Summary of Where Oil Rigs Go to Die

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When oil rigs are no longer in service, their owners must take them somewhere for disassembly. According to Guardian reporter Tom Lamont, disposing of the world’s excess oil rigs is a highly complex and risky undertaking. For his in-depth investigative report, Lamont followed the adventurous journey of Transocean Ltd’s oil rig, the Transocean Winner, from the North Sea to its final destination in Turkey. getAbstract recommends Lamont’s informative essay to business leaders in the oil exploration and shipping industries. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the world has a surplus of oil rigs,
  • Where companies dispose of the oil rigs they no longer use, and
  • Why reputational issues are becoming an increasingly important consideration when choosing a shipbreaking yard.

About the Author

Tom Lamont is a writer for the Guardian and the Observer.



The sharp decline in global oil prices has led to an oversupply in oil rigs. In 2015 alone, oil rig owners decommissioned more than 40 rigs. While it costs money to “cold-stack” – that is, anchor and maintain – a rig, selling it for scrap generates at least some income. Transocean Ltd.’s 17,000–metric ton rig, the Transocean Winner, caught headlines when it ran into a storm and stranded off the rocky coast of the Isle of Lewis in Scotland. In an expensive salvage operation, the Dutch firm SMIT repaired the ailing rig and lifted it onto a heavy-lifting ship. The Hawk then transported the rig south past Spain and Portugal and into the Mediterranean Sea to Malta, where Transocean filed the necessary paperwork to send the rig to its final destination – a shipbreaking yard in Turkey. 

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