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Oil Drilling Research Paper

Operational discharges of produced water and drill cuttings from offshore oil and gas platforms are a continuous source of contaminants to continental shelf ecosystems. This paper reviews recent research on the biological effects of such discharges with focus on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The greatest concern is linked to effects of produced water. Alkylphenols (AP) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from produced water accumulate in cod and blue mussel caged near outlets, but are rapidly metabolized in cod. APs, naphtenic acids, and PAHs may disturb reproductive functions, and affect several chemical, biochemical and genetic biomarkers. Toxic concentrations seem restricted to <2 km distance. At the peak of discharge of oil-contaminated cuttings fauna disturbance was found at more than 5 km from some platforms, but is now seldom detected beyond 500 m. Water-based cuttings may seriously affect biomarkers in filter feeding bivalves, and cause elevated sediment oxygen consumption and mortality in benthic fauna. Effects levels occur within 0.5–1 km distance. The stress is mainly physical. The risk of widespread, long term impact from the operational discharges on populations and the ecosystem is presently considered low, but this cannot be verified from the published literature.

Conflicts over oil resources are evident all over the world, like the current Sudan and South Sudan case. Oil is a very precious commodity in the United States and the world as a whole. What is oil? Oil in its raw form, before processing, is known as crude oil or petroleum. According to Annette, “petroleum is a fossil fuel that forms from the remains of prehistoric vegetations and animals as a result of long years of heat and pressure (28). Oil is exploited through drilling both on the land and under the sea. The paper will explore offshore oil drilling in the United States, its benefits and the detriments. What is offshore oil drilling? According to Dictionary.com, it is, “the exploitation of oil wells on the continental shelf, sometimes in water hundreds of feet deep.” It is the exploration of oil in the beds of large water bodies. Offshore oil drilling can also be defined as the extraction of oil from the continental coasts, lakes and inland seas (Earth Conservation 2012). Off shore oil exploration can be traced back to 1887 when H.L. Williams built a wharf on which he erected a drilling rig, and his first off shore well extended 90 meters into the ocean (National Ocean Industries Association). Oil resource has become a very important commodity in the America, and many have ventured into offshore drilling due to its economic viability. Offshore oil drilling in America is limited to only a few regions. Mason documents that, “the production is restricted to off the coasts of six American states namely: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alaska and California” (2).Offshore oil drilling industry has also been influenced by the current immense technological advancements. Proponents of offshore drilling claim that, this practice is a necessary evil, since despite its disadvantages, like environmental degradation, it is important in spurring the large and vibrant American economy through job creations, increased revenues to the government, technological advancements, and increased purchasing power of her citizens among others. However, the threats and disadvantages posed by offshore oil drilling in the United States should not be ignored. Before the implementation of offshore oil drilling projects, it is important to conduct merits and demerits analysis to establish the most appropriate course of action. Offshore drilling causes very serious environmental degradation that is very detrimental to the life of the flora and fauna in the water bodies and the surrounding environment. The problem of environmental degradation is not only limited to the aquatic life but also the land organisms, which depend on the sea waters either directly or indirectly. Secondly, the cost of off shore oil exploration is often very colossal, therefore if not handled tactfully may outweigh the benefits, hence a burden to the economy of the United States. Finally, it is justified to be skeptical about off shore oil drilling because at times faulty equipments have been used, which in the long run may lead to environmental degradation. There are other disadvantages of offshore drilling in America but the paper will only discuss the three that have been highlighted. It is inappropriate to argue against offshore oil drilling in the United States while neglecting its benefits. According to Bayley, “the benefits of producing offshore oil greatly outweigh the costs.” The benefits of the same are good for the American economy, and this can be witnessed through reduced oil prices for consumers, deterrence of oil price fluctuations and the economic returns that are enjoyed by oil the drilling entities. These benefits are good for economic sustenance and development in ...Show more

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