It's Time For An Oil Change

What is offshore drilling?
Offshore drilling is the discovery of oil and gas which lie underwater off the coasts of continents or lakes and inland seas.


This is an offshore drilling rig,
This is an offshore drilling rig,



How does it work?
Geologists locate oil beneath the ocean floor by using magnetic and seismic surveys. These surveys use shock waves to determine where the oil is located. Once the oil is located, they need to receive special permission from the government to start drilling and an environmental impact assessment may be preformed. Once they get permission from the government, drillers place a small flexible tube into the earth’s crust to see if the oil can be obtained easily. If it can, the flexible tube is removed and replaced by a more permanent tube.

Risks
There are many risks to the environment due to offshore drilling :
  • Explosions and fire
  • Sonar disrupts communication of some sea life communication
  • The ocean floor
  • Water temperature
  • Oil spills and seepage
  • Faulty pipe lines
  • Drilling rig exhaust
  • Hazard material waste
external image oil_spill_on_fire.jpgexternal image oilspill2.jpg


Water Pollution
There are two main sources of water pollution due to offshore drilling:
1. Drilling Fluid:
Drilling fluid is used to lubricate, cool, and regulate pressure while drilling. This fluid is made of petroleum products and heavy metals and is toxic to marine life. Reports have stated that the drilling fluid has affected the health and reproduction of marine life. The toxins have built up in the food chain causing the populations of creatures at the bottom of the sea to decline.
2. Oil Spills and leaks:
Oil Spills and leaks have the biggest impact on marine life and seabirds. The most dangerous oil spills are when a lot of oil is spilled at once. Once oil spills it is carried through the currents and as it mixes with water it becomes sticky. Sea animals become helpless and unable to swim in these sticky conditions. When the animals inhale, they breathe in oil and their bodies become full of toxic chemicals. This creates a decline in the marine life population.
external image exxonvaldez2.jpgexternal image oil-spillc-1.jpg








Alberta TarsandsNature Canada : Endangered SpeciesThe Effects of Oil on WildlifeOil Spill in The Gulf of Mexico




References
http://hubpages.com/hub/The-environmental-impacts-of-oil-drilling
http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0215471/oil_spills.htm
http://unfcccecosingapore.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/geography-of-the-worlds-largest-oil-spills/
http://thetruthbehindthescenes.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/oil-spills-and-disasters/http://www.oilism.com/oil/2007/12/28/the-biggest-oil-spills-in-history/

By: sara parsons&Stacy Collins