This paper describes the general procedures used to select sites for obsolete oil and gas platforms as artificial reefs on the Louisiana outer continental shelf (OCS). The methods employed incorporate six basic steps designed to resolve multiple-use conflicts that might otherwise arise with daily industry and commercial fishery operations, and to identify and assess both geological and technological constraints that could affect placement of the structures. These steps include: (1) exclusion mapping; (2) establishment of artificial reef planning areas; (3) database compilation; (4) assessment and interpretation of database; (5) mapping of geological and man-made features within each proposed reef site; and (6) site selection. Nautical charts, bathymetric maps, and offshore oil and gas maps were used for exclusion mapping, and to select nine regional planning areas. Pipeline maps were acquired from federal agencies and private industry to determine their general locations within each planning area, and to establish exclusion fairways along each pipeline route. Approximately 1600 line kilometers of high-resolution geophysical data collected by federal agencies and private industry was acquired for the nine planning areas. These data were interpreted to determine the nature and extent of near-surface geologic features that could affect placement of the structures. Seismic reflection patterns were also characterized to evaluate near-bottom sedimentation processes in the vicinity of each reef site. Geotechnical borings were used to determine the lithological and physical properties of the sediment, and for correlation with the geophysical data. Since 1987, five sites containing 10 obsolete production platforms have been selected on the Louisiana OCS using these procedures. Industry participants have realized a total savings of approximately US $1 500 000 in salvaging costs by converting these structures into artificial reefs. ?? 1993.
Additional publication details
Geological and technological assessment of artificial reef sites, Louisiana outer continental shelf