Three days after the ceremony, the first tanker laden with Ekofisk oil could depart from the export jetties.
A golf course now covers the site where the oil comes ashore, and the actual terminal area is close to the local Phillips refinery.
This area is actually split in two. The tank farm for the crude stands at Greatham, while Seal Sands is the location for the deepwater export jetties and seven stabilising units.
The latter desalinate the crude and remove natural gas liquids (NGLs) for fractionation into liquefied petroleum gases.
Substantial amounts have been spent on treatment facilities, and waste water discharged from the area is cleaner than the existing flow in the nearby River Tees.
Plans called for the whole terminal to be ready for the opening, but a series of mishaps during the construction work meant only about 50 per cent had been completed.
First, the oil crisis following the Yom Kippur war had unfortunate consequences. The steel to be used was delayed and, when it finally arrived, failed to meet the strict specifications.
In addition, this was a very tumultuous period in British labour relations, with strikes and go-slow actions hitting progress. Much remained to be done at both terminal and port.
Perhaps the biggest problem was that the facility could not accept NGL. Large quantities of these fractions were produced from Ekofisk, and a solution to them had to be found on the field. Teesside only began taking NGL in March 1979.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Kvendseth, Stig S, Giant Discovery. A History of Ekofisk Through the First 20 Years, 1988: 97-98.
Ekofisk tank receives its first oilFire on Ekofisk 2/4 A