Rigs to Reefs Program Policy
Rigs to Reefs Program Fact Sheet
As of September 2012, the States of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and California have passed specific legislation to establish programs for building artificial reefs from oil and gas platforms. To date, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources have administered State artificial reef plans, including ongoing offshore Rigs-to-Reefs programs.
The Department of the Interior’s Rigs-to-Reefs policy encourages the reuse of obsolete oil and gas facilities as artificial reefs and describes the conditions under which DOI would waive OCSLA platform removal requirements. The decision to pursue donation of a decommissioned platform to a coastal State under the Rigs-to-Reefs process is optional and completely at the discretion of the lessee. The Department’s Rigs-to-Reefs policy is implemented by BSEE and BOEM, which administer different provisions of the OSCLA. These platform removal waiver conditions include:
Over the years, studies have documented a connection among fish and other marine life, fishing, and the oil and gas structures in the marine environment. Shortly after a platform is installed, it becomes habitat to marine life and communities begin to grow. Fishermen, divers, and coastal states have been concerned with the removal of these structures heavily-populated with marine life. BSEE began to work with interested parties and coastal states to address these concerns, creating Rigs-to-Reefs.
How do the National Artificial Reef Plan and Rigs-to-Reefs process interact with State Artificial Reef Programs?
States have taken a leadership role in the development of artificial reef programs. Both the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (TX, LA, MS, AL, and FL) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ME, NH, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, and FL) have artificial reef subcommittees. These Commissions and their subcommittees play a coordinating role for State efforts to develop and implement artificial reef programs.
World’s First Cable-Stabilized Platform Becomes Tallest Structure to be Converted to Artificial Reef in the Gulf of Mexico
NEW ORLEANS – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) approved the conversion of ExxonMobil’s Lena Compliant Tower (Lena) platform into an artificial reef under the bureau’s Rigs-to-Reefs Program, and on July 3, 2020, the platform jacket was toppled-in-place to create a new reef site in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Under the Trump Administration, BSEE approved the jacket reefing procedure after reviewing ExxonMobil’s platform removal application. The Lena platform is now the tallest oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico to become a deepwater reef.
WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) today posted a revised internal policy for evaluating proposals to convert obsolete, offshore oil and natural gas production platforms into artificial reefs.
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Workshop Part 3 on “Rigs-to-Reefs” program Moderator: Erness Wright-Irvin, Location: New Orleans, Louisiana Date: Thursday, February 21, 2013Transcript by Federal News Service Washington, D.C. MS. : (In progress) – afternoon session of the Rigs-to-Reefs public meeti