Gulf Hurricanes Triple Requests for Rigs-to-Reefs
BATON ROUGE, La. Damage to offshore oil and gas platforms from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has tripled the number of requests to converts rigs into artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries usually gets 10 to 12 requests each year to use abandoned rigs to create fish habitat. But that number has soared to 40 requests this year, Rick Kasprzak, program manager of the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program, told The Advocate of Baton Rouge for a story in Monday's editions.
Oil and gas platforms in the program are located in federal waters, more than three miles off the Louisiana shore, with most between 35 and 75 miles out, clustered in nine approved planning areas. To date, 144 have been used as reefs.
This year's hurricanes damaged another 166 rigs.
The Louisiana Artificial Reef Council will soon decide evaluation criteria for which rigs are suitable to serve as artificial reefs, Kasprzak said. The assessments include potential effects on the environment, navigation and fishing interests.
Hurricane Ivan in 2004 didn't hit the Gulf of Mexico nearly as hard, passing over about 150 platforms, said Larry Wall, a spokesman for the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. Hurricane Katrina swept over 1,500 platforms, and Hurricane Rita passed over 1,600, he said.
Source: Associated Press