Offshore Drilling Impacts And Solutions Environmental Sciences Essay

Nowadays, there is a growing demand for hydrocarbons in the world market. This study was to determine the impacts of offshore drilling to the aquatic lives and methods to reduce it. Offshore drilling is the process to discover the hydrocarbons by drilling exploratory boreholes or wells on the seabed. The ocean is not that vast to dilute all the chemicals that had been discarding to it. The chemicals that remained in the sea are called pollutant. This research paper will discussed three main impacts of offshore drilling and three suggested solutions to reduce it. The three impacts are offshore drilling operation noises will destructed marine lives, improper disposal of waste products will poisoned marine lives, and oil spill accidents will gradually killed marine lives. As human is at the top of the food chain, which receives the greatest impact, should find solutions to save ourselves. The three suggested solutions are government and organizations should enhance the rules and policies respectively, professionals should consider accepting Khan and Islam’s five sustainable management models and try to work them out, and professionals should use their knowledge to improve monitoring and develop strategies. Therefore, concluded that human should try to protect the marine lives from being sacrifice because of us.

Offshore Drilling: Impacts and Solutions

Petroleum hydrocarbons play a very important role in society (Khan & Islam, 2008). Nowadays, people tend to rely very much on the use of gas, petrol and oil. Hence, the growing demand for petroleum hydrocarbons on the world market has cause the development and production of oil resources to grow rapidly (The Prevention of Pollution from Offshore Installations, 2002). Gbadebo, Taiwo and Eughele (2010) stated that “the only way to confirm the presence of hydrocarbons in an identified promising geological structure is to drill exploratory boreholes or wells” (p.284). It is well known and generally accepted that the waste products of the offshore drilling activities are usually dumped into the sea (Khan & Islam, 2008). The ocean is not as vast as people thought. It could not dilute all the chemicals that had been disposing to it, thus, the waste products of offshore drilling and the oil spill accidents are actually causing pollution to the ocean (Pollution in the Ocean, 2007). The main purpose of this research paper is to identify the consequences of offshore drilling to the marine lives and solutions to reduce it. Practicing offshore drilling will gradually disturb the communication calls of marine lives (Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean, 2012), improper disposal of chemical waste products will toxic the marine species (Gbadebo, Taiwo & Eughele, 2010), and oil spill accident will cause deaths of a wide variety of marine species. Therefore, we have come out with some suggestions to decrease the pollution level. Government and concerned organizations should enhance the rules and reinforce the policies (Amos, 2011); professionals should consider to adopt the theoretical idea of the five sustainable management models of Khan and Islam (Khan & Islam, 2008), and scientists and professionals should use their knowledge to improve monitoring and continue to develop pollution source-reduction strategies (Pollution in the Ocean, 2007).

Very few people actually realize that the operating noise produce from offshore oil drilling can put aquatic animal’s lives at risk (Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean, 2012). There are approximately 119 species of aquatic animals use sound as their primary sense (Pollution in the Ocean, 2007). They use sound to communicate, navigate and forage (Pollution in the ocean). However, the loud noise made by the drilling operations of offshore oil and gas production and other noises generated by human activities will confuse them, hence, causing them to do abnormal things such as stranding. According to The National Academies, in March 2000, fourteen beaked whales and two minke whales became stranded; six of the beaked whales died (Pollution in the Ocean). Autopsies revealed three of the beached whales bleeding in the inner ears and one whale has inner bleeding in its brain (Pollution in the Ocean). Many of the impacts of offshore activities on marine environments are inconstant, as the complicated relations between many types of species in marine ecosystems and difficulties associated with conducting research at depth (Amos, 2011). Thus, there is still lacking of scientific evidence to prove the actual impact of the short and long term effects of noise on marine mammals. Nonetheless, we can still assure that the noises of sea activities had disrupted the sense of the marine mammals, causing them to have difficulties to communicate, navigate, and forage.

In addition, the public are very concern about the improper disposals of chemical waste products. This is because they afraid that the marine species will get poisoned and they afraid of eating them (Gbadebo, Taiwo & Eughele, 2010). The accumulated toxicity in the fish can cause illness, sometimes fatal, to anything or anyone that consumed it; thus, will destroying the food chain and reproductive cycle (Rose, 2009). According to American petroleum institute (API) (1989) as cited in Khan & Islam (2008), both the well cuttings and the drilling fluids compose about 2% of the total exploratory wastes. Besides, there were two recent studies do research on the impact of drill cuttings from offshore installations on corals and marine worms (Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean, 2012). The first result shows that the coral were able to withstand and self-clean in short period of time; however, the coral will smother and started to die over weeks (Offshore exploration and exploitation in the Mediterranean). Whereas, the second result shows that the populations of marine worms are decreasing when exposed to concentrations of barium, which is a similar heavy metal in drill cuttings. Taking Dibi and Ewan offshore wells as background, the result shows that the concentrations of various polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons analyzed in cuttings from both oil wells are very high (Gbadebo, Taiwo & Eughele, 2010). If the drilling wastes are not discharged properly, it will endanger the marine lives and also our health (Gbadebo et al.). The results of heavy metals analyses also tell us that the concentrations in the cuttings and mud are high, which could lead to bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms (Gbadebo et al.). If anyone accidentally eats those aquatic organisms, he or she might get sick easily.

The problems of oil spill accident happened around the world (Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean, 2012). Oil spill accident, such as the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, causes deaths of a wide variety of marine species (Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean, 2012). When there is a quick flow and concentrated oil during a spill makes them especially harmful to localized marine organisms and communities, plants and animals that coated with oil will cause them to die (Rose, 2009). Oil that covered the surface of the animals, such as sea gull, cannot keep its body warm will die in the Artic; whereas, when there is a layer of oil covered the surface of sea, sunlight will be difficult to reach the the seabed. Since it needs a long time to recover the sea, the plants and animals live on seabed will gradually die. Therefore, in June 2010, National Energy Board (NEB), Canada’s federal energy regulator, organized a review of safety and environmental protection requirements for Canadian Arctic offshore drilling for oil and gas (Amos, 2011).

Despite the great economic and social benefits, public also concern about the solutions to reduce the impact of offshore drilling activity (Khan & Islam, 2008). Government and related organizations should strengthen the rules and improve the policies (Amos, 2011). Government should always transmit positive feedback to the public when a new method is in probation (Pollution in the ocean, 2007). This is to convince and to increase people’s confidence level towards that new method. Given the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, NEB should learnt the lesson and strengthen the offshore drilling safety requirements (Amos, 2011). In order to strengthen the rules applied to future Arctic offshore exploration NEB should maintain the capability requirement of same season relief well (SSRW), improves policy, regulatory and liability requirements; polish the comprehensive filing requisites for future applications for offshore drilling requiring thorough ecological baseline studies (Amos).

Khan and Islam had reviewed the new environmental management techniques on solving the existing problems of offshore oil and gas drilling. Professionals should consider adopting the theoretical idea of the five sustainable management models, which were marine protected areas in oil sites (MPAOS), ocean fertilization and CO2 utilization (OFCU), integrated coastal pollution balancing (ICPB), artificial recruitment in fisheries (ARFS), and artificial rigs from oil rigs (AROR) (Khan & Islam, 2008). Professionals should take a look on the idea of them to generate more applicable methods for reducing the level of pollution in ocean. Scientists should choose the applicable theory to undergo experimental studies, understand how these proposals will function in real ecosystem context. MPAOS model is to designate an oil site as a protected area (Khan & Islam, 2008). This could protect and improve fisheries production. Since the fishes are protected, hence, we no need worry about the toxicity of the fishes. Secondly, OFCU model is the idea of balancing carbon dioxide emissions by sinking enough organic carbon in the ocean bottom. Thirdly, ICPB model is to apply the principle of bioremediation or food web enhancement to utilize the runoff oils and pollution through balancing ecosystem components. Fourthly, ARFS model is the idea of compensate the fisheries production of certain species in a targeted area and to restore the stocks. Lastly, AROR is the idea to keep the original sites of the abandoned rigs to establish a reef community or transported to another planned site. The models are following the principle of natural functions in marine environment and take into account ecological, biological, and technological factors (Khan & Islam). The impact of offshore drilling will be lightening by applying these five models.

Professionals should use their knowledge to improve monitoring and continue to develop pollution source-reduction strategies (Pollution in the Ocean, 2007). It is difficult to clean up oil spills. In those days, people use complicated method such as water shut-off, bottom separation and down-hole separation of oil and water (The prevention of pollution from offshore installations, 2002). Nowadays, they usually use biological agents to break down the oil, use materials that absorb oil, and gelling agents that make oil easier to skim from the surface. People also physically clean up the spills by using high- pressure water hoses on shores and cleaning oil off from animals (Pollution in the Ocean). These methods were used because of the improvement of technologies and sciences. Therefore, the professionals should work hard to figure out easier method to solve the oil spill problem. Scientists should work together to find the solutions from reduce the harm towards the living organisms in the sea; whereas, the technicians should invent other types of machine that will do less harm to the environment (Tyack, 2008).

In conclusion, human should safe the marine species because the innocent marine lives are suffering because of our selfishness. We should know that practicing offshore drilling will disrupt the main sense of marine lives to hunt, communicate and navigate (Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean, 2012). In addition, improper disposal of chemical waste products of offshore drilling will toxic the marine lives (Gbadebo, Taiwo & Eughele, 2010). Moreover, oil spill accident will cause deaths of a wide variety of marine species. Considering human is at the top of the food chain, which will receives the greatest impact, we should stand up and do something for rescue ourselves. Thus, government and concerned organizations should strengthen the rules and improve the policies (Amos, 2011). Furthermore, professionals should consider to accept and carry out the theoretical idea of the five sustainable management models (Khan & Islam, 2008). Additionally, scientists and professionals should use their knowledge to improve and develop pollution source-reduction strategies (Pollution in the Ocean, 2007).

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our Guarantees

Money-back Guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism Guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision Policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy Policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation Guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more