Since pipelines to land had yet to be installed, the crude was loaded into shuttle tankers while the gas was flared – the only safe way to get rid of it as the oil came up.
Teddy Broadhurst started work on Gulftide in January 1972, and well remembers the powerful gas flare burning high above the deck:
On certain days, when the wind was blowing from a particular direction, the flame blew across the facility and made things extremely hot – particularly down on the deck.
One person decided to see how long it would take to fry an egg on the deck plates. We knew it was hot, because we did a lot of fishing and your first catch would end up cooked if you didn’t take note.
So we tried with eggs, and took photographs of the process. These show that it didn’t take long before the white began cooking. I think frying took about four minutes.
Another episode occurred when sand came on board in plastic sacks for sand-blasting:
We went off for our coffee break, and the sacks had disappeared by the time we got back. The plastic had melted, leaving behind a pile sand. The rest of the equipment coped with the heat, but it could be hot for us workers, too. I remember I climbed up to reattach an antenna which had come loose, and ended up with burns on my skin exposed between glove and boiler suit because I was stretching.