Effects of offshore drilling on the environment
Offshore drilling for oil has a long history especially considering the rich deposits found on Continental Shelves. However, its environmental record has been more chequered.
a) Petroleum ooze that leaks out during drilling kills birds and mammals. It destroys the oceanic flora and has a debilitating effect on the fish population. It stains beaches on the coast and also ends up having an effect on the local tourist economy.
b) The lubricating hydraulic oil used in drills is extremely poisonous. When it leaks in sensitive areas, it can finish off large populations of endangered species.
c) Even the trapped sea-bed water that is generally released as harmless has an oil content that is enough to adversely affect local biology.
d)Large-scale drilling operations have a potential for catastrophic failures as seen in the recent BP-Gulf of Mexico disaster. The possible harm to the marine environment cannot be quantified.
e) In Azerbaijan, the use of inefficient sealants has destroyed all the fisheries in the Baku bay area.
While offshore drilling has become a lot safer with technological advancements, companies still seek to cut costs by compromising on safety standards. Rusty pipes, lack of proper sealants, careless disposal of carbon waste are the major issues that need to be addressed by offshore riggers.
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