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Video: "Rigs to Reef: Towers of Life"

The Shell-funded “Rigs to Reef: Towers of Life” film explores how offshore oil and natural gas platforms can double as important habitat for fish and marine life.
Rigs to Reef Video
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Click to watch the "Rigs to Reef: Towers of Life" video.

Offshore oil and natural gas platforms frequently provide suitable habitat for fish and other forms of marine life. Once a production platform has been decommissioned, the structure may continue to be used to provide additional habitat for the development of hard bottom marine communities such as coral reefs, and to create shelter habitat for fish.  

The Gulf of Mexico Foundation, with funding provided by Shell through the Mars B project’s social investment program, has recently released the short documentary “Rigs to Reefs: Towers of Life.” Much of the natural seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico is comprised of mud, clay and sand with very little natural rock bottom or reef habitat, which can limit the abundance of reef fish and reef-associated species. The film explores this pressing topic of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and various points of views around balancing the ecology and economy of Gulf of Mexico resources.

The 26-minute film documents the beauty and abundance of life on oil and natural gas platform structures, including the Shell Enchilada Platform, while bringing to light the need for collaborative research, partnerships, and educational programs to discuss and create awareness about the living resources provided by artificial reefs.  Viewpoints from scientists, operators, users such as fishermen and divers, and teachers alike come together in the film to explore what needs to be done for the future of these living platforms.

Help make a difference by sharing the link with friends, family and colleagues. More about the Gulf of Mexico Foundation can be found here: www.gulfmex.org 

Facilitated by the US government, states in the Gulf Coast including Louisiana and Texas have long-established, successful Rigs-to-Reefs programs. Under these programs, decommissioned structures are severed from their foundations and moved to a reefing site, reefed in place, or otherwise transformed into artificial reefs that provide fish habitat. Oil and natural gas companies can participate in these programs, typically paying the participating state half of the estimated difference between the cost to reef and the cost to take the structure to shore for total removal, and the state assumes liability.

Shell supports Rigs-to-Reefs programs and collaborative efforts to maintain high quality fish habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. While oil and natural gas companies must have flexibility to determine if a particular platform is suitable for reefing (based on safety, ecosystem impacts, costs, liability and other criteria), Rigs-to-Reefs programs provide a valuable opportunity for companies to continue to serve local ecosystems and economies.

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