North Sea, Offshore Scotland
Year Constructed
Structural Engineering Firm(s)
Structural Engineer(s)
Bill Martinovich, S.E.
Structure Description

The Thistle oil field is a large oil field in the Northern sector of the North Sea. The oil field, discovered in September 1972 by Signal Oil and Gas Company, is produced by the Thistle platform, located 125 nautical miles Northeast of Sumburgh, Shetland Islands and 275 nautical miles Northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland.  The Thistle Alpha platform is a fixed installation, which consists of a 60-slot drilling and production platform. It was built at the Graythorp Dry Dock, Teeside.  The jacket is a conventional steel tower structure approximately 183 m [600 ft] tall with a base measuring 85m [300] by 82m [270ft] and weighs 31,500 tonnes with an integral Module Sub Frame and is secured by steel piles driven 143m [470 ft]  into the seabed. The Thistle Alpha platform was installed and completed in 1976. The installation comprises a steel jacket with four main legs, supporting 36 modules arranged on 3 deck levels. 28 of these modules contain the equipment and machinery, which constitute the production, utilities, drilling systems and facilities. The remaining 8 modules situated on the southeast end of the installation contain living quarters for 180 men, offices, the central control room, the helideck and workshops. The platform was installed on the jacket in 1978.

Thistle Field Platform - Ocean Tow
Thistle Field Platform Ocean Tow

Significance to Structural Engineering History in Northern California

One of the first North Sea Oil production platforms.  Tower transported and installed in 1977.