Re-use of offshore infrastructure and platforms: assessing value to communities, industry and environment (innovation fund)

Is it better for marine ecosystems if decommissioned offshore structures are left in place? Photo: NZ Oil and Gas

We are investigating the environmental, social, and economic implications of decommissioning offshore structures, such as oil platforms. We are specifically looking at the impact on Taranaki’s marine ecosystem if end-of-use structures either remain in place or are removed, and exploring any associated economic opportunities for the local community.

Project leader: Alison Lane, Elemental Group

New uses for offshore infrastructure?

We are:

  • Reviewing and analysing environmental monitoring data available from offshore installations that have been in place for many years
  • Reviewing the legislation concerning offshore decommissioning
  • Considering the potential risks and benefits to the environment of leaving marine structures in place, and doing a comparison with international examples
  • Considering the marine species known or expected to use these structures, taking account of current and historic marine mammal sightings in the South Taranaki Bight

We will then use this data, along with social and economic studies, to investigate whether leaving Taranaki’s offshore infrastructure in place could bring value to the regional community; and whether there is potential to ‘value-add’ during decommissioning. For example, whether the structures are likely to protect and enhance in-shore fishery resources or provide tourism opportunities.

We will explore what the value-add potential is through community focus groups and stakeholder surveys of Māori, fisheries, and tourism and petroleum industries in the region.

We are also doing a cost-benefit analysis to investigate the financial effects that decommissioning could have on the Taranaki community.

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