Oil Drilling

Have you ever seen an animal covered in sludge, helpless and weak? Offshore oil drilling is one of our world’s biggest concerns. Offshore oil drilling is the discovery of finding oil or gasoline resources underwater. Usually the oil is found off the coasts of each continent and can also be found in lakes and small seas. Drilling for oil provides the energy to make fuels for cars and other machinery. Many different platforms can be used for offshore oil drilling such as drill ships, jack up barges, steel jackets, and semi-submersibles for deeper water areas.

The issue at hand is that oil drilling can lead to oil spills into oceans, seas, and lakes and can harm the environment. Barge collisions, explosions, leaks, spills, and pipeline corrosion are all key factors in the harmful effects of oil drilling. Drilling leads to pollution in the environment and kills many organisms and aquatic animals. Animals play a key role in society, especially the marine animals. Long term effects create damage to the food chain, fisheries, health, the ecosystem balance, and enjoyment of nature.

Oil spills harm the lives of marine life and the federal government allows them to be killed during gas and oil drilling. When explosives are used to remove the oil rigs, pipelines can be demolished the oil will spill everywhere. Aquatic life is endangered around these oil rigs and causes many hatchlings not to be brought into the world. Sea turtles are attracted to bright lights and if the oil rig has created an explosion, they will head toward that direction, endangering their own lives for vicious predators along the way.

Not only is marine life affected, but birds. Many types of birds are endangered as well like ducks, seagulls, and pelicans. If the ocean is polluted with toxic oil and they decide to swim in it, all the oil will get stuck on their feathers not allowing them to fly. Oil drilling is dangerous and can lead to the extinction of many animals. The United States needs oil, but offshore drilling is not the way to get it. There are plenty of other alternatives we can use to create gasoline such an ethanol.

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Ethanol uses agricultural products to make an alternative gas product and it has proven to proven to be cost effective. The U. S. should also use hybrid cars and electric vehicles instead of relying on oil. Forms of transportation should also be aware of the oil efficiency and should begin using smart growth to make less pollution and reduce gridlock. Air pollution will be cut and the amount of oil used will be reduced for a better environment. Offshore oil drilling does provide large amounts of oil, but there should be a limit on how much should be consumed at one given time.

Another key factor of oil drilling is the cost. President Barack Obama has come up with energy proposals to help the environment and cut the costs our nation has put on oil. “In order to save energy and taxpayer dollars, my administration is doubling the number of hybrid vehicles in the federal fleet, even as we seek to reduce the number of cars and trucks used by our government overall,” Obama said. His plans are too drill along the Southern Atlantic coastlines and move away from Alaska, for it is too dangerous and risky for the environment.

Expanding drilling is definitely not the solution our country needs and therefore; something needs to be done. Since the land that is going to be drilled cannot provide a base for offshore drilling as it does for onshore drilling, an artificial platform must be created. This artificial platform can take many forms, depending on the characteristics of the well to be drilled, including how far underwater the drilling target is. One of the most important pieces of equipment for offshore drilling is the subsea drilling template.

Essentially, this piece of equipment connects the underwater well site to the drilling platform on the surface of the water. This device, resembling a cookie cutter, consists of an open steel box with multiple holes in it, dependent on the number of wells to be drilled. This drilling template is placed over the well site, and usually lowered into the exact position required using satellite and GPS technology. A relatively shallow hole is then dug, in which the drilling template is cemented into place.

The drilling template, secured to the sea floor and attached to the drilling platform above with cables, allows for accurate drilling to take place, but allows for the movement of the platform, which will inevitably be affected by shifting wind and water currents. There are two basic types of offshore drilling rigs: those that can be moved from place to place, allowing for drilling in multiple locations, and those rigs that are permanently placed. Moveable rigs are often used for exploratory purposes because they are much cheaper to use than permanent platforms.

Once large deposits of hydrocarbons have been found, a permanent platform is built to allow their extraction. The sections below describe a number of different types of moveable offshore platforms. Drilling barges are used mostly for inland, shallow water drilling. This typically takes place in lakes, swamps, rivers, and canals. Drilling barges are large, floating platforms, which must be towed by tugboat from location to location. Suitable for still, shallow waters, drilling barges are not able to withstand the water movement experienced in large open water situations.

Semisubmersible rigs are the most common type of offshore drilling rigs, combining the advantages of submersible rigs with the ability to drill in deep water. A semisubmersible rig works on the same principle as a submersible rig: through the ‘inflating’ and ‘deflating’ of its lower hull. The main difference with a semisubmersible rig, however, is that when the air is let out of the lower hull, the rig does not submerge to the sea floor. Instead, the rig is partially submerged, but still floats above the drill site.

When drilling, the lower hull, filled with water, provides stability to the rig. Semisubmersible rigs are held in place by huge anchors, each weighing upwards of 10 tons. These anchors, combined with the submerged portion of the rig, ensure that the platform is stable and safe enough to be used in turbulent offshore waters. Semisubmersible rigs can be used to drill in much deeper water than the rigs mentioned above. Drillships are exactly as they sound: ships designed to carry out drilling operations. These boats are specially designed to carry drilling platforms out to deep-sea locations.

A typical drillship will have, in addition to all of the equipment normally found on a large ocean ship, a drilling platform and derrick located on the middle of its deck. In addition, drillships contain a hole (or ‘moonpool’), extending right through the ship down through the hull, which allows for the drill string to extend through the boat down into the water. Drillships are often used to drill in very deep water, which can often be turbulent. Drillships use what is known as ‘dynamic positioning’ systems.

Drillships are equipped with electric motors on the underside of the ship’s hull, capable of propelling the ship in any direction. These motors are integrated into the ship’s computer system, which uses satellite positioning technology, in conjunction with sensors located on the drilling template, to ensure that the ship is directly above the drill site at all times. Offshore oil drilling creates disasters not only in the ocean or seas, but generates explosions of the oil rig itself. Bits and pieces of the rig can rust at the bottom of the ocean and endanger precious reefs and homes of animals.

I believe offshore oil drilling is a mistake and should be limited around the world. There are plenty of renewable energy sources to survive off of. Fuels can be costly but the environment would be a safer place to live in. Having a limited supply of oil can save millions of aquatic lives and provide worries from environmentalists will be satisfied. Drilling should be banned all together to save human lives as well. Many have been lost because of accidental explosives. Hopefully oil drilling will end soon and promote the general welfare of living in a clean, oil-free environment.

Works Cited

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2525743/posts

http://english.aljazeera.net/business/2010/03/201033118235692566.html

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