Scientists aim to recycle marine life that grows on oil rigs


Marine growth on recycling platforms. Scientists want to demonstrate how marine vegetation on dormant oil and gas platforms in the North Sea can be used as food for fish and animals.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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Scientists want to demonstrate how marine vegetation on dormant oil and gas platforms in the North Sea can be used as food for fish and animals.

To support the lucrative salmon and shellfish farming industries in Scotland, it is intended that seaweed and seaweed carried ashore during decommissioning can be reused.

Researchers will examine ways to use the material, including algae, mussels and corals, in what is being hailed as a world first.


For this initiative, academics from the University of Abertay have teamed up with the Scottish dismantling company CessCon Decom.

The partnership, they say, could lead to a variety of new goods and materials that could ultimately help Scotland achieve its zero emissions goals.

Over the next ten years, the feasibility study, also funded by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Center (IBioIC), is expected to lead to the recycling of up to 40,000 tonnes of marine growth on oil rig shrouds. and gas.

The amount is based on estimates of 10% marine litter per decommissioned station by weight and an energy sector study that mentions a 400,000 tonne decommissioning pipeline.

According to European laws, operators must return sites to a clean seabed; therefore, energy companies cannot leave behind any part of a disused platform.

Also Read: Major Oil Company Sees Peanuts as Potential Source of Renewable Energy

marine ecology

underwater fish

(Photo: Photo by BORIS HORVAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Several sea creatures can be seen on a rig’s underwater jacket towards the end of its lifespan. Depending on the environmental factors of the water, different depths harbor different types of algae, seaweed, mussels, anemones, and hard and soft corals.

“As the North Sea oil and gas sector matures, the decommissioning sector has a vital role to play in ensuring that those parts of these installations which are no longer in use and need to be brought ashore are disposed of in a safe manner. safe and responsible,” said Karen Seath, CessCon’s director of environmental and regulatory affairs.

We have an ambitious goal to reach a point where all decommissioned items brought ashore are reused, reconditioned, refurbished or recycled. Our approach is based on the principles of the circular economy.

Marine growth is typically disposed of in landfills or burned, but we recognize the opportunity to make more of it and use this waste to help supply chains for other industries.

“There is also an ongoing discussion about whether clean seabed policy is the most beneficial course of action, both financially and environmentally,” she continued.

For example, in other international markets, disused infrastructure has been transformed into artificial reefs and left in the water, preserving the underwater ecology developed for the existence of the platform.

“At the moment, however, infrastructure in European seas that has reached the end of its useful life must be retired, with exceptions. We want to reuse and recycle the material in the most sustainable way possible.

Critical study

“This study aims to understand the nutritional composition of marine growth recovered from decommissioned platforms, whether onshore or offshore, and the viability of recovering protein and fatty acids from waste,” said Boon-Seang Chu, senior lecturer in food science at Abertay. University.

The results of this effort will help and guide subsequent phases of the project.

Related Article: Scientists Focus on Marine Biofuel Research as Environmental Concerns Rise

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