Offshore Oil Drilling and the Deepwater Horizon Spill of the Gulf of Mexico

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Oil is a very important fossil fuel that is used for various sources of energy. Oil supplies power to industries, fuel for transportation, heat for buildings, and provides raw material for plastics, paints, textiles, and other materials (hybrid cars). To access this fossil fuel, oil drilling is used. Land-based oil drilling became less productive and as the global stipulation for energy increased, technology, law, and geology impacts stepped in and pushed the exploration of oil away from shores (CITE). With its historical background, offshore oil drilling is one of the most important aspects of today’s economy although we are faced with its risks and consequences, such as the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion of the Gulf of Mexico.

Offshore oil drilling is known as a power-driven process where a wellbore is penetrated through the seabed to extract petroleum oil hydrocarbons that “lie in rock formations beneath the seabed” (CITE). This process of offshore drilling began in 1896 off the shore of Summerfield, California and continued to gradually flourish for the next several centuries. The offshore drilling in 1896 included steel pipes that extended into the seabed 455 feet below, and only produced an inadequate amount of oil. However, this new process of offshore drilling resulted in a beach covered in oil and disfigured the beach by rotting the piers and derricks. America quickly turned to oil as a primary resource by the year 1910. At this time, “the invention of the internal combustion engine boosted the consumption of gasoline” (CITE). Soon, oil producers found new and faster techniques to recover oil. For example, “the steel cable was used in place of rope for cable tool drilling and by 1919, the first diamond drill was used” (...

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... be more responsible and make the environmental effects less destructive and not as long-lived.

Works Cited

1. http://www.cs.ucdavis.edu/~rogaway/classes/188/materials/bp.pdf

2.http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/public_lands/energy/dirty_energy_development/oil_and_gas/gulf_oil_spill/index.html

3. http://www.noia.org/website/article.asp?id=123

4. http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/Oc-Po/Oil-Spills-Impact-on-the-Ocean.html#b

5. http://www.dnbgov.com/pdf/DNB_Gulf_Coast_Oil_Spill_Impact_Analysis.pdf

6. http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/05/30/us-oil-rig-impact-factbox-idUSTRE64T23R20100530

7. http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_15272017

8. http://www.eoearth.org/article/A_Brief_History_of_Offshore_Oil_Drilling?topic=64403

9. http://www.gomr.boemre.gov/homepg/regulate/environ/louisiana_coast.html

10. http://www.hybridcars.com/importance-of-oil.html

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