At seven o'clock on Wednesday (July 4th evening, engineers blew the flotation tanks to sink the world's largest oil production platform, Graythorp 1, into place over British Petroleum's Forties Field in Britain's sector of the North Sea.
Aerial shot of rig being towed out of the Tees Estuary
CU Bows of rig flotation chambers
MS(2) Tugs towing rig at sea
MS 'Forties Field' painted on side of ship
(2) LS Tugs pulling rig
(2) LS Rig at anchor against sunrise
Zoom out from tug to see rig and crane barges
Zoom into computer hut on rear of tug
Pan from to rig
MS Gas blowing from floating chambers
LS Tug in foreground gas flowing from rig flotation chambers
Zoom out from CU of gas blowing from flotation chambers to see rig up ending into sea
CU Gas sphere on side of rig sinking
LS Rig at 45 degree angle in water
film missing March 1977
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Background: At seven o'clock on Wednesday (July 4th evening, engineers blew the flotation tanks to sink the world's largest oil production platform, Graythorp 1, into place over British Petroleum's Forties Field in Britain's sector of the North Sea. The four hundred foot high rig had been towed three hundred miles by four ocean-going tugs from Teeside, where it was built, to a position a hundred and ten miles off the Scottish fishing port of Aberdeen. For forty-eight hours the rig lay on its side buoyed up on its flotation chambers as the engineers waited for a weather window that would give them for clear days to sink the rig and then pin it to the sea floor with twelve piles driven 240ft into the sea bed. It would then be secure enough to withstand sixty foot waves. But before the winter storms begin a total of forty-four piles will be needed to make it safe enough to withstand the worst the North Sea can offer. The designers were told to anticipate waves of up to 94ft high and winds of up to 130 miles an hour. Nobody has attempted to harvest oil from such a hostile environment before.
From Greythorp 1 a total of 27 oil wells will an out into the oil field thousands of feet below the sea bed. By autumn 1975, the rig will be pumping a 100,000 barrels of crude oil a day into a pipeline along the sea bed to the Scottish coast.
SYNOPSIS: Saturday, June 29th, the base section of Greythorpe One - the world's largest oil production platform - is towed out from the Tees Estuary of Britain's North Sea Coast to begin her three hundred mile journey to British Petroleum's Forties Field - a hundred miles off Aberdeen in Scotland.
Greythorpeds one of the largest structures ever taken to sea - even without working decks and derrick, she towered four hundred feet high. She marks the beginning of the final phase in Britain's race to exploit her vast new oil fields in the North Sea. In about twelve months, the rig will begin pumping a hundred thousand barrells of crude oil ashore each day.
On the journey out, the North Sea showed her kindest mood, the operation - which had the complexity of a space shot - gained two days but then the sea changed and put the operation in suspension as the engineers waited again for the four-day clear-weather "window" they needed to sink Greythorpe in position and secure her to the sea floor.
The Computer finally gave the 'go' signal at seven o'clock on Wednesday evening (July 3rd). Radio signals triggered the flooding of the eight massive stern-flotation tanks that would tilt the twenty-thousand ton structure forty-five degrees into the water.
The final stage when the rig base would be flooded into the vertical position and made ready for fixing to the sea bed four hundred feet below began later that night.