The ecology of infrastructure decommissioning in the North Sea: what we need to know and how to achieve it

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2019Researchpeer-review

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The ecology of infrastructure decommissioning in the North Sea: what we need to know and how to achieve it. / Fowler, Ashley M.; Jørgensen, A.M.; Coolen, Joop W. P.; Jones, Daniel O. B.; Svendsen, Jon Christian; Brabant, Robin; Rumes, B.; Degraer, Steven.

In: ICES Journal of Marine Science, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2019Researchpeer-review

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Fowler, Ashley M. ; Jørgensen, A.M. ; Coolen, Joop W. P. ; Jones, Daniel O. B. ; Svendsen, Jon Christian ; Brabant, Robin ; Rumes, B. ; Degraer, Steven. / The ecology of infrastructure decommissioning in the North Sea: what we need to know and how to achieve it. In: ICES Journal of Marine Science. 2019.

Bibtex

@article{178b33fb2d5043079f2fd22d4aa0c06f,
title = "The ecology of infrastructure decommissioning in the North Sea: what we need to know and how to achieve it",
abstract = "As decommissioning of oil and gas (O&G) installations intensifies in the North Sea, and worldwide, debate rages regarding the fate of these novel habitats and their associated biota—a debate that has important implications for future decommissioning of offshore wind farms (OWFs). Calls to relax complete removal requirements in some circumstances and allow part of an O&G installation to be left in the marine environment are increasing. Yet knowledge regarding the biological communities that develop on these structures and their ecological role in the North Sea is currently insufficient to inform such decommissioning decisions. To focus debate regarding decommissioning policy and guide ecological research, we review environmental policy objectives in the region, summarize existing knowledge regarding ecological aspects of decommissioning for both O&G and OWF installations, and identify approaches to address knowledge gaps through science–industry collaboration. We find that in some cases complete removal will conflict with other policies regarding protection and restoration of reefs, as well as the conservation of species within the region. Key ecological considerations that are rarely considered during decommissioning decisions are: (i) provision of reef habitat, (ii) productivity of offshore ecosystems, (iii) enhancement of biodiversity, (iv) protection of the seabed from trawling, and (v) enhancement of connectivity. Knowledge gaps within these areas will best be addressed using industry infrastructure and vessels for scientific investigations, re-analysis of historical data held by industry, scientific training of industry personnel, joint research fundAQ5 ing opportunities, and trial decommissioning projects.",
keywords = "Artificial reefs, Biodiversity, Conservation, Decommissioning, Ecosystem, Marine policy, North Sea, Offshore infrastructure, Platform, Sustainability, Wind farm",
author = "Fowler, {Ashley M.} and A.M. J{\o}rgensen and Coolen, {Joop W. P.} and Jones, {Daniel O. B.} and Svendsen, {Jon Christian} and Robin Brabant and B. Rumes and Steven Degraer",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1093/icesjms/fsz143",
language = "English",
journal = "I C E S Journal of Marine Science",
issn = "1054-3139",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - The ecology of infrastructure decommissioning in the North Sea: what we need to know and how to achieve it

AU - Fowler, Ashley M.

AU - Jørgensen, A.M.

AU - Coolen, Joop W. P.

AU - Jones, Daniel O. B.

AU - Svendsen, Jon Christian

AU - Brabant, Robin

AU - Rumes, B.

AU - Degraer, Steven

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - As decommissioning of oil and gas (O&G) installations intensifies in the North Sea, and worldwide, debate rages regarding the fate of these novel habitats and their associated biota—a debate that has important implications for future decommissioning of offshore wind farms (OWFs). Calls to relax complete removal requirements in some circumstances and allow part of an O&G installation to be left in the marine environment are increasing. Yet knowledge regarding the biological communities that develop on these structures and their ecological role in the North Sea is currently insufficient to inform such decommissioning decisions. To focus debate regarding decommissioning policy and guide ecological research, we review environmental policy objectives in the region, summarize existing knowledge regarding ecological aspects of decommissioning for both O&G and OWF installations, and identify approaches to address knowledge gaps through science–industry collaboration. We find that in some cases complete removal will conflict with other policies regarding protection and restoration of reefs, as well as the conservation of species within the region. Key ecological considerations that are rarely considered during decommissioning decisions are: (i) provision of reef habitat, (ii) productivity of offshore ecosystems, (iii) enhancement of biodiversity, (iv) protection of the seabed from trawling, and (v) enhancement of connectivity. Knowledge gaps within these areas will best be addressed using industry infrastructure and vessels for scientific investigations, re-analysis of historical data held by industry, scientific training of industry personnel, joint research fundAQ5 ing opportunities, and trial decommissioning projects.

AB - As decommissioning of oil and gas (O&G) installations intensifies in the North Sea, and worldwide, debate rages regarding the fate of these novel habitats and their associated biota—a debate that has important implications for future decommissioning of offshore wind farms (OWFs). Calls to relax complete removal requirements in some circumstances and allow part of an O&G installation to be left in the marine environment are increasing. Yet knowledge regarding the biological communities that develop on these structures and their ecological role in the North Sea is currently insufficient to inform such decommissioning decisions. To focus debate regarding decommissioning policy and guide ecological research, we review environmental policy objectives in the region, summarize existing knowledge regarding ecological aspects of decommissioning for both O&G and OWF installations, and identify approaches to address knowledge gaps through science–industry collaboration. We find that in some cases complete removal will conflict with other policies regarding protection and restoration of reefs, as well as the conservation of species within the region. Key ecological considerations that are rarely considered during decommissioning decisions are: (i) provision of reef habitat, (ii) productivity of offshore ecosystems, (iii) enhancement of biodiversity, (iv) protection of the seabed from trawling, and (v) enhancement of connectivity. Knowledge gaps within these areas will best be addressed using industry infrastructure and vessels for scientific investigations, re-analysis of historical data held by industry, scientific training of industry personnel, joint research fundAQ5 ing opportunities, and trial decommissioning projects.

KW - Artificial reefs

KW - Biodiversity

KW - Conservation

KW - Decommissioning

KW - Ecosystem

KW - Marine policy

KW - North Sea

KW - Offshore infrastructure

KW - Platform

KW - Sustainability

KW - Wind farm

U2 - 10.1093/icesjms/fsz143

DO - 10.1093/icesjms/fsz143

M3 - Journal article

JO - I C E S Journal of Marine Science

JF - I C E S Journal of Marine Science

SN - 1054-3139

ER -