Sep 16

North Sea Oil Day

North Sea Oil
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Oil Rig
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"A broken necklace of crofts
strewn across the sandstone floor
of the north Caithness coast
these sea-beat parishes where the fields
are sea-tang & the hay has herring-dream
in root & stalk
this is where Scotland stops & starts
here faces turn to check the Pentland Firth’s
anxious coupling of North Sea
to Atlantic Ocean
the incessant urgency of tide upon tide
& these same faces when the night
opens her black windows to them
look up to see the infinite cod roe
of the stars above"

~ The Coast of Widows, George Gunn

This tartan pays tribute to Brendan McKeown (1925-2011), the petroleum engineer famously credited with bringing ashore the UK's first sample of North Sea Oil in a pickle jar on the 16th September 1969. The tartan design is meant as respectful memorial in remembrance of the many lives lost in the hazardous offshore environment, the flame in the tartan significantly remembering Piper Alpha 6th July 1988, the world's deadliest offshore oil accident. The geometry depicts the exploration, discovery and development of North Sea oil and gas fields. Colours: black, brown and gold together create the colour palette of raw crude oil, the gold accent also alluding to the flare boom of the North Sea oil rigs; dark blue, as also when woven together with black, represents the North Sea and associated gas industry; the light and dark grey stripes depict the sedimentary nature of the sea bed, with three prominent lighter grey stripes significantly representing the three castles of Aberdeen City's coat of arms.

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This tartan, designed by Steven Patrick Sim, commemorates the discovery of oil in the North Sea off the Scottish coast. 


Register notes:


Created to commemorate North Sea Oil, the tartan not only recognises the economic significance of oil, Scotland's black gold, but also remembers the challenges and personal sacrifices made by oil and gas workers in the North Sea Oil and Gas Industry. 


The tartan pays tribute to Brendan McKeown OBE (1925-2011), the petroleum engineer famously credited with bringing ashore the UK's first sample of North Sea Oil in a pickle jar on the 16th September 1969. This inaugural finding of the first commercialised North Sea oil well has been recognised as a seminal moment in Scotland's industrial history. The North Sea Oil tartan was established as a commemorative tartan 45 years after this historic discovery, on the 16th September 2014. 


The tartan acts as a respectful memorial in remembrance of the many lives lost in the hazardous offshore environment, the flame in the tartan significantly remembering Piper Alpha 6th July 1988, the world's deadliest offshore oil accident. 


The geometry depicts the exploration, discovery and development of North Sea oil and gas fields. Colours: black, brown and gold together create the colour palette of raw crude oil, the gold accent also alluding to the flare boom of the North Sea oil rigs; dark blue, as also when woven together with black, represents the North Sea and associated gas industry; the light and dark grey stripes depict the sedimentary nature of the sea bed, with three prominent lighter grey stripes significantly representing the three castles of Aberdeen City's coat of arms. Due to this enterprising city's contribution to the development and commercialisation of North Sea Oil, it became known as the Oil Capital of Europe. 



For more on the biggest North Sea oil project in recent years, click the oil rig. 

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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