Offshore Oil Rig Sunset

The Process

Offshore drilling is a process where drilling of oil occurs below the seabed. This process is done to explore for and extract petroleum. To define this process further, it is an oil extraction technique that allows companies to access oil under the ocean floor.

The Jones Act

The Jones Act of 1920 is a U.S. federal statute that provides for the promotion and maintenance of the American merchant marine. Also, this law regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports.

Types of Oil Rigs Used

It is important to note; the type of oil rig used in offshore drilling depends on the type of oil, depth at the location and other current conditions. Examples of oil rigs that are used are drilling barges, jack-up rigs, submersible rigs and semi-submersible rigs.

The Planning Stage

Drilling for oil is not an easy task. It takes time, manpower and various types of equipment. This process can be divided into five categories.

  1. The first category is to choose a location and make a proposal. There are several ways to choose a location such as measuring samples of soil for hydrocarbon content and seismic imaging. Once a viable drilling site has been found, a proposal for drilling is drafted.
  2. The next step is to prepare the area to hire the crew for the physical work. In addition, you will also need to employ people to handle the legal and technical aspects of the drilling process. People needed for the technical aspects of the drilling process are ecologists, geologists, attorneys and the construction crew.
  3. The final step in the oil drilling process is to finalize legal work and establish policies. Documents will need to be completed as well as registration, designation, and a deposit. Keep in mind; if something happens and a well needs to be removed, an agreement by your company will need to be in place. This agreement will be a willingness to remove all operating components in agreement with laws in the state or county. This agreement can be in the form of a letter of credit or a performance bond.
  4. The second last step is to prepare the soil, drilling, and testing for oil.
  5. The fifth step is inserting the pipes. Because it takes a lot of time and hard digging to reach the oil; patience, determination, tools, and manpower are needed so that the oil drilling process is successful.

Benefits of Offshore Drilling

Offshore drilling offers a variety of benefits. Offshore drilling will eventually end America’s dependence on foreign oil and petroleum products. It also helps to keep the cost of oil down and that means lower gas prices for Americans. In addition, offshore drilling creates a variety of job opportunities. These jobs range from production to distribution. Sometimes in the unfortunate event of an oil rig explosion though, it can also be reason for the increased employment of maritime lawyers as well.

Most importantly, offshore drilling benefits the environment. Some may not know it, but the offshore drilling rig is huge. It is a complex piece of machinery that provides a safe area for marine life such as birds, fish and a variety of sea creatures.

In addition, offshore drilling builds businesses. Over 459 billion is being spent in the offshore oil and gas market. This not only applies to large businesses but also to local economies and small business. While drilling, offshore drilling companies support local economies and small business owners.

To conclude, offshore drilling provides a host of benefits, economically and for the environment. Find out about The Jones Act of 1920.

Inside an Offshore Oil Rig

Petroleum is among the most valuable resources coveted by many industries. Its extraction is a mechanical process that needs proper equipment and skilled application. Most often, this involves drilling on the different bodies of water — from lakes, inshore waters and even inland seas. This is because petroleum is commonly found in rock formations underneath bodies of water. Of course, this process, called offshore drilling has its own environmental hazards; but this becomes much more salient if the process is done by facilities that have little or no regard to the appropriate measures that have to be observed.

Offshore drilling, given that it works on various bodies of water, usually have partnerships with different mariners and maritime segments. Different companies such as Houston Maritime who provide skilled personnel are often tapped and called on board to help with the entire mechanical process. This is a concerted effort — from surveying to the actual extraction which can be very rigorous and hard on the bo.

Controversy on Offshore Drilling

In the United States alone, 40 million acres have been surveyed to be available for offshore drilling. However, the debate starts because much of this area is located in protected coastlines that are typically off limits to such exploration and ventures. This is one of the most classic debates between the possible clash between business and environmental concerns.

Lowering Gas Prices?

Gas Prices Decreasing

Proponents to continue the exploration reason out that continuing with the drilling would lower gas prices, decrease dependence on foreign, imported oil, and would be an over-all good venture for the domestic economy. This, according to advocates, would mean cheaper rates as there is now an added source that will ramp up the country’s petroleum domestic supply. Many companies engaged in offshore drilling are, of course, it’s number one proponents. Houston Maritime, for example, is among those who approve the venture, considering it can mobilize many local jobs. Such companies also promise to comply with the necessary measures and safety precautions to minimize any adverse effects on the seabed during the process of drilling and extraction.

Detractors, on the other hand, claim that any changes in the domestic supply of petroleum will not be significant enough to impact prices in a major way. Besides, petroleum extraction usually takes a long process, so its eventual effects on the economy will be more in the long-term. This, according to detractors, does not compensate for the heavy damage that the drilling will have on surrounding ecosystems. The process is also vulnerable to oil spillage, which in experience, turns into an environmental disaster that companies responsible can do nothing about.

The decision, after all the arguments have been exhausted, will depend on the politics and personal priorities. It is really a matter of choosing whether business or environment is the more important consideration. In any case, many who choose to advocate a balanced side say that there can be a compromise between the business side and the pro-environment section. At the end of the day, stakeholders need to sit down and talk out whether such a venture is indeed worth it.


Offshore drilling comes with its own pros and cons, like most ventures. It can benefit the economy, but not without its environmental risks. However, it is noteworthy to emphasize that petroleum is a valuable, finite natural resource that needs expert and skilled equipment and personnel to extract. A good balance between the pro and con side is to ensure company compliance with environmental regulations, as well as to limit coastlines available for offshore drilling.