How can I explain to my grandmother, or even my friends, that an oil platform has a benefit to the environment? Amber Jackson and Emily Hazelwood of Blue Latitude’s Rigs 2 Reef actually have a compelling case for keeping oil rigs in our ocean. Instead of removing old rigs when oil companies are done with them, Emily and Amber are leading the charge for repurposing them. By removing only the upper half and leaving the lower half as an artificial reef underwater, there remains a thriving reef with the animals and plants intact. Here, they explain how most of the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have been “reefed.”
The idea came to Emily’s attention when she listened to fishermen rave about the best fishing happening near oil rigs. And that was when she decided it was worth looking below the surface.
In California, for example, there are 27 oil platforms off the Pacific coast. Through research, they’ve discovered these are some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet.
So why is California not reefing their rigs?
Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Blue Latitudes’ Rigs to Reefs project here.