Oil and gas
The Oil and Gas industry has thousands of offshore structures worldwide that need to be decommissioned as these assets reach retirement. While many regulators worldwide currently require complete removal of these structures, there may be significant environmental and social benefits to leaving them in place or reefing them in a new location.
We have used eDNA profiling to characterise the biodiversity present on and around subsea jackets. Using biofoul, water and sediment samples we produced an inventory of the biota that has recruited to the jackets over a period of time. Taxa representing many common groups; fish, algae, bryozoans, polychaete worms, barnacles, sponges, mussels, oysters and ascidians were detected using analysis of eDNA. The results of the study showed that jackets supported a highly diverse ecosystem of high ecological value that had many similarities to a natural coral reef.
Biodiversity baselining is an important aspect of developing infrastructure in the oil and gas industry. Understanding the species present prior to expanding activities or building new structures can serve as an insurance policy against future environmental change.