Guardian: ‘Festooned with cranes, oil pipelines and manned by a crew of several hundred, the Pioneering Spirit sits in the port of Rotterdam like a giant marine version of a forklift truck. Next month this vessel, one of the world’s largest ships, will arrive in the North Sea and attempt to remove the 24,500-tonne top of a Shell oil rig installed during the oil boom years of the 1970s. If successful it will be the heaviest ever single lift of a rig’s “topside”, and only the second by this purpose-built $3bn (£2.4bn) ship. More than 100 rigs are due to be decommissioned in UK and Norwegian waters over the next 10 years at a cost of billions to oil companies and taxpayers. The dismantling of the Delta rig in the Brent oil field is not the first such job in the UK but is believed to be the biggest.

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