Offshore Oil Drilling and the Deepwater Horizon Spill of the Gulf of Mexico

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Oil is a very important fossil fuel that is used for various sources of energy. Oil supplies power to industries, fuel for transportation, heat for buildings, and provides raw material for plastics, paints, textiles, and other materials (hybrid cars). To access this fossil fuel, oil drilling is used. Land-based oil drilling became less productive and as the global stipulation for energy increased, technology, law, and geology impacts stepped in and pushed the exploration of oil away from shores (CITE). With its historical background, offshore oil drilling is one of the most important aspects of today’s economy although we are faced with its risks and consequences, such as the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion of the Gulf of Mexico. Offshore …show more content…
New technology continued to develop including rotary rigs that replaced pile drivers. Texaco and Shell then established “barge drilling,” which was the process of towing small mobile platforms to new locations at the end of drilling jobs (CITE). This resulted in the adaptation of land-drilling methods in the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico, as the oil companies continued to grow more confident operating offshore. During the 1952 presidential election, an argument called the “Tidelands dispute,” over who should manage offshore drilling became a concern when General Dwight Eisenhower guaranteed to repair the leasing ability coastal states were deprived of in the courts. This dispute was followed by the enactment of the Submerged Lands Act of 1953, which allowed states the right to lease up to three marine miles from the coast. Eisenhower’s rise to the presidency also helped smooth the progress of the passage of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) of 1953, which provided the federal government the authority to issue leases in coastal areas beyond state jurisdiction (CITE). Once the OCSLA was executed, leasing activity on federal submerged lands began in 1954. At this time, oil was being produced at 133,000 barrels of oil a day, which was only two percent of total U.S. production at that time. This
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