At Least They're Trying...

I don't know quite what to make of this, but I'm going to try and flesh it out.

Over the next century, about 4000 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico are going to be decommissioned (side note: yay!). Usually the government does to these rigs what they do to everything that's no longer useful -- they blow them up. This has the unfortunate side effect of killing everything in the sea for miles around Ground Zero, go figure. It also costs really a lot of money, to the tune of millions of dollars per unit, due to the precise nature of controlled detonation (can you really use a word like "precise" when you're talking about thousands of pounds of high explosives? Guess so).

Enter Morris Architects, who have developed the potentially brilliant (and potentially dangerous) idea of turning these metal behemoths into Dubai-esque luxury hotel/resorts. According to BLDGBLOG the total surface area of each rig is somewhere in the realm of 20,000 square feet -- multiply that by four thousand rigs, and you're looking at a massive amount of real estate, ripe for development (according to Morris Archtiects).

Initially when I read about this, I thought "what a great idea!" but that was honestly the result of my knee-jerk reaction to the fact that Morris wants to make these oases eco-friendly and self-supporting (always a plus in my book). But then I got to thinking about it and I read some of the comments left on the original article. One reader mentioned that he works on oil rigs for a living and regardless how many bells and whistles you might add to one, it's still an oil rig and a crappy vacation destination. Another reader stated simply "hurricanes"...good point there too.

Here's another one: if these rigs are slated for decommissioning, it's probably not because there's no more oil to be had in that particular part of the world (much as I keep saying we're running out, we're not quite THAT low yet). If the government is seriously considering exploding these structures, I'd imagine it's likely because they've reached their operational capacity and are no longer structurally sound. Translation: they spent a hundred years in salt-water and are about to fall over into the sea.

Also: the logistics of this project are staggering to say the least. Morris Architects made a big deal out of how easy it would be to transport the necessary materials to the rigs, but leaving aside all the other arguments I've already made, what about getting the PEOPLE out there? And who's going to go? Rich folks, that's who, because nobody else could begin to afford the price of such an extravagant vacation. So who does it help? Realistically -- nobody.

I'm all for making use of existing platforms instead of just demolishing them, but instead of turning them into luxury items for the upper class, what about setting up hydroponic farming or even just "floating forests" to help clean the air?

I'd appreciate your responses to this -- I think it's an idea that needs consideration, but I don't think Morris Architects' idea is the right way to go. Feel free to agree or disagree.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Two things come to mind about this piece, one pro one con.

In the pro column I can't help but think that a pack of rich assholes on a sinking oil rig being circled by sharks is actually a good thing. Not to mention an excellent target for pirates and terrorists.

In the con column I think that a cleaned up oil rig would make an excellent artificial reef. Happy fish=happy planet.