The oil Industry Is The Largest Industry in the world. In 2017 There Were 92.6 Million Barrels Of Oil Produced Daily.
It is important to know when people talk about oil they are really talking about petroleum. Many of the problems that come with the usage of oil have to do with its acquisition and distribution. There is a lot to cover with this topic, so we’ll tackle one at a time. This week:
Drilling At Sea
Allow us to capture your imagination. Imagine taking a shovel and digging 30,000 feet below sea level. That is about 6 miles under the Earth’s crust. It sounds absurd. Impossible even! Not so… oil companies use a technique called “offshore drilling” and does this every day.
How do they do it?
They set up oil rigs. You probably imagine a small remote drill operating automatically at sea. That’s not really how most of them function. These rigs can be more than 2 football fields in size. They also have rotating crews on them that can be hundreds of people in size.
Oil rig’s utilize a sophisticated system of hydraulics and drill bits to dig the holes. There is a lot to how this is done, but you can think of it as spraying the sea floor to remove the mud and then drilling there. As you might imagine, this takes a lot of force and is a very destructive process.
What’s the environmental impact?
How would you feel if someone just came into your backyard and dug a giant hole without your permission? Probably not great. Now lets add on installing a skyscraper that hovers above your backyard. Oh, and the real gem, the skyscraper shoots water down on your backyard with massive force, removing the grass, and then drilled straight onto the exposed bedrock?
You probably don’t like that person. Surprisingly, animals don’t either. They are NOT a fan of these giant drill rigs and it heavily impacts their terrain. The prey will flee and the predators won’t know where to hunt. Not to mention the ones who just perish as a result of losing their habitat.
The more oil rigs, the more environmental destruction. The deeper the digging, the more risk of spills. We all know the gulf disaster back in 2010. That rig (Deepwater Horizon) spilled 5,000 barrels per day into the gulf for weeks on end.
Needless to say, that is not good for the sea-life. But there’s more to think about when it comes to killing millions of sea creatures than just the impact it has on them…
What’s the economic impact?
The impact varies heavily upon where you live. For instance East Coaster’s are going to feel the impacts of offshore drilling far greater than Mid-Westerners will.
Along the Atlantic coast they care about sea life and oppose offshore drilling. The reason being it is heavily impacts three primary industries: fishing, tourism and recreation. Fishing is fairly self explanatory, no fish means no fish to catch.
You also have to think about tourists and locals and how that will impact their behavior. It’s harder to sell people on the idea of coming to the beach when the water is brown and there’s no wildlife to look at. There are hundreds of communities feeling these kinds of impacts every day.
Click here to learn more about offshore drilling in the united states. Check out this article for more information on offshore drilling techniques.
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