Soraidh leis an àit
Farewell to the great place

I made three visits to Murchison between 2014 and 2016, where I recorded this platform’s final months of production, its decommissioning phase and abandonment. Murchie, as she was affectionately known, was famous not only for oil production but for her five star meals and welcoming atmosphere, so vital to morale whilst working in such confined, extreme and remote environments.

A far cry from the North, Murchison: Northern North Sea part 1, part 2, part 3, 2017, mixed media on paper, 655mm x 1010mm (each part) © Sue Jane Taylor. Photographer: Ewen Weatherspoon

It was ten years since I had been offshore. I was now about to travel back into this surreal world of survival suits, boiler suits, hard hats, regimental rules and safety procedures; a parallel universe which very few outsiders experience. My destination platform was Murchison, located in the northern North Sea, nearer to Norway than to mainland Britain. After 34 years of production, she was to be decommissioned and dismantled; to disappear physically, but to be remembered fondly by the offshore workers, her guardians, who had loyally served her.
- Sue Jane Taylor, Murchison diary, January 2014

Looking south onto Brent Field, Murchison’s helideck, 2014, graphite and watercolour, 580mm x 300mm © Sue Jane Taylor. Photographer: Ewen Weatherspoon

Looking north on Murchison’s helideck, 2014, graphite and watercolour, 290mm x 150mm © Sue Jane Taylor. Photographer: Ewen Weatherspoon

Climbing the flare tower

Watch more artist films from Murchison here. 

I hardly recognised the place, once full of people, now empty and haunting; offices now abandoned, some piled full of furniture and junk. I imagined and recalled individuals who had once been busily working away in these spaces, now only ghostly images in my head. People from drilling crew and production, all of whom I had interviewed, endlessly working to keep production going – targets, maintenance and repair, services now all gone. I wondered where they all were now, working on other platforms, retired or at home awaiting re-employment.
- Sue Jane Taylor, Murchison diary, March 2016

Header image: A far cry from the North, Murchison: northern North Sea part 2, 2017, mixed media on paper, 655mm x 1010mm © Sue Jane Taylor. Photographer: Ewen Weatherspoon

All words within these pages are from the artist © Sue Jane Taylor. 

The Driller’s telephone, Murchison oil and Visgage viscosity comparator were donated to National Museums Scotland by Canadian Natural Resources International (U.K.) Ltd.

 

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