RGU photography students focus on Marathon Oil’s Brae Bravo platform
Communication Design student, Heather Allan, behind the lens on Marathon Oil’s Brae Bravo platform.

Communication Design student, Heather Allan, behind the lens on Marathon Oil’s Brae Bravo platform.

Life on Marathon Oil’s Brae Bravo platform has been captured for posterity by a team of talented photography students to mark the end of production on the installation.

A team of four photography students from Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Gray’s School of Art spent six months last year taking pictures of the North Sea installation and its workforce for the Traces exhibition.

BA Hons Communication Design students Lauren Smith, Heather Allen and Sean Steen worked with BA Commercial Photography student Lewis Gault to capture offshore workers in their work setting.

The project, which began in February, was commissioned by Marathon Oil to mark the end of production on Brae Bravo after 30 years of operations.

The students took thousands of photographs during the project and whittled their selection down to 34 images to complete the exhibition which was displayed at the Marathon Oil offices in Aberdeen over the summer.

The company ran a similar exhibition on the Brae Bravo platform before making the images available to purchase through a silent auction, with all proceeds being given to charity.

Philip Cremin, operations manager at Marathon Oil, said: “We’d like to thank the students for their hard work on this project. Their dedication to photograph Brae Bravo and its workforce has been second to none and the final exhibition photos they have chosen are fantastic.

“Brae Bravo has been an integral part of our North Sea operations and we are delighted that the Traces exhibition showcases the platform and the great work that is done offshore to provide safe, clean and responsible operations.”

Since 1988, the Brae field has produced 47million barrels of oil, welcomed more than 15,000 offshore workers, and received 10,000 flights as well as a quarter of a million tonnes of freight.

Chris Wicks, decommissioning compliance manager for Marathon Oil, added: “Through their photography, the students have really captured the essence of Brae Bravo and what it has meant to the people who have worked on the platform for the last 30 years.

“The exhibition provides us with the story behind the structure of the platform and highlights the personalities who have worked on the installation.

“With production now ended, Brae Bravo moves in to a post-production phase which I’m sure will be an exciting new chapter for the platform which will provide new opportunities for further innovation and artistic creativity in the years ahead.”

In a first for student’s at Gray’s School of Art, the team had to complete their Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET) training so they could travel to and spend time on Brae Bravo for the project.

They also spent time at Marathon Oil’s Peterhead facility and onboard an Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel (ERRV).

Lauren Smith said: “This has been an amazing project to be part of with Marathon Oil. We had to try to capture an experience we personally hadn't had and to do that we got to meet a lot of interesting and lovely people.

“Working on the exhibition was exciting as it was going to be the first time we got to see reactions to our work, we were all nervous and excited about that.

“My personal highlight of the project was getting to go offshore and doing our Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training. That is something that students from Gray’s School of art have never done before which was very exciting. “

Callum Kellie, technical services officer at Gray's School of Art, has overseen the student's participation in the project and is proud of their completed exhibition.

He said: "We were delighted to be approached by Marathon Oil to work on this photography project and exhibition to mark the end of production on the Brae Bravo platform after 30 years. Having worked offshore myself, I understood the importance of the community that this project was instigated to document.

"Lauren, Heather, Sean and Lewis have done a great job and their photographs have really captured the spirit of the platform and brought out the personality of those who work there.

“All four of the participating students have developed their skills during this project thanks to the support and mentoring they have received from both Marathon Oil and the staff of Gray's School of Art.

"The exhibition is a fantastic collection of some of their best images and it presented the perfect stage to celebrate those who have made Bravo what it is. We are delighted by the response the student's work has received from both Marathon Oil's on and off-shore staff, and that the work is on display in Marathon Oil's offices as well as on Brae Bravo itself.

"RGU has very strong links with the global energy industry and this project is another great example of collaborative working that allowed our students to showcase their creative design as well as project management skills at a professional level."

More like this…

View all