There are oil and gas platforms that are not in operation in the Gulf, aka "idle iron" and the government has regulations in place to remove these platforms.  It is important that these platforms are removed because they have the potential to leak petroleum especially during the hurricane season which can cause significant problems and it can be costly to the owner.  One company has a different thought on removing these platforms.  Black Elk Energy wants to save these structures as underwater habitats preserving ecosystems that have developed over time.  To do so, they have backed an organization called Save the Blue.  The reason for saving these structures and backing this organization might be that "Black Elk estimates it will have to spend more than $200 million over the next three years to plug its wells and remove its platforms that no longer produce oil and gas".  This happens to be more money than the company has made based on public filings. Larger players in the industry, like Chevron, argue that the costs for maintaining an artificial reef would quickly surpass the one-time costs of removing the structure. Government programs are discussing the opportunity to maintain some of the artificial reefs, but in the long run it may end up costing the owners of the idle platform more. The industry indicates that it costs about $4 million to remove a platform and about $250,000 a year to maintain. Black Elk has possibly gone a little overboard as a new player in this industry. It doesn't appear they are really ready to play with the big operators.
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Lindsey D.

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