Public Lecture by Erika Techera

31 August 2017,


Oceans Institute Auditorium, UWA
General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni

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coral rig

Rigs, Reefs and Re-cycling: how offshore infrastructure can be re-used to benefit our oceans

A public lecture by Professor Erika Techera, Director, Oceans Institute, The University of Western Australia.

The offshore oil and gas industry is facing the prospect of de-commissioning thousands of installations in the coming decades. In some parts of the world the issue is already pressing. The technical difficulty and financial cost of complete removal is significant, and therefore the prospect of leaving part of the installation in situ is attractive. Furthermore, it is clear that in some cases, marine ecosystems have established themselves around this infrastructure, and are providing ecosystem services. Nevertheless, despite the success of rigs-to-reef projects in the US it is unclear whether such initiatives are transferable to Australia given very different physical and jurisdictional contexts. UWA researchers are exploring the way forward through multi-disciplinary projects including engineering and technical advances, marine science, socio-economic, legal and sociological perspectives.

This lecture will explore the issues, the questions being examined and potential solutions for Australia and beyond.

Erika Techera is a Professor of Law in the UWA Law School and Director of the Oceans Institute at The University of Western Australia. Before taking up the role of Director, Erika was Dean of the UWA Law School. Erika’s area of research interest is international and comparative environmental law with a particular emphasis on marine environmental governance and cultural heritage law and policy. Her research explores international law for the conservation and management of sharks and other species, Pacific and Indian Ocean marine environmental law, as well as legal frameworks to support marine protected areas and marine spatial planning in developed and developing countries. Her most recent projects are multi-disciplinary: the intersection of transnational crime and illegal fishing; decommissioning offshore infrastructure and conversion to artificial reefs.

Prior to joining UWA, Erika was Director of the Centre for International Environmental Law and Co-Director for the Centre for Climate Futures at Macquarie University, and practised as a barrister in Sydney for over 7 years. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and in 2016 she was awarded the Australian Lawyers’ Weekly Academic of the Year. 

About this Series: All at Sea - Restoration and Recovery

Our oceans and coasts provide us with food, energy, livelihoods, cultural and recreational opportunities, yet they are coming under increasing pressure. This UWA Institute of Advanced Studies – Oceans Institute Lecture Series explores the wonders of our seas, the challenges they face and how research at UWA - in a diverse range of fields including marine science, ocean engineering, health, humanities and social sciences – are contributing to ensure sustainability.

Other lectures in this series:

The Value of Seagrasses in the Restoration and Recovery of Oceans.
A public lecture by Professor Gary Kendrick, UWA Oceans Institute

Oceans Past and Future: what role can history play in restoration and recovery of marine environments.
A public lecture by Dr Andrea Gaynor, History, Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education.