Deep-Sea Mining/Oil Drilling

Offshore drilling is a mechanical process where a wellbore is drilled below the seabed. It is typically carried out in order to explore for and subsequently extract petroleum which lies in rock formations beneath the seabed. Around 1891, the first submerged oil wells were drilled from platforms built on piles in the fresh waters of the Grand Lake St. Marys (a.k.a. Mercer County Reservoir) in Ohio.

An oil platform, offshore platform, or offshore drilling rig is a large structure. Figure 1 shows a semi-submersible oil platform off the coast of Brazil. Oil platforms can be found in many different shapes and sizes as seen in Figure 2

Figure 1: A semi-submersible oil platform off the coast of Brazil.
Figure 2: Different types of oil platforms.

Looking at Figure 2, 1 and 2 are conventional fixed platforms, 3 is a compliant tower, 4 and 5 are vertically moored tension leg and mini tension leg platforms, as for 6 that is a spar, 7 and 8 are semi-submersibles, 9 is a floating production, storage and offloading facility and 10 last but not least is a sub-sea completion and tie-back host facility.

Oil platforms take 2-3 years to build and cost about £502.9 million on average to build oil platforms.

Environmental Issues

  • Drilling disrupts wildlife habitat.
  • Oil spills can be deadly to animals.
  • Air and water pollution hurt local communities.
  • Dangerous emissions contribute to climate change.
  • Oil and gas development ruins pristine landscapes.
Figure 3: Coral on oil rig legs.

One positive impact for the oil platform is that the disused platform’s legs allow coral to grow on them (Figure 3) this provides habitat for fish which then turns that into an ideal feeding ground. Although oil platform explosions can be devastating killing habitat and animals (including humans). Figure 4

Figure 4: Oil platform explosion.

Post Author: Rudi Cooper

hi my name is Rudi