Oil Drilling: What is it?
Offshore drilling is the process of obtaining oil that is hidden in the depths of oceanic environments. Three quarters of Earth’s surfaces are all underwater, therefore leaving the land beneath the seas as a prime location for fossil fuel reserves. There are several obstacles to overcome when considering drilling down through aquatic terrains. One must be mindful of avoiding water pollution, the process of liquid transport, and overcoming a lack of light beneath the ocean. Petroleum companies have been exploring these issues for years and made large financial investments toward finding the appropriate solutions. In 1897, the birth of offshore drilling and several dedicated platforms for this activity commenced. This started a long history in a new area for petroleum companies.
Oil Men First Stepping Out on the Water
The inception of offshore drilling began with individuals seeking oil by simply stepping further into water via piers and artificial lands. It wasn’t until 1928 that the first mobile oil platform was invented for drilling over water. It looked like a barge with a contraption capable of drilling. This set the precedent for the many years to come. With years of development, that starter design emerged into several sophisticated oil rigs with advanced capabilities. Now, these structures are extremely large and hold hundreds of employees at once. From a distance, one could say the rigs look like far-reaching towns.
Locating the Fossil Fuels
Oil originated from plankton. This is a collection of small plants and animals which died millions of years ago. Their home was the sea and as they fell to the bottom of the ocean, they became hidden beneath mud and sand. Underwater, this matter was left without oxygen and became solid petroleum, gas, and liquid. To locate substances like these, geologists analyze the lands in several ways. There is a tool known as the gravity meter, which can identify small changes in gravitational pull. Other methods include reading satellite maps and reviewing rock samples. Underwater, traces of natural gas can be found with special sniffer equipment. As long as the trap is seeping, this method is useful. For other cases, magnetic and seismic surveying may be necessary. Magnetic survey techniques include having a ship read peculiarities in the water’s magnetic field. Seismic survey involves sending shock waves and seeing how they bounce back after hitting rock.
Avoiding Water Pollution
A mechanism known as a subsea drilling template allows engineers to make a connection between the drill site and a platform. Several 30-foot pipes are placed together into a drill string. The string then rotates while a drill bit cuts through the Earth. Through a series of precautions, engineers aim to control the flow of pressurized oil to the surface. Sometimes, what rises to the surface is a mixed substance of sediments, natural gas, and crude oil. Converter tanks often treat and store the findings in the ocean.
Life on oil rigs can be dangerous at times. During oil production, explosives may be used alongside the heavy equipment and a flammable substance. All involved in this process are heavily trained to endure the circumstances. During offshore drilling, the findings and financial gains are paramount but not more important than the safety of everyone involved.