Over the last 40 years, Thailand has continued to develop and implement artificial reef programs aimed at conserving and enhancing resources and fisheries production in shallow, coastal areas. The Gulf of Thailand currently has numerous offshore platforms, several of which are owned by a large oil & gas (O&G) company. At this time the O&G company is evaluating its options for platform decommissioning after production has ended, including implementing a Rigs-to-Reefs program, which would provide an alternative to the complete removal of its non-productive oil and gas structures in the Gulf of Thailand.
Great Ecology assessed the feasibility of implementing a Rigs-to-Reefs program in the gulf using the company’s oil and gas platforms by examining several critical elements of successful program implementation. The investigation included evaluating the suitability of the selected reefing sites, with regard given to the physical marine environment, as well as assessing the condition of the platform jacket materials, by addressing the physical and biological stressors (i.e. corrosion, fatigue, etc.) of reefed structures in marine environments that can impact structural integrity. Through this evaluation, Great Ecology determined that converting these platforms into reefs would likely contribute to the overall productivity of the Gulf of Thailand’s marine ecosystems, generating both local and regional socio-economic benefits. Implementing this program in the Gulf of Thailand not only would minimize waste, but would also create artificial habitats for ecosystem rehabilitation.
The findings of this assessment will inform Thai stakeholders and the O&G company on a pathway forward in implementing Thailand’s first Rigs to Reefs Program. Great Ecology’s work will be used to aid regulators, operators, scientists, and other relevant stakeholders in Thailand as Thailand continues to develop and enhance its artificial reef program to include a Rigs-to-Reefs option.
Biological Assessment, Ecological Design & Planning, Marine and Aquatic Services,