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As of 2019, the world population consumes roughly 100 million barrels of oil per day. That is the amount of oil that needs to be pumped and processed from the ground.
Before we dive into how these oils are pumped out of the ground, let’s take a look at how the oil gets underwater in the first place.
How oil gets underwater
The answer is fairly simple.
It all began roughly about 10 to 600 million years ago, all this oil started as plankton(a diverse group of organisms that live in the water column and cannot swim against a current) and over time, the plankton was compacted through the build-up of sand and mud.
Meaning oil is formed, through the compression of carbon-based life-forms over time. With the oil formed underwater, you might wonder how do oil companies locate this is oils, For oil companies to find where all of this oil is located under the seafloor, they have to employ the use of “sniffer equipment.” This equipment makes it easy to take in samples of seawater and determines if there are trace amounts of oil or natural gas. When traces of oil has been found, researchers carry out a magnetic survey on the seafloor to determine where exactly there might be anomalies underground.
For oil rigging to be successfully carried out, there are several pieces of equipment that need to be available, here are some essential equipment needed for a successful oil rig:
This family includes all materials employed in drilling activities for both onshore and offshore sites.
Well Safety Equipment: This encompasses all material employed to contrast the occurrence of disrupting events during drilling. This category does not include Blow Out Preventers nor items listed under Control and Safety / Relief valves.
Auxiliary Drilling Equipment: These include electro magnetic brakes for drilling equipment, brakes (hydromatic, drum, and disc), air clutches, cathead, and pulsation dampeners.
Blow-Out Preventer refers only to the systems used onshore, while offshore BOPs are classified under “Subsea equipment”
Derrick/Mast refers only to the supporting structure for drilling and does not include its installed equipment such as hoists, winches, etc.
Instrumentation encompasses several instruments and tools used during drilling activities (e.g. manometers for hydrocarbon pressures). Such items have to be kept separate from other
specialized instruments for exploration and reservoir management.
Drilling Hoist and Winches refers to winches, mobile hoists, hooks, swivels, sheaves, travelling blocks, Crown blocks, Deadline Anchors and the hoist supports usually installed in the derrick.
Drilling Handling Tools include tools such as Elevators, Slips, Bushings, Tongs, Stabbing Guides, Clamps, Back savers and safety Stands.
Joint and Fittings for Drilling include tools such as Swivel Joints and Hammer Valves, Fittings that do not connect tools inside the hole are put in a separate category.
Working on an oil rig comes with a lot of risk of injury or harm. When you have giant mechanisms work together to keep the massive rig afloat and drilling beneath the ocean floor, there are certainly many things that could go wrong and cause a disaster.
Oil rig explosion is among the most serious threats, but there are a number of safety measures you can put in place to minimize the risk of an explosion and the resulting damage if one should occur.
There are many items that can be installed on oil rigs to prevent an explosion due to pressure and some other factors.
For example, blowout preventers are installed to handle fluctuations in pressure aboard a rig.
Below are other safety measures that can be employed
- Ensure an adequate number of crew members are on board
- Provide working fire extinguishers
- Provide adequate safety gear, such as life jackets and rafts
- Provide a well-detailed emergency plan and training crew members in its implementation
- Frequent, thorough inspections to ensure that all equipment is functioning properly
- Frequent training of members on the latest technology and safety practices
Oil and gas drilling has always caused a serious impact on our environment. Drilling projects run around the clock generating pollution, climate change, disrupting wildlife and damaging public lands that were set aside to benefit all living things.
The Environmental Impacts of Offshore Drilling
These environmental impacts of oil rigging may vary in intensity depending on many factors, here’s a summary of some of the potential impacts that are likely to occur.
There are two main sources of water pollution from offshore drilling: drilling fluid and oil spills and leaks.
Firstly, the drilling fluid is toxic to marine life. This fluid is used to lubricate, cool and regulate pressure when drilling, and contains petroleum products and heavy metals.
Impacts of this fluid include affecting the health and reproduction of marine life, reducing the populations of bottom-dwelling creatures and biomagnifying toxic substances in the food chain.
The effects of large offshore oil spills are catastrophic; You can consider the effect of the oil spill itself and the effects of clean-up efforts.
When a large amount of oil spills into a body of water, the oil spreads mainly onto the surface of the water and can either remain cohesive or break up due to wave action.
Over time, the oil may degrade naturally by weathering, the effects of sunlight, or be broken down by microorganisms. If the oil spill reaches the shore, then terrestrial environments will also be contaminated.
Oil spills are extremely detrimental to fisheries and wildlife in both coastal and marine environments, due to the toxicity of the oil and its lasting impacts on the food chain.
Air pollution is generated through the operation of machinery on offshore oil rigs as well as the burn-off of gases.
Without considering the air pollution from the end product or the refinement process, the oil platforms themselves have an impact on local air quality and climate change.
Any way to improve the Environment despite oil rig drilling?
There are ways to guard against some of the negative environmental impacts of offshore oil drilling:
- Thorough environmental assessment process before beginning the oil exploration.
- Employ an alternative solution to standard seismic surveys that are safer for marine life.
- Use drilling fluids with low aquatic toxicity and high biodegradability.
- Develop a comprehensive waste management plan to ensure waste is disposed of in a responsible manner.
- Ensure that environmental health and safety standards are sufficient and enforced to help prevent oil spills.