Platforms naturally

A pilot project that investigates whether platform steel jackets deserve a second chance whilst contributing and strengthening the North Sea’s marine habitat.

Three of our rigs (L10-c, L10-d and L10G), located roughly 70 kilometres northwest of the Dutch Den Helder coast, are approaching the end of their economically viable life. Used oil- and gas platforms in principle need to be removed from the North Sea. Which poses the problem: what now? Should we dismantle the platforms or investigate ways of using (parts of) the rigs to continue to research ways of strengthening the North Sea’s marine habitat? We chose the latter.

Learning by doing
Platforms Naturally is a pilot project initiated by ENGIE E&P and Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN). This pilot investigates whether the platforms deserve a second chance whilst contributing and strengthening the North Sea’s marine habitat.

Research shows that part of the steel platforms situated below sea level have become a biological hotspot for fish, shellfish, marine mammals and seaweeds over the years.

The Platforms Naturally pilot project aims to leave the steel jackets of the platforms: L10-c, L10-d and L10G (located roughly 70 kilometres northwest of the Den Helder coast) in place for the next 15 years in order to develop and contribute to the marine habitat in the following ways:

  • Contain the newly existing habitat
  • Develop a breading place for seabirds on the top of the jackets
  • Stimulating natural calcification
  • No fishing allowed in this area
  • Reintroduction of the flat oyster in this area
  • Expanding the reef.

Illustration of steel jacket as marine habitat

Next steps

In the last few months we have looked at the possibilities. The most important questions addressed are:

  • What are the legal and technical preconditions?
  • What permits are needed and what is the time frame?
  • What is the best design for maximizing the ecological plus?

The project has so far been discussed with several NGO’s and stakeholders. In the next period meetings are scheduled with the Ministry of Economic affairs, Rijkswaterstaat and Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment to discuss the legal and regulatory framework of the pilot project.