Earth’s water bodies contain lots of natural resources which are beneficial to mankind. From aquatic plants, animals to mineral resources. The importance of oceans and seas cannot be overemphasized.
Oil and gas are among the mineral resources gotten subsea. Oil and gas are about the most important energy resources to mankind, and the demand for these resources continue to rise day by day. This demand has caused a quick exhaustion of shallow water fields from which these mineral resources are extracted. The need for more oil and gas resources led to offshore drilling.
Offshore drilling refers to the process of extracting oil and gas resources from underwater resources. Offshore drilling occurs in oceans, seas, and even lakes. As a result of the continued growth in energy demand; offshore drilling has been extended deeper into the water, and farther from the shores.
Dangers Of Offshore Drilling
Offshore drilling poses dangers to mankind, aquatic life, and the economy
- One of the dangers of offshore drilling is the equipment employed in carrying it out. Offshore drilling involves drilling deeper into new depths to set up pipelines. Sometimes the drilling operation goes as deep as 18,000 feet below the sea floor. The new depths demands new methods and more complex technology. These are untested inventions and most times have a lot of defects.
- Another danger associated with offshore drilling is the harsh offshore environments. Platforms used for carrying out these drilling operations are built miles away from the shoreline. As a result of this, harsh weather conditions such as ice and harsh storms affect the functionality of oil rigs. The distance from the shore also leaves these engineers vulnerable in emergency situations; as rescue missions are usually miles away on land.
- Offshore drilling also poses a threat to aquatic life, and by extension human life. When the oil is drilled, from underwater, other chemicals also come up. These chemicals which include arsenic, lead and mercury are toxic to the ocean. Also, seismic waves which are used to locate oil are harmful to sea mammals and disorient whales. Knowing that oceans control the global climate, the effect of these activities on human lives is unavoidable.
Oil drilling has caused loss of human lives, contamination of too many marine habitats, and various explosions. However, this has not deterred oil and gas companies as they continue to dig deeper into the ocean beds. There is, therefore, a need for subsea oil and gas control measures to reduce oil drilling. New technologies emerging in underwater communication systems should be adopted in subsea pipeline monitoring. Strict conditions also should be put in place for offshore drilling.
Although, these measures may not curb offshore drilling completely, as the demand for oil and gas is insatiable. It will greatly reduce the dangers that this activity poses to mankind and the environment.