Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

360ft Blackford Dolphin oil rig arrives in Belfast from Brazil to be refurbished at Harland & Wolff

The Blackford Dolphin oil rig at Harland & Wolff shipyard. Source: Mark Simpson/Twitter
The Blackford Dolphin oil rig at Harland & Wolff shipyard. Source: Mark Simpson/Twitter
The Blackford Dolphin oil rig at Harland & Wolff shipyard. Source: Mark Simpson/Twitter
The Blackford Dolphin oil rig at Harland & Wolff shipyard. Source: Mark Simpson/Twitter
The Blackford Dolphin oil rig at Harland & Wolff shipyard
The Blackford Dolphin oil rig at Harland & Wolff shipyard

Not even Belfast's tallest building is too big to fit beneath the colossal Samson and Goliath cranes – but the 360ft Blackford Dolphin oil rig is.

The giant offshore drilling platform has made its way from Brazil to Northern Ireland for maintenance, before being redeployed to the North Sea.

One of the biggest oil rigs ever to be refurbished at the Harland & Wolff shipyard was towed at a snail's pace across the Atlantic to Belfast, taking more than three months to get here.

The shipyard's landmark yellow gantry cranes, Samson and Goliath, have had to be moved along their tracks to the city end of the building dock for the 60-day duration of the refurbishment contract.

Around 1.2m tonnes of water had to removed from what is still the longest dock in the world to accommodate the rig, which has a rated water depth of 7,000ft and a drilling depth of 30,000 ft.

Some 600 skilled tradesmen, including welders, electricians, painters and engineers have been recruited to work on the project, with around a third of the temporary workers sourced from Northern Ireland.

Once the work is complete, the rig will begin its next drilling contract in the North Sea.

Aberdeen-based Dolphin Drilling Ltd awarded the contract – worth tens of millions of pounds – to Harland & Wolff for the dry-docking of the mammoth Blackford rig earlier this year.

David McVeigh, head of sales and marketing at Harland & Wolff, said the contract could lead to more lucrative new work in 2014.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz