Oil Rigs: Biology, Mariculture, Drilling Muds, Rigs-to-Reefs

by Paul K. Driessen, US Dep of the Interior, Washington, DC, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


Oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Barbara Channel provide hard substrates, diverse habitats and excellent breeding grounds from the sea floor through the splash zone. As a result, the platforms expand the numbers, diversity and range of many highly desirable fish, shellfish and other organisms. Fishing, mussel harvesting and shellfish mariculture have become important activities on platforms. The current requirement that platforms be entirely removed once production operations have ceased threatens to cause a large-scale loss of many habitats. However, a strong rigs-to-reefs movement is seeking to convert a number of the platforms into permanent artificial reefs.

Subject Headings: Offshore platforms | Mud | Aquatic habitats | Wells (oil and gas) | Water pollution | Offshore structures | Fish management | Substrates | Gulf of Mexico

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