From Controversy to Consensus: Decommissioning California's offshore oil platforms

Max Henrion
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - 14:00
PHE 333

Like many issues of energy and environment, there was much controversy about how to decommission California's 27 offshore oil platforms. Complete removal was required by the original leases, but would cost over a billion dollars, and destroy the rich marine ecosystems that have grown up around these platforms. A decision analysis provided stakeholders with insights that helped form consensus for a “rigs to reefs” option -- removing the platform tops and retaining the supports as an artificial reef. An enabling law was passed by the California Statehouse with near unanimity.  This talk illustrates the practical value of: 

  • Using decision trees and influence diagrams to simplify the model
  • Examining different points of view with a multi-attribute decision model
  • Enabling stakeholders to explore the effects of changing assumptions and preferences with interactive decision software
  • Analyzing sensitivities to uncertainties and preferences
  • Creatively designing better decision options
  • Summarizing key insights on a single page

This project won the 2014 Decision Analysis Practice Award from the Society of Decision Professionals and INFORMS Decision Analysis Society.

Bio: Max Henrion is the Chief Executive Officer of Lumina Decision Systems, in Los Gatos, California. He has 30 years’ experience as a professor, practicing decision analyst, software designer, and entrepreneur. He is the originator of the Analytica software. He has been Professor at Carnegie Mellon, Vice President at Ask Jeeves (now, and Consulting Professor at Stanford University. He is a Member of the Board of the Society for Decision Professionals. He is co-author of three books, including Uncertainty: A Guide to dealing with Uncertainty in Policy and Risk Analysis (Cambridge UP, 1990), and over 60 articles in decision and risk analysis, artificial intelligence, and energy and environmental policy. He has an MA from Cambridge University, M. Design from the Royal College of Art, London, and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.