HUNDREDS of people gathered on Bournemouth Pier to see off the town’s oddest attraction – the exploration drilling rig in Poole Bay.

After nearly two months, the ENSCO 72 was towed away to a new location in the North Sea.

Bournemouth Echo:

Picture by Gary Ellson, Bliss Aviation

A spokesman for Corallion energy, which hired the rig to explore the Colter Prospect for oil, said: “The well was plugged and after a short delay waiting for a weather window, the rig is now out of Poole Bay.”

The rig arrived in early February to assess oil levels between the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks. Despite missing its original exploration mark, the ‘jack-up’ rig continued drilling, striking oil and gas.

It’s now thought Colter South could yield 15 million barrels of oil, but, said the company: “Further work will be required to refine this assessment with the new well data.”