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Creating Artificial Reefs from Old Oil Rigs

One problem that oil companies suffer from, and which most people may not have actually considered before, is what to do with old drilling rigs and platforms.

Once upon a time they were just abandoned, but with federal regulators bearing down on the energy companies and ensuring that drill rig equipment is not abandoned, the operators must look for new solutions.

One such solution that is becoming popular in some states is the Rigs-to-Reef program, where parts of old gas and oil rigs are placed underwater in certain designated sites in the Gulf of Mexico.

Related article: Deeper & Smarter: The Subsea Oil & Gas Growth Outlook

Conservationists have said that the underwater rigs act as artificial reefs and provide good homes for fish, corals, mussels, and other underwater creatures. Drew Hunger, the decommissioning manager for Apache Corporation (NYSE: APA), who also runs the company’s rigs-to-reefs program, said that the rigs “will last in underwater reefs for a very long time.”

The program provides an option to the energy companies that will rid them of the unwanted rig equipment whilst at the same time saving them money, and has no negative environmental impact. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been running a similar program since 1990 and estimates that companies involved have saved as much as $400,000 per rig.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



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