D'Elia, Benfield Represent CC&E at Ocean Leadership Forum
On October 25, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, or COL, held its annual industry
forum in Washington D.C. This year's topic, "Rigs to Reality," brought together more
than 50 representatives from the oil and gas industry, government regulators, academics
and NGOs to discuss viable future options for decommissioning oil rigs and converting
artificial reefs. Decisions regarding this process require a myriad of scientific, regulatory, and engineering inputs and have implications for aging oil platforms in the Gulf
of Mexico and off California.
CC&E Dean Chris D'Elia and Professor Mark Benfield attended the forum, representing the CC&E, which is a member of the COL. Benfield was part of a panel on "Characterizing Environmental Benefits and Risks," along with Dr. Milton Love (UCSB), Dr. Greg Stunz (TAMUCC), and Jorge Brenner (The Nature Conservancy).
Benfield's presentation provided perspectives on biological studies necessary to inform
permits to reef rigs in deeper water (>1000 feet) and provided perspectives gained
from research conducted in cooperation with ExxonMobil in the Gulf of Mexico. Benfield
also pointed out some of the challenges associated with using ROVs to study
marine life around oil platforms and illustrated some of the potential problems (and their solutions).
"As a biological oceanographer, I usually hear about only the biological aspects of
converting rigs to reefs," Benfield said. "In addition to biology, this workshop gave me a chance to hear legal, regulatory, and engineering perspectives from a broad range
of constituents. It was very informative."
Learn more about the event on the forum webpage.
Watch this short video illustrating what an ROV can sometimes miss.