18 May 2007 - 13:22
  • News Code: 104912
Deep-Sea Oil Platforms May Aid Sea Life: Study

Deep-water oil and natural gas platforms may be as beneficial as a federal study has shown shipwrecks to be in creating habitats for undersea plants and animals, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said on Thursday.

"The biological analyses conducted during this investigation concluded that as petroleum exploration and production expands into deeper Gulf water, platforms could potentially provide a habitat for marine life," Lars Herbst, acting MMS Gulf region director, said in a statement.

 

Since offshore drilling began in the Gulf of Mexico after World War II, exploration has moved farther south from the U.S. coastline and into sea depths of thousands of feet.

 

Shipwrecks became artificial reefs for animals and plants, according to the MMS study, which looked at seven shipwrecks at depths between 400 feet and 6,500 feet (1,921 meters).

 

The number and species of marine life was greater closer to the wrecks, according to the study.

 

Fish were less common at greater depths, indicating marine life probably will be attracted to the upper levels a offshore platforms.

 

PIN/REUTERS

News Code 104912

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