Offshore Oil&Gas platforms are ending their operational phase in many areas of the world and the impact of removal activities is still unknown. The policies of complete removal are based on the assumption of "leaving the seabed as it was found" and represent the apparently most environmentally sustainable option. However, it is known that, during their productive life, the platforms are able to support abundant and diversified communities, some of which are of regional importance. The removal of such structures is unlikely to represent the best environmental / ecological practice and this awareness has led some nations to leave outdated structures like artificial reefs or find alternative solutions for their sustainable reuse.
PLaCE aims to test, for the first time at national level, cutting-edge technologies and solutions for the eco-sustainable reuse of offshore platforms located in front of the Abruzzo coast at the end of their production phase. In particular, the mineral accretion technology will be applied by low-voltage electrolysis of sea water to protect the platforms from corrosion, allowing their potential extension of their "life" and their reuse for a new sustainable economy. This method is already used for the restoration of degraded coral reefs and has been tested for the protection against rust of large structures in the North Sea.
PLaCE activities will include: application of avant-garde sustainable aquaculture strategies based on integrated mollusc and shellfish breeding, design and development of innovative systems for the production of renewable energy necessary for the platform's activity, development of integrated systems to evaluate the ecological sustainability of the activities of multifunctional platforms and their maintenance, cost-benefit analysis and business scenarios, also considering recreational sectors. This project will be led by a consortium consisting of a large industrial partner in the Oil&Gas sector, a SME and 6 research institutes/universities. PLaCE represents an important opportunity to change the approach to the sea and the exploitation of its "business as usual" resources and will contribute to the blue growth of the sectors involved, promoting diversification and synergies, improving attractiveness, competitiveness and innovation at regional and national level.