Posted 18 Aug
During their decades at sea, oil and gas structures, including the platforms, pipes and more, have been crucial in ensuring we all have access to much of the energy we need. In addition to their intended function, these structures have developed new functions and have become home to a huge diversity of marine life. As these structures come to the end of their lives and as we move to alternative energy sources, the question of how to decommission these structures is becoming more and more important.
Simply put, decommissioning is the process of removing or dealing with these structures in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, at the end of their useful life. The removal of these structures, i.e. their decommissioning, is a process that is required by law. However, the very fact that these structures have been found to provide a potentially positive habitat for marine life, including aggregation of fish and colonisation by coral, makes these conversations more complicated. The question is – should we just leave these old oil platforms where they are?
The questions and challenges associated with oil and gas decommissioning are common to many industries, including military, medical, construction or forms of renewable energy such as offshore wind farms.
Through our exhibit at the MOD. It’s Complicated exhibition, working in collaboration with Deakin University, Cardiff University, University of South Australia and National Energy Resources Australia, we want to know about what different people think about these oil and gas structures. Tell us what you think about the structures. Are you impressed by them as a feat of engineering? Or do you think leaving them in the ocean could mean damaging the marine environment and be a threat to our marine life? You can let us know by filling out this short survey. Tell us what you think about these structures, but also what they think should be done next!
Understanding how people think and feel about different issues relating to the ocean is central to ensuring we are managing our ocean and seas effectively and sustainably, both for now and in the future. This part of exhibit is going to give us valuable and much needed information about what visitors of the exhibition think we should do next!
Dr Emma McKinley is a Research Fellow at Cardiff University. Her research focuses on understanding the complex relationship between society and the ocean, taking account of diverse types of perceptions, attitudes and values held by different communities and audiences, and considers how can be used to support sustainable management of our ocean, coasts and seas.