All oil and gas platforms have a finite economic life span. When that life span is reached a process called decommissioning occurs during which the fate of that platform is decided. The Bureau of Offshore Management has a role to play in this process for platforms in federal waters. Off California, the State of California will also play a role in the decommissioning process. Based on California AB 2503, the Net Environmental Benefit (NEB) of each platform will be an important factor in the state’s decision on what will be done with each structure. At this time, NEB remains undefined, particularly for California oil and gas platforms. This study is designed to explore what NEB is, how it can be measured, and to use the oil and gas platforms off California as a model for how this analysis would be done. Specifically, we will 1) estimate the productivity of fish and invertebrate communities and key fish species under different decommissioning scenarios on offshore California platforms, 2) compare platform productivity and community structure with that of the natural habitat that is replaced by each platform, 3) explore how these differences might change over time as decommissioning options alter the conditions for associated biological communities, and 4) model and predict positive and/or negative effects to the marine environment that could result from partial removal versus full removal of the structure.
USDI Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
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Area/s of Research
Marine Conservation, Policy and Education