Offshore oil platforms have an immense presence, physically, financially and environmentally.
Offshore oil platforms have an immense presence, physically, financially and environmentally. Some 6,000 rigs pump petroleum and natural gas worldwide. But as they extract hydrocarbons from deep beneath the sea, these structures undergo a transformation invisible from above the waves. The ocean claims the platforms’ enormous substructures and converts them into vertical reefs, home to millions of individual plants and animals.
While decommissioning a platform is a tall order, a growing number have found new purpose as human-made reefs. Now, researchers at UC Santa Barbara have published a comprehensive study of the history, ecology and pragmatics of rigs-to-reefs efforts in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management.
In addition to assembling information from across a large corpus of work, the scientists hope the study will help inform California residents and policymakers as they decide what to do with platforms slated for retirement off its coast.
Read more at University of California-Santa Barbara
Photo: The industrial visage of oil platform Gilda off the California coast contrasts sharply with the vibrant reef that has formed below it. CREDIT: ANN SCARBOROUGH BULL