Offshore drilling: pros and cons

Offshore drilling is a dangerous and difficult task, and it demands great financial, construction and physical efforts to overcome all the challenges presented. Many problems can arise while working on an oil rig out in the open sea, from life-threatening weather to fires and other hazards. Also, offshore drilling carries a great environmental concern. But, what are the advantages of working on an oil platform?

What is offshore drilling?

First a few words about the concept itself. To reach the oil which is under the sea floor, you need to build a facility which will hold all the machinery and workers. These platforms, which can be anchored to the seabed or floating, are called oil platforms or oil rigs. The main region where these platforms act are the continental shelves, the areas relatively close to the shore and of relatively small depth (up to 200m). Some platforms of more sophisticated designs operate in much greater depths, at several thousand meters.Oil platforms provide crude oil, which is then either processed on site (if the facilities exist) or transported to refineries.

Advantages of offshore drilling

Obviously, the discovery of fossil fuels, including crude oil, cause another revolution in industry and allowed humanity many more discoveries and a fast progress pace. Nowadays, offshore drilling techniques allow the countries which were sitting on a lot of oil which was unreachable to them, to start their own extraction business. This way, the global economy benefits from a steady supply of oil and the country itself benefits and the citizens can have a better quality of life. Also, stable and widespread oil production lessens the reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Offshore drilling operations create jobs, and the wages provide a steady cash flow from the communities of the workers. Many towns have experienced a real turnaround once offshore drilling operations were set up in their vicinity.

Disadvantages of offshore drilling

First things that come to mind are the environmental concerns, and there is a good reason for this. We all remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska when a fragile ecosystem was seriously damaged. This incident, along with many other environmental disasters involving oil spillage, is the main reason why great efforts have to be invested, so they do not happen again. Oil spills need to be prevented because of the damage they do to wildlife and the environment in general, endangering humans too.

Another disadvantage of greater oil production thanks to the offshore drilling platform is the higher level of carbon emission. Cheaper oil means more cars with traditional internal combustion engines. This effectively means more CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

Oil has brought us great wealth and an increase in quality of life; this is certain. But if humanity is not aware of the negative effects oil consumption has on the environment and all the risks connected with oil production; many negative consequences might arise.


Offshore drilling: pros and cons