The new frontier… as early as the 1800s versions of offshore operation for oil drilling began. Some of the original oil derricks were in as low as 4 meters or approximately 13 feet deep. Now offshore drilling is a different kind of frontier. Floating cities that house massive drills into the earth that lies beneath the sea extracting liquid gold, yes oil. With every new innovation the hope is to make offshore drilling safer, but when you are working with Mother Nature is it really safe?
US Oil Independence
The belief is that the outer continental shelf in the ocean has enough oil to free us of depending on any other country for oil. Most of the outer continental shelf that is left is protected under current Eco-protectionism laws. The truth of the matter is that if we started drilling today we would not see any benefits of drilling at least until 2030. The opposition to the addition of more drilling seems to outweigh the proponents, but that has not meant anything with the current administration’s policies.
Hurricanes are life or death situations for a worker on an offshore derrick. Most shut down operations and cut off emergency supply valves to avoid an oil spill. Katrina and Rita, Gulf hurricanes that both occurred in 2005, destroyed 115 oil platforms and damaged an additional 52 others. This time period was the largest shut down of oil and gas production in the Gulf due to a natural disaster. What we learned from this was building the platforms higher to avoid some of the pounding waves and water pressure that happens in a huge storm or hurricane.
Fires and Explosions
When working with oil and gas it does not matter if you are on land or sea, the event still can happen and we had an environmental disaster when it did in 2010. The Deepwater Horizon drilling platform rig exploded and killed 11 workers and kept Americans watching for 85 days as BP worked to plug the leak that spilled at least 4 million barrels of oil in the Gulf. It was a sad period for all those affected and all Americans as we watched the disaster unfold. It took a toll environmentally and still is from Texas to the Panhandle of Florida wildlife and sea-life alike still struggle to survive. The fishing industry is beginning to bounce back, but the stigma of seafood from the region remains. Some of the estuaries, salt marshes, and wetlands of the Gulf region still have oil on their banks and the environmental impact is an ongoing study.
Do we really need it?
- The real question is do we really need additional offshore operations in any of the waters surrounding our states?
- Will it make a difference to better us as a country, or will it hurt us as a country?
- Do we really want to look out on every ocean and see and only offshore drilling operations?