To aid legislators, resource managers, and the general public, this paper summarizes and clarifies some of the issues and options that the federal government and the state of California face in decommissioning offshore oil and gas production platforms, particularly as these relate to platform ecology. Both local marine ecology and political climate play a role in decommissioning offshore oil production platforms. Compared to the relatively supportive political climate in the Gulf of Mexico for “rigs-to-reefs” programs, conflicting social values among stakeholders in Southern California increases the need for understanding ecological impacts of various decommissioning alternatives (which range from total removal to allowing some or all of platform structure to remain in the ocean). Additional scientific needs in the decommissioning process include further assessment of platform habitat quality, estimation of regional impacts of decommissioning alternatives to marine populations, and determination of biological effects of any residual contaminants. The principal management need is a ranking of environmental priorities (e.g. species-of-interest and marine habitats). Because considerable numbers of economically important species reside near oil platforms, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries should consider the consequences of decommissioning alternatives in their overall management plans. Management strategies could include designating reefed platforms as marine protected areas. The overarching conclusion from both ecological and political perspectives is that decommissioning decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Ecological and political issues surrounding decommissioning of offshore oil facilities in the Southern California Bight|
|Series title||Ocean and Coastal Management|
|Contributing office(s)||Western Fisheries Research Center|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|