CIL’s engagement in Rigs-to-Reefs research began with the realisation that Southeast Asia hosts close to 1700 offshore oil and gas installations, nearly half of which are older than 20 years and are due to be retired. In addition to creating potential environmental, navigation and health hazards, many of these offshore installations are located in close proximity to maritime boundaries, creating transboundary risks. This realisation led to a two-year multidisciplinary discussion within the National University of Singapore (NUS) between ocean law and policy researchers, marine biologists and offshore engineers on offshore decommissioning, which then led to global and regional discussions on these issues and participation in numerous regional conferences and workshops.
The University’s multidisciplinary efforts culminated in the NUS 2013 International Workshop on the Prospects for Large Artificial Reefs in Tropical Southeast Asia held on 13 November 2013 in Singapore. It was co-organised by three NUS research centres: the Centre for International Law, the Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) and the Centre for Offshore Engineering (CORE). Primary funding was provided by the NUS Climate Change and Sustainable Environment Research Initiative and was supplemented by the Universiti Teknologi Petronas of Malaysia.
This Workshop was designed to investigate the pros and cons for the reuse of abandoned offshore platforms as artificial reefs to enhance biodiversity and fisheries productivity in Southeast Asia. The process of reusing obsolete rigs as artificial reefs, commonly known as ‘rigs-to-reefs’, can involve the removal of all or part of the entire steel jacket and its sideway placement in the same location or elsewhere, as well as simply leaving the steel jacket in its location. The Workshop explored the ecological, law and policy, engineering and business considerations for ‘rigs-to-reefs’ in the region. One recommendation of the Workshop was for the Workshop’s discussions, presentations and final report, together with a legal research guide and bibliography, to be compiled and maintained for future projects and discussions on the prospects of rigs-to-reefs. CIL agreed to host this online research resource on its website as set out below.
The Rigs-to-Reefs research page includes: (i) a comprehensive report of the Workshop on the prospects for Rigs-to-Reefs in Southeast Asia, together with the Workshop presentations; (ii) a Rigs-to-Reefs legal research guide; and (iii) a comprehensive bibliography.