Essay on Offshore Drilling

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Offshore Drilling

What is it?

Drilling for oil in the ocean is one of the greatest technological breakthroughs in recent decades, and many new techniques have been developed to profit from the abundance of oil underneath the ocean floor. While drilling for oil has been around for hundreds of years in one form or the another, the effective extraction of petroleum from beneath the sea floor did not surface until the last forty years. The search for oil often turns out to be unproductive, but this practice is vital for the economic future of many nations.

In order for any drilling to take place, an offshore drilling rig must first be installed. These offshore platforms can be situated in water up to a several hundred meters in depth.
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These production platforms come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and types, which are dependent on the dimensions of the field, the depth of the water and how far the oil and/or gas field is from shore.

The platforms are generally made of steel and fixed to the seabed with steel "posts." These platforms harbor all of the processing equipment for the well and can house a maximum of 80 workers. In addition, platforms have concrete structures large enough to store oil, with gravity keeping them situated on the seabed

Explanation of Drilling

Drilling begins once the drill bit is lowered to the ocean floor. This first step is referred to as "spudding."

There are two types of drill bits: (1) "a roller cone or rock bit which usually has three cones armed with steel or tungsten carbide teeth or buttons; or (2) a diamond bit, imbedded with small industrial diamonds. The drill bit is attached to drill pipe and rotated by a turntable on the platform floor. As the hole deepens, extra lengths of drill pipe are attached." (Offshore Drilling)

The diameter of the drill bit varies from a diameter of 36 inches, which is used when the hole in the ocean floor is first started, to a diameter of 8.5 inches. The total length of a drill pipe is 30 feet. The time it takes for the drill to reach the oil and gas trap could be weeks.

In order to move the drill cuttings

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