This is why the world's largest vessel has arrived in Morecambe Bay

The world's largest vessel has arrived in Morecambe Bay where it will remove two gas rigs that are no longer in use.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 3:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:01 pm
At 382-metres-long (1,253 ft) and 124-metre-wide (407 ft), the Pioneering Spirit is the world's largest vessel by gross tonnage. Pic: kees torn/Creative Commons

At 382-metres-long (1,253 ft) and 124-metre-wide (407 ft), the Pioneering Spirit is the world's largest vessel by gross tonnage.

Built in South Korea by Daewoo, the massive crane vessel cost a staggering £2.3 billion and is designed specially for the removal of large oil and gas platforms.

It arrived in Morecambe Bay last night (Monday, April 5) and will soon set to work removing two unmanned gas rigs, operated by Spirit Energy.

Built in South Korea by Daewoo, the massive crane vessel cost a staggering £2.3 billion and is designed specially for the removal of large oil and gas platforms. Pic: Spirit Energy

The two 11,000-tonne platforms form part of Spirit Energy’s eight gas rigs in Morecambe Bay, which were installed in 1985. As the undersea gas field has matured, the reserves the platforms previously tapped into have been produced by the larger, manned Central Morecambe platform nearby.

The 12 wells which were connected to the two platforms (DP3 and DP4) have already been plugged and abandoned by the oil and gas operator.

The giant Swiss-owned Pioneering Spirit - which can lift up to 48,000-tonne topsides - will raise both platforms from the seabed and take them back to shore.

Unfortunately, the Morecambe Bay gas fields are 16 miles off the coast, therefore the giant vessel is unlikely to be visible from dry land.

Donald Martin, project manager at Spirit Energy, said: "After two years of preparing the DP3 and DP4 installations for removal, we’re now looking forward to one of the most significant milestones in the project with the removal of both platforms.

"Seeing the Pioneering Spirit in the East Irish Sea will be an impressive sight – its capacity and single-lift methodology made it a good fit to safely execute this project."

The gas field in Morecambe Bay continues to produce enough gas to heat one million U.K. homes every day, with most of the gas produced from the Central Morecambe, North Morecambe, DP6 and DP8 platforms.

All the gas produced in the Bay is then transported by pipeline to the Barrow Gas Terminals, where it is processed before entering the National Transmission System.

Did you know?

In 1974, the second largest gas field in the UK was discovered in Morecambe Bay, 25 miles (40 km) west of Blackpool, with original reserves of over 7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) (200 billion cubic metres).

At its peak, 15% of Britain's gas supply came from the Bay, but production is now in decline.