Amber Sparks
Expedition in the Alps Author: C Delacy
2022

Amber Sparks

Conservationist

Revolutionizing Offshore Decommissioning Practices

meet amber

Amber Sparks is an environmental entrepreneur and explorer. She is co-founder of the woman-owned consulting firm Blue Latitudes LLC. Amber works globally to find sustainable solutions at the intersection of industry and the environment. Her marine science studies at Scripps Institution of Oceanography allow her to repurpose offshore oil platforms into artificial reefs. She is committed to collaborating with worldwide industries to conserve our oceans. Amber also works to elevate women in STEM careers. She is an ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Ccience, a volunteer educator for Nepris, a Padi Ambassadiver, and a Scubapro Deep Elite team member.

Revolutionizing Offshore Decommissioning Practices
Nominated by: Nancy Nenow MN'04 Emily Hazelwood MN'14
Class of 2022 Location USA
Amber and co-founder Emily Hazelwood
Amber and co-founder Emily Hazelwood Author: Laura Barisonzi

In 2017, after two years of planning, I co-led Explorers Club Flag Expedition #83 to the Seaventures Dive Rig, a retired oil platform that had been converted into an eco-hotel in Malaysia. Our purpose was to research, document and explore the ecological, economic and social implications of repurposing an oil and gas structure as an eco-hotel in Southeast Asia. The conversion presents an innovative solution for conserving the reef ecosystems that develop below offshore platforms. Our data indicated that fish abundance on the rig was comparable to the nearby natural reefs and enhanced the marine environment by decreasing tourism pressure on local natural reefs. Not all offshore oil and gas platforms are suitable as artificial reefs, but many are. Structural complexity and placement play an integral role in the success of an artificial reef.

“I believe that the future of ocean conservation lies in our ability to find opportunities to work together to preserve and protect the oceans.”

- Amber Sparks
Amber diving in a decommissioned oil rig
Amber diving in a decommissioned oil rig Author: Kyle McBurnie

As an ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, my focus has been to elevate women in science, technology, engineering and math careers, and to empower them to pursue STEM careers. Women are outnumbered by men in STEM careers 2 to 1. My hope for the future is to see equality in this field led by the next generation of female STEM pioneers. As a female scientist in the male-dominated oil and gas industry, I am actively working to change this.

The impact of my work at Blue Latitudes has been to disrupt the decommissioning status quo in the offshore oil and gas industry by retaining and repurposing platform jackets as viable artificial reef material. From the Gulf of Mexico to the South China Sea, my work has played a critical role in changing the way the industry views decommissioning, not as an afterthought, but rather as an avenue to save costs, preserve marine habitats, and give back to the local community in a way otherwise unimaginable. I believe that the future of ocean conservation lies in our ability to find opportunities to work together to preserve and protect the oceans.

there are 49 other visionary explorers

read about class of 2022