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King Reef – Integrated Rig to Reef

Client: BHP / NERA / Recfishwest

Subcon and project partners WA Fisheries, Recfishwest, BHP, NERA established the first Integrated Artificial Reef in the Asia Pacific Region. The reef realises the innovative idea concieved by Subcon of integrating retired offshore structures into a purpose built reef. The project established a new benchmark for marine habitat enhancement in the Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia.

Driven by Subcon’s innovative technology and experience in subsea hydrodynamics and marine asset stabilisation, this ‘rigs to reef’ project is unlike any other. The Exmouth Integrated Artificial Reef, named ‘ The King Reef’ by the Exmouth community, was installed in the waters of the Exmouth Gulf in July 2018 and is the onw of the largest purpose-built reefs in the Southern Hemisphere.

Subcon scope

What makes the King Reef so unique is the engineered reef is partially made up of repurposed offshore structures from the oil and gas industry. Subcon lead the project with partners RecFishwest, WA Fisheries, NERA, BHP and Curtin University, to design the reef layout.

The reef’s construction combined 49 purpose-built concrete modules with six steel structures from a BHP operated field that has ceased production, forming the foundation of 27,000 cubic metres of new marine habitat. Western Australian Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said, ““Artificial reefs are proven to provide great opportunities to local communities, and the Exmouth reef is designed to give families in small boats access to safe fishing in sheltered waters”.

For the Exmouth community, the new reef creates an abundance of recreational fishing, tourism and employment opportunities. The full project announcement by Minister Kelly can be found here

For the Exmouth Gulf Environment, King Reef has delivered significant benfits. Positioned on a previously sandy barren seafloor, research has shown it to be the fastest developing reef withover 50 different species of fish calling it home. Through the ‘ReefVision’ Citizen Science Initiative and independent research conducted by Curtin University around the King Reef, this project has demonstrated a safer, more productive and sustainable option for decommissioning offshore oil and gas assets in the future.

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