converted into an art installation, landed in Weston-super-Mare yesterday. How have other people reused oil rigs?
As the energy sector moves away from oil and gas and towards renewables, creative ideas are popping up around what to do with old platforms. Here are Energy Voice’s top pics for creative reuse of oil rigs, and one proposed project.
SEE Monster – Art installation in Weston-super-Mare
Starting with the project of the moment, the SEE Monster is a decommissioned topside, turned art installation that opened today at the Tropicana in Weston-super-Mare.
The people behind the SEE Monster said: “It will explore the concept of inherited structures, be those physical, social, or environmental.
“What do we do with the structures we inherit? How do they play a part in our lives, and what actions can they inspire both individually and universally?
“With landscapes weaved throughout the structure that work to amplify SEE MONSTER’s message, the project poses a question of how pre-existing ideas can be challenged and changed through creativity.”
The installation is powered by renewable energy, “in celebration of the Great British Weather and British eccentricity.” And as part of an “overgrown garden”, a Garden Lab area will also showcase a range of new renewable technologies.
The Rig – Theme Park in Saudi Arabia
Multi-billion pound plans are on the table to turn a former offshore oil and gas platform into a theme park
Earmarked for off the coast of Saudi Arabia, the proposals are to include three hotels with up to 800 rooms, 11 restaurants, and a range of activities including extreme sports, a water park, diving activities, theme park rides, retail space and live shows.
The Rig showcases the possibilities on offer if you have the imagination, and cash, to make it happen.
Backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which recently took over Newcastle Football Club, the project will measure in at 150,000 square metres.
Offshore Drilling Rig Museum in Galveston, Texas
The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center in Galveston, Texas, is a classic example of how to repurpose an oil and gas platform.
Opening as a museum in 1997, this retired jack-up drilling rig operated in the Gulf of Mexico from 1969 to 1984, drilling over 200 wells in that time.
Anyone planning doesn’t need to worry about getting wet feet. Despite being located on the water there is a pedestrian footbridge that connects the rig to the pier, where the gift shop can be found.
The museum’s self-guided tour takes most visitors about an hour and a half, factoring in all of the facility’s videos, information and interactive exhibits.
With three floors of exhibits, visitors can expect film presentations, video kiosks, interactive displays, actual examples of equipment, like drill bits and ROVs.
It also has scale models of the different kinds of rigs used to explore and produce, and informational exhibits about careers, the environment, history, safety, and regulations.
Seaventures – Eco-resort off the coast of Borneo
A decommissioned oil rig in the middle of the Celeb Sea has found a new lease of life as a resort for lovers of scuba diving.
“A stone’s throw away from the famous Sipadan”, this resort offers guests the opportunity to dive in the coral triangle of Borneo.
With unlimited house reef dives, “guests are able to simply step right off the rig” and “dive directly underneath”.
If guests tire themselves of diving, they can also enjoy occasional BBQ nights and live music.
The Seaventures team said: “The accommodation on the rig is simple, clean and comfortable, perfect for scuba diving junkies who want to maximise their diving experience.
“With our highly acclaimed food, excellent service and hospitality, Seaventures oil rig provides an experience like no other.”
Platform Holly – Coral Reef off the Santa Barbara coast
This decommissioned oil platform now serves as the skeleton of a colourful and vibrant underwater ecosystem.
The steel pylons that stretch for more than 400ft (120m) to the ocean floor are now home to fish, crabs, mussels and starfish.
The practice of converting decommissioned oil platforms into coral reefs not only benefits the environment, but also saves time and effort.
The idea of repurposing a decommissioned oil rig as a coral reef is not a new one.
First proposed nearly 40 years ago in 1984, the US Congress approved the National Fishing Enhancement Act. This recognised the benefits of artificial reefs and, encouraged states to come up with plans to turn defunct rigs into reefs.
Oil rig museum in Rubislaw quarry
Architect George Simpson proposed the idea of recycling an oil rig into a museum, visitors centre and underwater restaurant.
Originally proposed in 2018, the project fell through amidst competition to use the space.
Mr Simpson told the Press and Journal in March: “It never happened and I just wonder how many people in Aberdeen have actually managed to get to a rig.
“To me, the idea of having an energy museum on an oil rig is a very good one.
“Some are more keen on it being in the harbour, like it is in Texas.
“It could be anywhere but it is going to be essential for Aberdeen and just has to be looked at.”
Honourable mention: Well-Safe Guardian – Black Widow special effects
Not a decommissioned rig but worth a mention on a list of notable uses for platforms, the Well-Safe Guardian hosted the special effects crew of Marvel’s Black Widow in August 2019.
The crew came aboard the Nigg based rig to capture “textured photography” for the blockbuster movie.
Using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanners, a specialist VFX photographer captured details of the rig needed as a reference to create visual effects on screen for the film production.
A Well-Safe spokesperson said: “Essentially the imagery would be used to help create the texture and feel in the world they create in the film through CGI and visual effects over green screen.”
This was not the first time the Well-Safe Guardian has appeared on screen as it also featured on the TV show “SAS: Who Dares Wins”