Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell is to use the world’s largest vessel to decommission its iconic Brent field in the North Sea.
Energy Voice travelled to Rotterdam to get a behind the scenes look at the ship ahead of the record breaking 24,000 ton lift of the Brent Delta topside this summer.
Created as both a heavy lift and a pipeline laying machine, the behemoth ship is nearly 400 metres long and more than 100 metres wide.
Using a state of the art dynamic positioning system and 16 custom built lift beams, it can position a defunct oil platform between its two hulls and jack it up off its legs in a day’s work.
It was created by Allseas, a Swiss based pipeline shipping contractor and cost around $3 billion to make.
As well as its heavy lift capabilities a large structure known as ‘the stinger’ cab be attached to help lower pipeline safely to the seabed.
The aft deck also features a pipeline fabrication factory, where 12metre pipes are welded into sections.
The Pioneering Spirit is captained by Fred Regtop.
It has accommodation for nearly 600 crew as well as boasting some more unusual features such as a ‘karaoke room’.
The hulls displace almost 900,000 tons of water – giving it the edge over longer hulled ships who have tried to claim the ‘world’s biggest ship’ title.