Capturing the Energy

Our understanding of the historic environment is increasing and this continues to influence how we present and enhance it.

Organisation: University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Project title: Capturing the Energy

Murchison oil platform 1982 © University of Aberdeen Special Collections

The Capturing the Energy project aims to ensure that important records about the Scotland and the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry are retained for the future. Its specific aims are therefore to document the industry’s achievements, increase awareness of its importance, and assess its economic and social impact. To this end, it hopes to ensure the collection and preservation of documents, photographs and audio/video material that will inform and inspire current and future generations.

The group includes representatives from operators, industry professional bodies, individuals who have been involved in the industry, academics and business archivists. The group also collaborates with BEIS (The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and ensures that decommissioning guidance directs companies not to destroy valuable historic records during decommissioning programmes or periods of asset transfer.

Current activities include liaison with Shell relating to the decommissioning of the Brent field, and the acquisition and cataloguing of records relating to CNRI’s iconic Murchison field. There has also been active collaboration with colleagues in Norway at the Oil Museum in Stavanger, especially in relation to the recently decommissioned Frigg Gas Field, which at its height supplied over 40% of the UK’s gas and ensured the closure of coal-fired gas works across the country.

The nature, extent and importance of the offshore oil and gas industry in Scotland is under-recognised, and in most circles, taken for granted. The gravity of its economic contribution is therefore often overlooked, as is the enormity of the technological achievements and the sheer scale of the structures that make up the industry. This project therefore aims to ensure records survive and that they are, as much as is possible, made accessible to the public.

Which OPiT key performance indicator is the project contributing to? Main: 7 – Improve access to knowledge on the historic environment.

6 – Increase customer focus of knowledge created on the historic environment.

Contact name: Dr Miles Oglethorpe
Contact email:
Relevant web links:

Reviewed: October 2019