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OSPAR's exclusion of rigs-to-reefs in the North Sea
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)
2012 (English)In: Ocean and Coastal Management, ISSN 0964-5691, E-ISSN 1873-524X, Vol. 58, 57-61 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on how the debate over the deep-water disposal of offshore oil and gas installations has been central to shaping North Sea artificial reef policy. Through a close empirical historical study, this article reconstructs how Greenpeace's protest of the deep-water disposal of the Brent Spar spurred the exclusion of rigs-to-reefs (the conversion of obsolete offshore oil and gas structures into artificial reefs) as a viable decommissioning option by the primary international treaty organization with jurisdiction over North Sea waters, the Oslo-Paris Commission (OSPAR). During OSPAR's artificial reef guideline development, several OSPAR contracting parties implied that there is a conspiracy among oil companies to use rigs-to-reefs as a cover for evading the deep-water disposal rules, although they never presented evidence to back up these claims. In the face of pressure to "close the loophole" for deep-water disposal and in spite of scientific objection. OSPAR's final guidelines excluded all non-virgin materials as acceptable reef construction materials, essentially banning rigs-to-reefs. Because a significant number of steel offshore installations will be decommissioned in North Sea waters in the decade and the most up-to-date science has concluded that manmade deep-water reefs may be beneficial to some species including threatened cold-water coral, this article suggests that OSPAR revise its guidelines. Rigs-to-reefs should be not categorically excluded; a case-by-case determination of the suitability of a structure for reuse as an artificial reef would be most appropriate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2012. Vol. 58, 57-61 p.
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-53383DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.12.012ISI: 000301014700007OAI: diva2:512109
Available from: 2012-03-26 Created: 2012-03-23 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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Jørgensen, Dolly
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