The northwest Gulf of Mexico is home to 3,600 oil and gas platforms (see Map of Platforms). They produce one of the most prolific ecosystems, by area, on the planet. The Gulf of Mexico will lose a third of its 3,600 offshore oil and gas platforms in the next 5 years. It is estimated that the removal of 1,200 platforms will destroy 1,800 acres of coral reef habitat and 7 billion invertebrates, many of which are federally protected scleractinian corals, octocorals, hydrozoans and gorgonians. Marine invertebrates and fish, difficult to grow inshore, could be raised on offshore platforms for stock-enhancement and pharmaceutical applications. Retired offshore platforms can be used for alternate uses such as the sequestration of greenhouse gases and the production of renewable ocean energy derived from wind, current, wave, geo-thermal, salinity gradients, and bio-fuels and the production of hydrogen, (i.e. extraction of hydrogen from seawater via electrolysis).
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