And now the good news about oil rigs

Apr 12, 2011
Brunei underwater platform and sea life. Picture courtesy of Shell

(PhysOrg.com) -- It might seem surprising that marine scientists are proposing a way for the oil and gas industry to save billions of dollars decommissioning old offshore rigs, but it's a plan where the main beneficiary is intended to be the environment.

In a new paper for the journal Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment, published by the Ecological Society of America, three scientists from the University of Technology, Sydney propose a large-scale expansion of the so-called "rigs-to-reefs" concept – leaving decommissioned rigs where they stand or moving them elsewhere to create artificial reefs.

Professor David Booth, Dr Peter Macreadie and Ashley Fowler have formed the Decommissioning Group to promote consideration of the idea, which Professor Booth took to the national congress of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association in Perth this week.

"The oil and gas industry worldwide is looking at the decommissioning of 6500 offshore rigs by 2025," Professor Booth said. "In Australia more than 60 rigs face decommissioning soon and government policy is still not set. Policy based on science is badly needed in this area.

"A rigs-to-reef project in the Gulf of Mexico dates back to 1979, but most other regions of the US and the world still require complete removal of subsea structures. With mandatory removal targets set to increase, removal and disposal activities will cost the industry billions and would leave a major carbon footprint."

In their article Macreadie, Fowler and Booth caution that a lot more research is needed, but artificial reefs potentially have important benefits in deep-sea locations.

"Rigs themselves have been described as 'de facto marine protected areas' because they exclude trawl fishing and their large internal spaces offer shelter to fish and other organisms," the authors said.

"Deep-sea communities in particular may benefit because the characteristics of their species (longevity, slow growth, late reproduction, low fecundity) make them highly vulnerable to exploitation.

"We suggest that a rigs-to-reef program in the deep sea, in conjunction with the establishment of marine protected areas, may offer a means of conserving deep-sea communities.

"Partnerships between scientists and industry, such as the SERPENT project, will improve the capacity for further research.

"We recommend that industry savings from a rigs-to-reef program should support independent research and monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of rigs in fulfilling their intended purpose as artificial reefs in the deep sea."

Explore further: Selective logging takes its toll on mammals, amphibians

More information: www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/100112

Provided by University of Technology, Sydney

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Quantum_Conundrum
1.5 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2011
Hey morons, isn't the metal worth something?

What about the carbon footprint it would save by recycling these materials as compared to mining and refining more metals?

You geniuses ever think of that?
rgwalther
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2011
Yes, the metal is worth something. The rig metal value is a small fraction of the cost of dismantling and moving the rig.
kaasinees
3.3 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2011
Hey morons, isn't the metal worth something?

Hey moron, how about the carbon footprint of removing it from the sea, moving it across land, tear it apart, move it across land and THEN to recycle it?
Bigblumpkin36
2.5 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2011
Hey morons, isn't the metal worth something?

What about the carbon footprint it would save by recycling these materials as compared to mining and refining more metals?

You geniuses ever think of that?


Realy dude are you that ignorant? I watched these guys sink a ww2 aircraft carrier for the same purpose. Why not let the navy use it for target practice, then i realized how dumb i sounded? kind of like you.
gunslingor1
4.3 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2011
Hey Morons, read between the lines. They goal here is to dispose of industrial waste by not disposing of it, rather, leaving it where it lies after we sucked the area dry of resources.

This has nothing to do with the environment. Look at all the "Could" and "mights" in the quotes. Like saying, "sure, dumping large quantities of mercury in the ocean COULD have certain benefits". Notice how there is no reciprocity, they do not even mention the POTENTIONAL harmful effects, and trust me, there are plenty.
gunslingor1
4 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2011
POTENTIALLY have important benefits in deep-sea locations..

Then again, the could POTENTIALLY NOT

Deep-sea communities in particular MAY benefit....

Then again, they MAY NOT

...MAY offer a means of conserving deep-sea communities.

Then again, it MAY NOT

Read carefully folks. There hasn't been any conclusive evidence that it is good for the environment, then again, there hasn't been any to the contrary. Fake of the matter, use common sense. Increasing the iron content of our oceans doesn't seem like an intentful thing to do, why do it? In my mind, an artificial reef is just as ugly as a garbage pile. Oil rings are full of toxic residues and byproducts. When one species benefits another is always hindered, why mess with something that has evolved to point perfection over billions of years.

I see no environmental advantage, humans have not yet been able to do better than nature.
zevkirsh
2 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2011
turn them into solar panel powered environmental sampling stations.....you can let the rig turn into a reef and still use it as a passive information gathering station. without having to have it 'manned'
gunslingor1
not rated yet Apr 13, 2011
turn them into solar panel powered environmental sampling stations.....you can let the rig turn into a reef and still use it as a passive information gathering station. without having to have it 'manned'


lol, that would be overkill. You just need a buoy for environmental sampling. Again, letting these things rust and increase the iron content of our oceans isnt a good idea. Our planet started with a high concentration of iron in our oceans and a high concentration of carbon in the atmosphere. Its like these guys are intentfully trying to de-evolve the entire planet.
Justsayin
not rated yet Apr 13, 2011
Bring on the artificial reefs, hell yea...great for fishing and scuba diving...wahoo!
kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2011
lol, that would be overkill. You just need a buoy for environmental sampling. Again, letting these things rust and increase the iron content of our oceans isnt a good idea. Our planet started with a high concentration of iron in our oceans and a high concentration of carbon in the atmosphere. Its like these guys are intentfully trying to de-evolve the entire planet.

I believe iron is a mineral for plankton, plankton has decreased so they take up less carbon. More iron could mean more plankton.

Correct me if i am wrong.
gunslingor1
not rated yet Apr 18, 2011
More iron COULD mean more plankton.


Then again, it could not.
-Iron is needed for all life budy, not just plankton. What you are proposing is equivalent to the following: "All life needs food and and the zoo animals are hungry, therefore lets dump 300 tons of food in the 10x10x10 bear cage".
-Just because an element is needed for life, does not by any means mean that increasing that element will increase life.
-Plankton numbers are down because of our actions (or the apocolyps if your one of those). We need to live with our mistakes and not make matters worse, especially when we use environmental justifications for disposing of industrial waste.