Apart from spills, which despite the publicity are extremely rare, offshore oil platforms are like artificial reefs – marine life flocks to them and thrives there.
In order to locate the best place to drill, oil companies use seismic wave tests to asses the underground topography. These waves put out sound at a 260 decibel level. This has been known to affect whales and dolphins, causing disorientation, mass beachings and brain hemorrhaging.
The oil harvested also dredges up what’s known as “production water” which is not of use and is thrown overboard. This water contains toxins that can kill marine life if there’s enough of it, and even in lower concentrations can birth defects, and retardation of growth.
Giant oil spills are rare though extremely detrimental. But small oil spills are often not reported, and often not required to be cleaned, and eventually will add up to the damage of a large oil spill. Up to 10 tonnes of oil is spilled in European waters daily.
Creating reef habitat can and is being done with artificial platforms of many kinds, not just oil rigs. Often they are built to attract fish for commercial or recreational fishing, or to attract tourists. They are not usually replacing essential habitat necessary to the survival of the fish.
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