Alternate Uses of Existing Oil and Gas Platforms

Oil facility on the OCS

The passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave BOEM jurisdiction over projects that make alternate use of existing oil and natural gas platforms in Federal waters, in addition to jurisdiction over renewable energy projects.

Section 388 clarifies the Secretary of the Interior’s authority to allow an offshore oil and gas structure, previously permitted under the OCS Lands Act, to remain in place after oil and gas activities have ceased so that the structure can be used for other energy and marine-related activities. This authority provides opportunities to extend the life of facilities for non-oil and gas purposes, such as research, renewable energy production, and aquaculture, before being removed.

Alternate uses of existing facilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Research
  • Education
  • Recreation
  • Support for offshore operations and facilities  
  • Telecommunication facilities
  • Offshore aquaculture

BOEM is not seeking the authority over activities such as aquaculture, but only the decision to allow platforms to be converted to such uses, if the appropriate agency approves the underlying activity.