North Sea Infrastructure – Defence Applications?

Offshore barge

On one of the recent open threads, the subject of decommissioned North Sea oil and gas infrastructure came up, and if there were any defence applications for any of it.

An interesting subject that is worth a post of its own.

The decommissioning process is going to be a massive, multi-billion Pound activity with some novel engineering; current ideas seem to focus on complete removal, or, at a pinch, using some of it for carbon capture or offshore wind.


The Royal Academy of Engineering produced a very good report with all the background you could want, click here to read, but briefly, there are about 600 installations that will need decommissioning in some manner.

Click the image for a full-screen map of them all.

FireShot Capture -  - http___www.offshore-mag.com_content_dam_offshore_print-articles_Volume 73


There are many different types of platform and the visible platform is like the proverbial tip of the iceberg, much more exists on the sea bed, as illustrated by the image below.

Gas ops


The question was, are there any defence applications?

A few ideas;

  • Training facility for special forces
  • Radar or sonar platform
  • MCM range
  • Submarine rescue test area
  • An ideal place to put a certain Able Seaman (that was a joke by the way)
  • Instrumented test range far away from land
  • Search and rescue helicopter refuelling station
  • or perhaps somewhere to put migrants awaiting processing (another joke by the way, just in case you were wondering)

Or is the whole notion bonkers?

Some of the facilities are single platforms, some will likely be complexes of multiple platforms.


I don’t know why, but Ekofisk (image above) reminds me of the WWII Maunsell Forts, like Red Sands below, in much shallower water of course.



And just in case you were wondering about the weather, have a spot of Rod Stewart

Or a video without the musical backing!




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