November 26, 2013
A program benefiting the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico by recycling retired natural gas and oil structures as artificial reefs, would enhance fish habitat benefiting recreational and commercial fishermen, scuba divers and Gulf communities.
The Gulf of Mexico lacks natal reefs. Rigs-to-Reefs is a nationwide program to turn decommissioned offshore oil and petroleum rigs into artificial reefs developed by the former Minerals Management Service, now Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
In 1938 Pure and Superior Oil companies built the first freestanding drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico designed by Houston’s Brown & Root Marine. The 320-foot by 180-foot freestanding wooden deck stood in 14-feet of water about a mile offshore from Creole, LA.
With the appearance of that first Gulf rig, fishermen found they caught more fish near platforms. Subsequent research over the decades has determined the platforms act as artificial reefs, attracting and enhancing fish populations.