The Deepwater Horizon Drilling Platforms

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Over one hundred million gallons of crude oil saturated the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling prospect on April 10th, 2010. The explosion killed eleven people, resulting in one the worst local oil spills in U.S. history. For the next eighty seven days, sunken barrels continued to release oil into the Atlantic Ocean. The oil spread from the coast of Louisiana to about one hundred and forty miles into the gulf. The U.S. is trying to reduce the use of foreign oil by drilling within its own borders. As a result, the country is responsible for a large scale cleanup of the Atlantic Ocean. Demand for oil in the United States continues to rise, as petroleum oil is used to produce electricity, heating, and fuel…show more content…
Shock waves can be created using explosives, thumper trucks, or compressed air guns. The returning waves are measured by hydrophones that can record the waves underwater. Results are then analyzed for signs of oil. Promising signs of oil traps are marked on a map. Once oil has been located, drilling wells are constructed around the oil deposit. When the well is complete, extraction begins. Acid is pumped into the wells and out the perforators, which are vein-like channels that branch into the layers of rock. The acid dissolves the limestone, then oil flows through the perforators and into the well. If there is sandstone surrounding the oil instead of limestone, a fluid containing proppants (sand particles) is pumped through the perforators. This fluid creates pressure that fractures the sandstone and allows oil to flow into the well without the perforator closing back up. Sometimes, the oil is too heavy to flow into the well. Hot steam is introduced to the perforators to thin the oil, and create more pressure to push the oil through the perforator. This process is called enhanced oil recovery (Freudenrich, Strickland, n.d.). Offshore oil drilling is very risky, because if an oil well is leaks, thousands of gallons of oil will flood the surrounding water. Oil spills are notorious environmental hazards. Spills are costly to clean up, and they impact hundreds of
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