Rigs to Reefs

Articles about Rigs to Reefs

Hearing reviews progress on rigs-to-reef program

Increased reefing of offshore energy platforms critical to Gulf habitat
Posted on May 11, 2017

The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on May 17 entitled “Reviewing Recent State Successes with the Rigs to Reefs Program” that examined how well such programs are working to allow energy companies to transform outdated structures into valuable marine habitat. Among those invited to present on various aspects of the program was Dr. Greg Stunz, Endowed Chair, Fisheries and Ocean Health, Director, Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation, and Professor of Marine Biology Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.

Construction to begin on the “Pickets Reef”

Private/public partnership launches artificial reefing project to save famed Louisiana trout hotspot
Posted on October 16, 2014

Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, Apache Corporation, Fieldwood Energy and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will begin construction this week on an artificial reef system at the site of the recently removed structures in Ship Shoal 26, known by many Louisiana anglers as “the Pickets.”

Pickets Plan Comes Together

Private/public effort launches artificial reefing project to save famed Louisiana trout hotspot
Posted on June 20, 2014

A $1.2 million plan to preserve habitat in the area known as the Pickets, often referred to as hallowed ground in Louisiana trout fishing circles, was unveiled this week by officials of Apache Corporation, Fieldwood Energy LLC, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), and the State of Louisiana, in coordination with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). As soon as the energy structures and pilings are removed per federal requirements from Ship Shoal 26 sometime in July, this cooperative effort at the local level is set to deploy 15,000 tons of concrete rip-rap in three artificial reefs to maintain the summer-time hotspot for speckled trout and the anglers who pursue them out of Cocodrie and Dularge.

Reefer Madness

Turning oil rigs into reefs saves money and marine life, yet many greens oppose it.
Posted on June 14, 2014

WHEN an offshore well stops producing oil, what should be done with the rig? One option is to haul it ashore, break it up and recycle it. This is expensive. For a big, deep-water oil or gas platform, it can cost $200m. Just hiring a derrick barge massive enough to do the job can cost $700,000 a day. But there is an alternative: simply leave most of the structure where it is. That is what you would expect a greedy oil firm to do: despoil the ocean just to save a lousy few million dollars. The surprise is, the cheap option may actually be greener.

Unused oil rig morphs into underwater Garden of Eden

CBS Evening News video
Posted on July 11, 2013

Policy shift favors artificial reefing

Federal agency clears important hurdles to increased reefing of offshore energy platforms
Posted on June 27, 2013

Eyewitnesses Speak Out About Explosive Federal Mandate

WPMI - Local 15 Newcast
Posted on June 13, 2013

Legislation seeks to keep artificial reefs in the Gulf

Sen. Vitter files bill to streamline process, expand reefing areas for energy structures
Posted on May 31, 2013

Federal government biggest threat to Gulf Red Snapper

Posted on March 01, 2013

If there’s one thing that the federal government has told Gulf fishermen for more than a decade, it’s that our most popular fish is in danger of overfishing. The government has even gone so far as to impose extreme catch restrictions that border on the absurd. That’s what makes a recent video showing the destruction of Red Snapper at the direction of the federal government all the more bizarre and infuriating.

Twenty Congressmen join call for moratorium on rig removals

Efforts to save marine habitat gain support from across the country
Posted on July 26, 2012

A letter from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar calling for a moratorium on rig removals due to the federal government’s Idle Iron policy will carry the signatures of 20 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, an impressive bi-partisan display of concern for marine habitat in the Gulf of Mexico.

Counting Fish: Gulf of Mexico Artificial Reef Survey

Posted on July 13, 2012

More than three thousand offshore oil and gas platforms currently stand in the Gulf of Mexico. Federal regulations have long required companies to remove everything from the sea once a well ceases production, and over the past several decades, hundreds of structures have been toppled into deep water or towed to shore to become scrap metal.

Rep. Palazzo calls for moratorium on rig removals

CCA applauds Mississippi congressman’s efforts to halt destruction of marine habitat
Posted on June 19, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – At a breakfast briefing hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation this morning, Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) presented the concerns of the recreational angling community over the Department of Interior’s controversial Idle Iron directive and closed by inviting fellow Congressmen to sign onto a letter requesting a moratorium on rig removals.

CCA applauds Idle Iron language in Sportsmen’s Act

Posted on June 08, 2012

As a result of consistent pressure and engagement by Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and its partners, language that begins to address the critical issue of Gulf rig and platform removals has been included in the Sportsmen's Act of 2012. Congressional Sportsman Caucus Chairs Senators Jon Tester (D-Mt) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the Sportsmen's Act of 2012 as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill (S. 3240) this week.

Recreational angling community calls for moratorium on rig removals

Urgency mounts over negative impacts of Idle Iron policy
Posted on June 07, 2012

A coalition of marine conservation, tackle and boating industry groups is calling for a halt to the
federal government’s destructive “Idle Iron” policy that threatens to dismantle what is regarded as the
largest artificial reef system in the world. In a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar,
the coalition calls for a moratorium to prevent the Idle Iron Policy from inflicting further irreparable
damage on an extensive range of marine fisheries and ecosystems.

Rep. Farenthold steps up for Gulf anglers

CCA applauds Texas Congressman’s strong opposition to misguided Idle Iron directive
Posted on May 11, 2012

In the latest display of opposition to an unpopular federal directive, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tx) is calling for the Department of Interior to reconsider its Idle Iron policy that stands to dismantle critical marine habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. The Idle Iron directive, issued by the Department in the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, orders non-producing oil and gas rigs and other structures in offshore waters to be removed within five years of the issuance of the directive.

Perry urges review of Idle Iron policy

CCA applauds Texas Governor’s call to protect Gulf rigs, artificial structure
Posted on April 27, 2012

In a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling for a review of the federal government’s “Idle Iron” policy that threatens to dismantle what is regarded as the largest artificial reef system in the world. In the letter, Perry says that the policy, which orders non-producing oil and gas rigs and other structures in offshore waters to be removed within five years of the issuance of the directive, will have profound negative implications for marine fisheries and the local coastal communities and businesses that rely on the fishing opportunities that these structures provide in the Gulf.

Gulf rigs, structures on track to become Essential Fish Habitat

Gulf Council begins process to properly recognize value of artificial reefs
Posted on April 23, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - A request to have the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council begin the process of classifying rigs and other vital artificial reefs as Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) was unanimously approved by the Council at its April meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Urgent Message to Gulf Council Members

Posted on April 13, 2012

One of the goals of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), our primary federal fisheries law, is the identification and protection of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). The goal is laudable enough since sufficient habitat is key to the health of all our fisheries.

Stop Federal Plans to Destroy Coral Reefs

Posted on March 01, 2012

The U.S. Department of the Interior wants to blow up living coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s not a joke — far from it. A ruling issued by DOI requires oil companies to destroy and remove decommissioned oil platforms from the Gulf within five years. 

Destroying offshore platforms hurts fish habitat

Posted on February 15, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI — While federal fisheries managers are expected to impose the shortest red snapper season on record this summer another federal agency has estimated it will kill tens of thousands of the coveted pink fish with explosives used to remove about 120 offshore platforms this year alone in the Gulf of Mexico.

CCA applauds Council action to protect Gulf habitat

Anglers have high hopes for debate over value of artificial structure
Posted on February 09, 2012

A motion made at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting last week in Mobile, Alabama, could be the first step to protecting what has been regarded as the largest man-made reef in the world – the vast forest of energy-related structures in the offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Bob Shipp’s request to have Council staff clarify the definition of what qualifies as artificial structure could pave the way for rigs and other vital reefs to be classified as Essential Fish Habitat.


Posted on February 08, 2012


Posted on December 01, 2011

Most of us can cite some "seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time" plan gone awry. Such appears the case with that part of the Magnuson Act requiring catch limits be set for all federally managed fish stock by the end of this year. 


Posted on November 15, 2011

Fisheries issues are rarely this black and white. Most of the things we debate in fisheries management revolve around murky models and shifty statistics. All too often, politics and fisheries science are woven together into a perfect bird's nest of confusion, producing baffling regulations and counter-intuitive policies.

CCA applauds Louisiana senator for effort to avert rig removals

Posted on September 14, 2011

Coastal Conservation Association is applauding Sen. David Vitter (R-La) for legislation filed today that will prevent rigs and other structures from being summarily removed from the Gulf of Mexico.

Rigs to Reef Programs Create Valuable Fish Habitat

Posted on May 01, 2011

The Gulf of Mexico lack natural reefs. Not long after platforms first appeared in the Gulf, fishermen found that they caught more fish near platforms. Subsequent research found that the platforms act as artificial reefs, attracting and enhancing fish populations.

Rigs to Reefs

Posted on May 01, 2011

Rigs-to-reefs is the heart of the Texas Artificial Reef Program. It primarily involves the recycling of obsolete petroleum platforms into permanent artificial reefs rather than allowing them to be taken ashore as scrap. Rigs make ideal artificial reefs because they are environmentally safe, are constructed of highly durable and stable material that withstands displacement or breakup and already support a thriving reef ecosystem.

Rigs-to-Reefs Information

What is Rigs-to-Reefs and how does it relate to the mission of the Minerals Management Service (MMS)?
Posted on May 01, 2011

Rigs-to-Reefs is a term used for converting obsolete, nonproductive offshore oil and gas structures to designated artificial reefs. From research and assessment of the environmental effects of oil and gas leasing and development, the MMS has documented a profound and pervasive connection between fish, fishing, and oil and gas structures in the marine environment.

Artificial Reef Program

Posted on May 01, 2011

The Louisiana Artificial Reef Program was established in 1986 to take advantage of obsolete oil and gas platforms which were recognized as providing habitat important to many of Louisiana's coastal fishes. Federal law and international treaty require these platforms to be removed one year after production ceases. The removal of these platforms results in a loss of reef habitat.


Posted on April 01, 2011

Help Protect Gulf Marine Habitat - Support S.1555/H.R. 3429 Send a message to your members of Congress today urging them to support legislation to protect marine habitat and leave unused oil and gas structures in the Gulf of Mexico as artificial reefs.

After the Oil Runs Out: Rigs to Reefs

While humans wonder what do with old oil rigs, fish scientist Milton Love suggests his subjects have a definite school of thought.
Posted on July 15, 2010

As recorded by Dr. Love’s submarine cam — and no, that’s not something from an Austin Powers movie — it’s an underwater world as colorful as any exotic locale. Thousands of rockfish, including the distinctive boccacia (Italian for “big mouth”) swim past tall colonnades layered with mussels and topped by bright white-, orange- and strawberry-hued anemones.

VIDEO: Rig Removal

Posted on December 27, 2008

Click here to see a rig removal. 

VIDEO: Role of Artificial Structures in the Management of Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico

Posted on April 18, 2006