Offshore petroleum platforms act as artificial reefs, creating ideal marine habitats. Beginning with an Exxon experimental subsea structure in 1979, the “Rigs to Reefs” program has formed the world’s largest artificial reef habitat in the world.
In 1984, the U.S. Congress signed the National Fishing Enhancement Act, “because of increased interest and participation in fishing at offshore oil and gas platforms and widespread support for effective artificial reef development by coastal states,” according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). This led to the development of the National Artificial Reef Plan the next year.
Gulf of Mexico federal offshore oil production in 2016 accounted for 17 percent of total U.S. crude oil production and five percent of natural gas production, notes the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“Over 45 percent of total U.S. petroleum refining capacity is located along the Gulf coast, as well as 51 percent of total U.S. natural gas processing plant capacity,” EIA reports. Read the rest of this entry »