A monster engineering challenge

Joe Glass who has invented a new, cheaper way of decommissioning oil platforms.

Joe Glass who has invented a new, cheaper way of decommissioning oil platforms.

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A Blyth engineer is hoping to slash billions of pounds from taxpayers’ bill for the offshore industry with his new invention.

Marine engineer Joe Glass, who has extensive experience in the oil and gas industry, has come up with a new way of transporting platforms back to shore when their useful life comes to an end.

Currently, it involves specialist ships, which command huge hire charges, and with more than 400 North Sea oil platforms ready to be decommissioned, Joe says the cost, along with restoring the seabed, is estimated at between $30bn and $100bn over the next 20 years, with the government covering 75 per cent of it.

However, as managing director UK of Seaways Engineering International, he has invented a Novel Extended Semi-Submersible, dubbed NESSIE, which he said can be built at ten per cent of the cost of the ships currently used and operated at a much lower rate.

Funding has already been secured for a desktop study, detailed animation and tank testing facility for a model, but a further £20,000 is needed to make a full-size prototype.

“This is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, but I know that once the oil and gas industry see the benefits of NESSIE they will invest in her,” said Joe

“I’d love to have a fleet of NESSIEs built in the north east of England while we still have the experience and technical know-how to do it.

“This could be a major jobs boost for the region at a time when steelworks and shipyards are closing down.”