What is the most environmentally friendly way to decommission the North Sea? This is the question that will be tackled at the next installment of the University of Aberdeen's Café Scientifique series this week (Wednesday, February 22).
Professor David Lusseau will tackle the question and will discuss with members of the public whether as North Sea oil and gas production declines, should industry remove all that has been installed over the last 50 years or leave some of it in place.
Professor Lusseau said: “The one thing we know for sure about ecological systems is that they continuously change – so the notion of “returning” an ecosystem to a “pristine” state is not a useful way of looking at it. In fact, it is counter intuitive. This does not mean that we should adopt a laissez-faire approach, but that we should aim for a decommissioning process that maximises the health and resilience of the current ecosystem.
“We need to develop a comprehensive environmental decision support system that considers what benefits the removal of each component might bring and what impact this might cause.
“If things go ahead as planned, we are about to transform the North Sea into a giant demolition site, a process that will last for the next 20-40 years. Decommissioning on that scale has never been done really. The environmental impact of this new stage of human activity will not be trivial. It will affect both ecosystem functioning and species we care about, particularly those sensitive to noise, while also contributing substantially to carbon emissions.
“I am looking forward to discussing this matter more with members of the local community at the Café Sci event, I’m sure the evening will have plenty of debate and thought provoking insights.”
The event is part of the University of Aberdeen’s popular Cafe Scientifique series which takes place at Waterstones, Union Bridge at 7pm on Wednesday, February 22.
The Café Scientifique series invites leading experts to share the latest in scientific research with the public in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Full details of the series and other events in the University’s wider programme can be found here.
Author: Laura Graham