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Ahead of Schedule (clip 1)

Oil rig construction in the Highlands

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A record of the construction of 'Highland Two', the second of two major oil drilling and production structures for British Petroleum's Forties Field, at the Nigg Yard of Highlands Fabricators. The film follows the engineering techniques employed, enabling completion of the structure seven weeks ahead of schedule. This clip includes shots of Highland Two being floated, Dr Jack Birks, Managing Director of BP Trading Ltd giving a speech at the launch. Shots of welders at work, scaffolding, panels lifted into position by crane and general construction.

Questions & Activities


  • What is being made?
  • Where is the yard and where is the Forties Field?
  • Why do you think this film was made and who do you think saw it?
  • What is oil used for?
  • Which parts of Scotland benefit the most from oil?
  • How much do oil rigs cost and how long do they take to build?
  • Who are BP and what do they do?
  • What were the men with the helmets actually doing?
  • Why are they wearing such strange helmets?
  • What energy sources is Scotland looking to develop?
  • How did the oil become to be beneath the North Sea?
  • What do you think life is like on an oil rig?
  • What might be the dangers of working on a oil rig and what are the dangers of drilling in the sea?
  • What are the dangers to the environment and wildlife of drilling at sea?


Research how much Scotland has benefited from oil. Is the oil in the North Sea really Scottish?

List and research all the terms you do not recognise.

Research what future uses are being planned for decommissioned oil rigs.

Research the consequences of the BP Oil Spill and present your findings for the environmental and business effects.

Research how international waters are drawn and how they are policed?

Build your own 3D model of an oil-rig.

What are mentioned as the key concerns for being 'Ahead of Schedule'?

Research how modern cranes are designed and function.What systems of control are in place?

Compare to sequences of Seawards the Great Ships. How are the films similar and different?

Repurpose the film explaining what an oil-rig is and what it does.

List the reasons mentioned why this project is ahead of schedule? Discuss the projects you have heard of that run over schedule and not necessarily to budget (e.g. Scottish Parliament)?

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-439-C
Resource Rights Holder Unknown
Project Ref 4209
Date 1974
Genre Documentary, Sponsored
School Subject Technologies, Media Studies, English, Art and Design, Environmental Studies, Geography
Subject Matter Business
Who Brown & Root-Wimpey Highlands Fabricators Ltd (sponsor), Highland Film Unit (producer)
Where Nigg, Highlands
Event Oil Rig, Engineering
Attributes Colour, Sound
Clip Length 10:16
Film Length 23:50