Rigs-to-Reef Programs in the Gulf of Mexico
The Louisiana and Texas Artificial Reef Programs are the largest rigs-to-reef programs in the world. The program involves donating obsolete oil and gas structures for use as artificial reefs in lieu of on-shore removal. The National Fishing Enhancement Act of 1984 established the U.S. National Artificial Reef Plan and provided guidelines for state development of artificial reef programs. In 1986, the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program was established and has accepted over 120 decommissioned platforms to create 83 artificial reef sites in the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas Artificial Reef Program, established in 1991, has created over 35 reef sites from 73 platforms. The purpose of this article is to describe the Louisiana and Texas Artificial Reef Programs, to compare their regulatory structures, and to discuss the nature of the cost savings associated with reef donation and the frequency of donation.